How Language Makes Us Know: Some Views about the Nature of by Emmanuel G. Mesthene

By Emmanuel G. Mesthene

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In the actual process of knowing), that nature is identical with the nature (determination, actualization) of another power, resident in external objects, to be known. Returning now to Aristotle, it is clear that in speaking of the objects of knowing he does not mean the material individuals that have independent existence in the external world. He not only does not mean concrete objects in this sense; he does not mean even the sensible forms that we found him referring to earlier. Neither the son of Diares nor the particular whiteness of the son of Diares is an object of knowledge.

It should be noted, however, that possession of the capacity to sense is sufficient to define man as a sentient creature. The essence of anything is equivalent to the sum of its potentialities. Formulation of the structure of potentialities constitutes definition. u Cf. R. D. lxii. ARISTOTLE 25 Aristotle goes on to say that the role of agent in sensing falls to the individual objects of sensation: "the agents of sensation are external (to the sensing organism), as (for example) the seen, the heard, and the other objects of sense" (417brg).

It is not the objects, but their colors, that light actualizes. Indefatigably, Aristotle goes on to consider in equal detail the processes of hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching. The inaccuracy, by present-day standards, of many of his factual conclusions does not detract from the succes with which he has supplemented his initial account of sensation in general. Where he has erred concerning a matter of fact, the reason is usually that he has had too much faith in empirical methods of inquiry.

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