Aristotle, Parva Naturalia. On Dreams

LCL 288: 348-349

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458 aI. Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα περὶ ἐνυπνίου ζητητέον, καὶ 458 bπρῶτον τίνι τῶν τῆς ψυχῆς φαίνεται, καὶ πότερον τοῦ νοητικοῦ τὸ πάθος ἐστὶ τοῦτο ἢ τοῦ αἰσθητικοῦ· τούτοις γὰρ μόνοις τῶν ἐν ἡμῖν γνωρίζομέν τι.

Εἰ δὲ χρῆσις ὄψεως ὅρασις καὶ ἀκοῆς τὸ ἀκούειν 5καὶ ὅλως αἰσθήσεως τὸ αἰσθάνεσθαι, κοινὰ δ᾿ ἐστὶ τῶν αἰσθήσεων οἷον σχῆμα καὶ μέγεθος καὶ κίνησις καὶ τἆλλα τὰ τοιαῦτα, ἴδια δ᾿ οἷον χρῶμα ψόφος χυμός, ἀδυνατεῖ δὲ πάντα μύοντα καὶ καθεύδοντα ὁρᾶν, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ καὶ λοιπῶν, ὥστε1 δῆλον ὅτι οὐκ αἰσθανόμεθα οὐδὲν ἐν τοῖς ὕπνοις· οὐκ ἄρα γε τῇ αἰσθήσει τὸ ἐνύπνιον αἰσθανόμεθα.

10Ἀλλὰ μὴν οὐδὲ τῇ δόξῃ. οὐ γὰρ μόνον τὸ προσιόν φαμεν ἄνθρωπον ἢ ἵππον εἶναι, ἀλλὰ καὶ λευκὸν ἢ καλόν· ὧν ἡ δόξα ἄνευ αἰσθήσεως οὐδὲν ἂν φήσειεν, οὔτ᾿ ἀληθῶς οὔτε ψευδῶς. ἐν δὲ τοῖς ὕπνοις συμβαίνει τὴν ψυχὴν τοῦτο ποιεῖν· ὁμοίως γὰρ ὅτι 15ἄνθρωπος καὶ ὅτι λευκὸς ὁ προσιὼν δοκοῦμεν ὁρᾶν. ἔτι παρὰ τὸ ἐνύπνιον ἐννοοῦμεν ἄλλο τι, καθάπερ ἐν τῷ ἐγρηγορέναι αἰσθανόμενοί τι· περὶ οὗ γὰρ


On Dreams

On Dreams

I. Our next inquiry is concerned with the dream; in the first place, to what faculty of the soul it appears, i.e., whether the affection belongs to the intellectual or to the sensitive faculty; for these are the only faculties within us by which we can attain to knowledge.

Now if the employment of the visual faculty isDreaming is not perception. seeing, and that of the auditory faculty is hearing, and generally that of the sensitive faculty is perceiving; and if some sensibles such as shape, size, movement, etc., are common to all the senses, while others such as colour, sound and flavours are peculiar; and if everything that has its eyes shut and is asleep is incapable of seeing, and similarly with the other senses, so that clearly we have no perception in sleep at all: then it follows that it is not by sense-perception that we see our dreams.

Nor is it by opinion. For we do not merely saynor opinion. that the thing approaching is a man or a horse, but also that it is white or handsome; but on these points opinion could not pronounce, either truly or falsely, without perception. Yet the soul actually does this in sleep; for we seem to see that the approaching object is white no less than that it is a man. Moreover, besides the dream we think something else, just as when we are percipient while awake; for we often cogitate about what we perceive.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-parva_naturalia_dreams.1957