Aristotle On Dreams

1776 words, 8 pages

Intro Sample...

I chose to analyze On Dreams by Aristotle. Aristotle’s investigation of how and why dreams occur is very interesting because he was the closest ancient Greek philosopher to describing how we explain dreams today. He blatantly rejected the notion that dreams could foretell the future, and he believed that they have no real purpose. Aristotle’s On Dreams examines where dreams come from, and how and why they occur. Aristotle also discusses the soul, and what part it plays in the creation of dreams while one is sleeping. At some points while reading Aristotle’s On Dreams it was crucial to keep in mind that scientific study of dreams and the sleeping mind was very limited at that time, and the information available... View More »

Body Sample...

I do believe it is possible to be effected while asleep by external stimulation, but Aristotle makes an interesting point.
Aristotle attributes wakefulness to the presence of perception, and sleep with the absence of perception. He claims that the reason why we dream is because, in the absence of external provocation, the mechanism of perception is activated, creating phantasms in our mind. At the same time, Aristotle firmly believes that one cannot perceive anything while asleep. This seems to me to be a contradiction because if one perceives the outside world through the senses while awake but cannot perceive anything while asleep, then wouldn’t our minds enter a blank, colorless, pictureless state while asleep? Aristotle explains that while we do not perceive our senses while asleep, the faculty of sense-perception is still affected, though in a different manner, but with the same concept. While I understand his thinking here, it still doesn’t make sense to claim that while asleep the human mind can perceive nothing, and at the same time be stimulated by the lack of perception.
Aristotle also reasons that a dreaming person cannot accurately pass judgment or opinion on a person/object/scene occurring in the dream truly or falsely. Because we cannot genuinely know what is true or false in a dream, Aristotle says that the sleeping mind will automatically accept everything it thinks it perceives as true or real. I do not agree with Aristotle here because I have personally experienced dreams in which I knew I was dreaming. Because I knew that I was dreaming, I knew ...

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