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Albert the Great as a Commentator of Aristotle’s De somno et vigilia: The Influence of the Arabic Tradition

  • Silvia Donati
Chapter
Part of the Studies in the History of Philosophy of Mind book series (SHPM, volume 17)

Abstract

This paper deals with Albert’s interpretation of the treatise, focusing on some essential elements of his understanding of Aristotle’s doctrine of sleep: the nature of the common sense and its relationship to the special senses; the role of the heart and of the brain as, respectively, the ultimate source of sense perception and the organ of the common sense; the complexity of the notion of sleep, conceived, on the one hand, as an incapacitation of the external senses and, on the other hand, as an invigoration of the interior senses. My analysis brings to light Albert’s strongly unifying approach, which in contrast with modern interpretations of Aristotle’s treatise, emphasizes the internal coherence of Aristotle’s argument in the treatise. In my reconstruction, I draw attention to the wide systematic scope of Albert’s sophisticated interpretation, highlighting, on the one hand, the originality of some of its elements (for instance its conception of the relationship between the common sense and the sense of touch) and, on the other hand, its reliance on the Arabic philosophical tradition for some of its key concepts.

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Silvia Donati
    • 1
  1. 1.Albertus-Magnus-InstitutBonnGermany

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