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Form Without Matter: Empedocles and Aristotle on Color Perception

Kalderon, ME; (2015) Form Without Matter: Empedocles and Aristotle on Color Perception. [Book]. Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK.

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Abstract

This book presents an study in the philosophy of perception written in the medium of historiography. It considers the phenomenology and metaphysics of sensory presentation through the examination of an ancient aporia. Specifically, it argues that a puzzle about perception at a distance is behind Empedocles' theory of vision. Empedocles conceives of perception as a mode of material assimilation, but this raises a puzzle about color vision, since color vision seems to present colors that inhere in distant objects. But if the colors inhere in distant objects how can they be taken in by the organ of sight and so be palpable to sense? Aristotle purports to resolve this puzzle in his definition of perception as the assimilation of sensible form without the matter of the perceived particular. Aristotle explicitly criticizes Empedocles, though he is keen to retain the idea that perception is a mode of assimilation, if not a material mode. Aristotle's notorious definition has long puzzled commentators. The book shows how, read in light of Empedoclean puzzlement about the sensory presentation of remote objects, Aristotle's definition of perception can be better understood. Moreover, when so read, the resulting conception of perception is both attractive and defensible.

Type: Book
Title: Form Without Matter: Empedocles and Aristotle on Color Perception
ISBN-13: 9780198717904
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198717904...
Language: English
Keywords: Aristotle, Empedocles, color, perception
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1462168
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