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June 2019

Clio Med. 1995 ; 28(): 447-59.

Aristotle on 'distinguished physicians' and on the medical significance of dreams.

van der Eijk PJ.

This article studies the way in which Aristotle deals with the view-attributed by him to the 'distinguished physicians'-that dreams may be significant as clues for imminent diseases of the body of the dreamer. Aristotle is thinking of philosophically minded physicians (such as the author of De victu) who base their practice on principles derived from the study of nature in general and who take into account the constitution of the whole body. He accepts their view, but justifies it with his own theory of sleep and dreams; however, his attempt to incorporate the medical view into his own account brings him into conflict with his own presupposition that dreams are not actual perceptions, but experiences of the remnants of perceptions received during the waking state.


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