Aristotle on the Unity of Touch

Journal of the History of Philosophy 59 (1):23-43 (2021)
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Abstract

Aristotle is history’s most famous and influential proponent of the view that there are exactly five senses. But was he entitled to hold this view, given his other commitments? In particular, was he entitled to treat touch as a single sense, given the diversity of its correlated objects? In this paper I argue that Aristotle wished to individuate touch on the basis of its correlated objects, just as he had the other four senses. I also argue, contrary to what is often supposed, that he was well-placed to do so, given his other commitments and views.

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Mark Johnstone
McMaster University

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