De quantitate animae: The measure of the soul; Latin text, with English translation and notes by Augustine of Hippo; 1 edition; First published in. PDF | Augustine is commonly interpreted as endorsing an extramission theory of perception in De quantitate animae. A close examination of the text shows. DE QUANTITATE ANIMAE LIBER UNUS S. Aurelii Augustini OPERA OMNIA – editio latina > PL 32 > De Quantitate Animae liber unus.

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A tension in the account raises a potential difficulty, however. But such a disavowal seems to animwe in tension with, not only the phenomenology of distal touch, but also with the extramission theory as usually understood. Augustine understands corporeal light as the image, in the Pla- tonic sense, of the true spiritual light. That is, in cases of distal touch, you feel tactile qualities where they are.

But they do not see themselves and nothing is where they are, except themselves. Perhaps, like Philoponus, Augustine maintains that instantaneous action at a distance is only possible for incorporeal activity In de anima 9.

De quantitate animae | Open Library

Augustine will maintain that the quanttiate, while lacking extensive magnitude, nevertheless possesses virtual magnitude. And in De quantitate animae at least, Augustine is committed to its rejection.

Not only do vision and light have direction but they are both rectilinear as well. I do not know what to answer and I do not know where I am. However, these formal features are preserved in accounts given by thinkers that explicitly reject the extramission theory.

Catalog Record: De quantitate animae; The measure of the | Hathi Trust Digital Library

Fur- ther testimony to the greatness of soul, conceived, not as greatness of extent but greatness of qantitate or virtue. But if the visual rays touch the objects of perception, then they are perceived where they are, and thus there is no need for a signal to return to the subject. It cannot be grasped and of- fers no resistance to touch and hence lacks strength, robustam.

That is to say, Au- gustine has argued that just because something is incorporeal does not mean that it is less real or less valuable than something corporeal. A third spatial dimension, height, is latter added, De quantitate animae 6. This could not be an argument for the extramission theory, as occlusion is equally well explained on the intromissionist hypothesis. Perception is understood to be at least modelled on, if not a form of, sensation by contact.


So, consider feeling the wooden frame through the padding of a Victorian hobby horse. Perception is not something done to the perceiver, it is the soul, through the use of the body, that perceives. On music De musica. It at best characterizes a form of inte- roceptive awareness. And yet it falls short of the extramission theory. The soul is inex- tended, and, hence, qjantitate since corporeal bodies are necessarily extended in three dimensions.

De quantitate animae; The measure of the soul; Latin text, with English translation and notes by Francis E. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, However, even objects outside of the cone are in contact with visual rays emitted from at least one eye.

Touch may be a contact sense, but distal senses, such as vision, may be modelled on touch if the emitted visual ray extends to the distant object of perception and is in contact with it. So understood, the extramission theory is sim- ply a false causal model of distal perception and may be dismissed as a piece of antiquated physiology.

As soo as you wanted to see it, you reached it by seeing it. But if the sensitive soul confers the passive power to be affected where one is not, then there is no need for the sensitive soul to extend throughout the body. Allow me to make two observations about this. Corporeal likenesses are only as large as the body in which the image occurs, incorporeal likenesses are not so con- strained De quantitate animae 5. According to Augustine, vision involves outer-directed, rectilinear activity that constitutes the perception of the object.

Taken together they are equivalent to the claim that vision centrally involves rectilinear, outer-directed activity. But if the soul is not extended throughout the body, then how can it feel whatever touches the body?


The superiority of the incorporeal soul is manifest in its ability to act upon the sensible and corporeal without the sensible and the cor- poreal being able, in turn, to act upon the soul De musica 6.

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This oc- casions puzzlement in Evodius. Here Evodius is echoing the position of the Giants.

Similarly, the soul possesses the power to conceive of incorporeal geometrical abstractions, and since only like may conceive of like, the soul itself must itself be incorporeal. If souls are quantitahe, if they lack extensive magnitude, then they are incorporeal. The primary evidence consists in two passages from De quantitate animae The verb patior means to suffer or undergo, to be affected.

But, if that were anumae, sight would not be rated higher than the other senses.

Shall I say that the eyes [are affected] where they are? Where the rays intersect is quantitats point of focal attention where things appear exactly in a way that is meant to be consistent with many other things appearing as well if not exactly.

Second, Augustine is here emphasizing how seeing is quantutate activity of sight, a power of the soul. De quantitate animae So in seeing one is acted upon. The passive power to be affected where one is not conferred by the sensitive soul is similarly a power that no soulless body may possess.

And very often this point is independent of the truth of the ex- tramission theory. That the body is an instrument of the soul is a distinctively Platonic thought compare Plotinus, Ennead 4. Aristotle rejects the extramission the- ory as providing a false causal dee of perception De sensu 2 a 26—b 2and yet his alternative causal model preserves these formal animxe. Extensive magnitudes cited by Augustine are length, width, and strength.

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