Like understanding, sense is a site of battle between the mind and the body. In both its mental and physical connotations, sense means perception: on the one hand, the consciousness and judgement provided by the mental faculties; on the other hand, the consciousness of external stimuli supplied by the corporeal senses-- sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch-- as well as the awareness of internal changes in the sensations of one's own body. While the mind is considered (by some) to be able to grasp things as they "really are," the senses are often accused of getting reality wrong, of giving disproportioned apprehension of things in the world. In the literature, this imbalance between the mental and the corporeal senses, in which the latter variety of sense is dominant, results in rage, lust, and violence (think of Richardson's Lovelace or Lewis's Ambrosio). A healthy sensibility, on the other hand, is an acute faculty, which relies primarily on the body's heightened ability to receive and filter data from the outside, but also on a native intelligence or soundness of judgement which bears on behavior and action.

a dictionary of sensibility
term list
source bibliography
critical bibliography