So where do we stand?
Caston says that DA 3.2 (beginning) is about the structure of consciousness, that Aristotle is maintaining that every act of sensation is at the same time a reflexive act of perception. Caston thinks that a ‘capacity reading’ of the text is not sustainable, and that an ‘activity reading’ is most naturally understood as concerned with this question of what the structure of consciousness is.
Johansen says that DA 3.2 is about the postulation of faculties, that Aristotle is maintaining that we do not need to postulate any faculty besides vision to account for perceiving that we see. Johansen thinks that an ‘activity reading’ of the text is not sustainable, and that a ‘capacity reading’ is most naturally understood as being concerned with this question of a whether extra faculties need to be postulated.
In a Newmanian fashion, we proposed the following ‘antecedent probabilities’:
- That, antecedently, Caston’s view was the more difficult to defend, since it was the stronger claim;
- That, antecedently, we would expect Aristotle to be taking the approach that Johansen claims, since the context of the passage in DA suggests that it would be concerned with faculties.
These antecedent probabilities suggest that we should first see whether in fact the capacity reading can’t be sustained—which is fitting anyway since Johansen defended a capacity reading in his BACAP lecture anyway.
So can it be sustained? How does Johansen interpret the passage? What are Caston’s objections to a capacity reading, and do they have force against Johansen’s interpretation?