How Does Air Receive Color? Aristotle on the Medium, Light, and Vision

Author:Fei-Ting Chen

Abstract / PDF Download (Chinese)

In this paper I reconstruct how Aristotle sees the medium receiving color in De anima 2.7, 418a26-b20 and offer my own interpretation. I argue that Aristotle intends to establish a causal chain for a perception event, which begins with the color of the perceived object as the efficient explanation of the whole causal chain. And color moves the medium, i.e., something transparent such as air, in the manner of alteration. On the other hand, I argue that we should construe the actuality of the transparent thing to be the state of exhibiting the nature of transparency, which air shares with things such as fire. And receiving color in the transparent thing requires the transparent thing to be in actuality. If this line of interpretation is correct, it may reshape the current reading of how the faculty of perception “receives form without matter” (De anima 2.12, 414a18-19).

Keywords: actuality、alteration、Aristotle、change、vision