02 May 2005

Addendum to "DA 3.2 in Context"

Since writing the previous post, I found that (as I had suspected) there is indeed a passage in Caston's paper that deals with the prima facie difficulty I raised:

...it no more follows that we see by sight than it follows that we see that we see. Aristotle always asserts that we perceive that we see, never that we see that we see. In so far as this sort of awareness is common to all perception, Aristotle is right to ascribe it to the perceptual capacity as a whole in On Sleep and Waking (2, 444a15-22)--it is not something vision possesses in so far as it is specifically the activity of sight. The perceptual system sees in virtue of its visual part. But it perceives that it sees in virtue of the nature of perception more generally (cf. On Perception and Perceptibles 7, 449a10-11, a18-22). (779)
--An elegant statement of something like the harmonization that, I had suggested (following Johansen and others), was available to the capacity view.

Nonetheless the point remains:
  • Consistency with De Somno 2 is a prima facie difficulty for both the activity and capacity readings.
  • Both readings would be advised to handle the difficulty in roughly the same way (with the capacity reading having perhaps a slight advantage here).
  • Hence considerations about the context of DA 3.2, which (it seems) favor the capacity reading, remain in place and retain their force.