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Blind-Spots in Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Perceptual Mean

Roberto Grasso
Published Online: 2019-04-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/apeiron-2018-0060


This paper aims to identify several interpretive problems posed by the final part of DA II.11 (423b27–424 a10), where Aristotle intertwines the thesis that a sense is like a ‘mean’ and an explanation for the existence of a ‘blind spot’ related to the sense of touch, adding the further contention that we are capable of discriminating because the mean ‘becomes the other opposite’ in relation to the perceptible property being perceived. To solve those problems, the paper explores a novel interpretation of Aristotle’s claims, arguing that they describe a homeostatic physiological reaction by which the sensory apparatus responds to perceptible stimuli. According to the proposed interpretation, such homeostatic reaction constitutes a necessary condition for perceiving what Aristotle refers to as ‘proper’ perceptible features, which include properties like ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ as well as colors and sounds.

Keywords: Aristotle; perception; blind-spot; mean; homeostasis


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About the article

Published Online: 2019-04-02

This work was supported by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, (https://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001807, Grant Number: 2016/02485-0).

Citation Information: Apeiron, ISSN (Online) 2156-7093, ISSN (Print) 0003-6390, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/apeiron-2018-0060.

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