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Reading and Sleep in Pseudo-Aristotle, Problemata XVIII,7

On the Nutritive Soul’s Influence on the Intellect, and Vice Versa

Robert Mayhew

Abstract

After brief discussions of Aristotle’s De somno et vigilia and the fragmentary evidence for Strato of Lampsacus’ De somno, which together provide the relevant Peripatetic context, this essay is in effect a commentary on pseudo-Aristotle, Problemata XVIII,7. This neglected text discusses the purported relationship in different individuals between reading and sleep (or insomnia), which in turn involves the unknown author’s conception of the connection between the nutritive part of the soul and the rational part. Discussion and debate in the Lyceum in the generation after Aristotle was, it is argued, the likely intellectual soil from which Pr. XVIII,7 emerged.

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