Aristotle on the Common Sense

Aristotle on the Common Sense

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Apart from using our eyes to see and our ears to hear, we regularly and effortlessly perform a number of complex perceptual operations that cannot be explained in terms of the five senses taken individually. Such operations include, for example, perceiving that the same object is white and sweet, noticing the difference between white and sweet, or knowing that one's senses are active. Observing that lower animals must be able to perform such operations, and being
unprepared to ascribe any share in rationality to them, Aristotle explained such operations with reference to a higher-order perceptual capacity which unites and monitors the five senses. This capacity is known as the 'common sense' or sensus communis. Unfortunately, Aristotle provides only scattered
and opaque references to this capacity. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the exact nature and functions of this capacity have been a matter of perennial controversy.

Pavel Gregoric offers and extensive and compelling treatment of the Aristotelian conception of the common sense, which has become part and parcel of Western psychological theories from antiquity through to the Middle Ages, and well into the early modern period. Aristotle on the Common Sense begins with an introduction to Aristotle's theory of perception and sets up a conceptual framework for the interpretation of textual evidence. In addition to analysing those passages which make
explicit mention of the common sense, and drawing out the implications for Aristotle's terminology, Gregoric provides a detailed examination of each function of this Aristotelian faculty.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 268 pages
  • 141 x 215 x 14mm | 310g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0199640092
  • 9780199640096
  • 1,983,483

Table of contents

Preface ; Abbreviations ; Introduction ; PART I: THE FRAMEWORK ; 1. Aristotle's project and method ; 2. The perceptual capacity of the soul ; 3. The sensory apparatus ; 4. The common sense and the related capacities ; PART II: THE TERMINOLOGY ; 1. Overlooked occurrences of the phrase 'common sense' ; 2. De Anima III.1 425a27 ; 3. De Partibus Animalium IV.10 686a31 ; 4. De Memoria et Reminiscentia 1 450a10 ; 5. De Anima III.7 431b5 ; 6. Conclusions on the terminology ; PART III: FUNCTIONS OF THE COMMON SENSE ; 1. Simultaneous perception and cross-modal binding ; 2. Perceptual discrimination ; 3. Waking, sleep, and control of the senses ; 4. Perceiving that we see and hear, and monitoring of the senses ; 5. Other roles of the common sense ; Conclusion ; Appendix ; Bibliography ; General Index ; Index of Passages
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Review quote

Review from previous edition a learned, lucidly written, and compellingly argued treatment of its subject, one that surveys and helpfully synthesizes the immense ancient and modern literature on the topic. It also proposes some novel solutions to a number of long-standing textual and interpretative problems ... Students should begin their work on this issue here and experts should attend to it, as an undeniably original and important contribution to the
scholarly conversation on this subject. * Sean D. Kirkland, Ancient Philosophy * There has been little extended work devoted to the common sense, the faculty by which Aristotle thinks we coordinate and process the input of the five senses. The lacuna has now been filled by Pavel Gregoric's commendable monograph. This nuanced and original study represents a significant advance in our understanding of Aristotle's common sense. * Thomas K. Johansen, Mind * Gregoric has produced a valuable contribution to our understanding both of Aristotle's philosophical terminology and of his theory of perception. Some of the texts he discusses in the book, such as De Sensu 7, have long been neglected, even though they provide substantive additions to and clarifications of Aristotle's theory. In discussing those and other texts, Gregoric provides us with well informed, detailed, and lucid interpretations, which, it should be
added, are for the most part clearly correct and helpful. All serious students of ancient psychology should read this book. It will inform, illuminate, and stimulate. * Hendrik Lorenz, Rhizai * Gregoric is no doubt right that this power deserves extended study, and his Part III accounts of its various functions are genuinely illuminating. * Jennifer Whiting, Classical Review *
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About Pavel Gregoric

Paul Gregoric is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb.
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