These accounts resemble Moliere's satire of Aristotle as identifying (unfairly, I think) the cause of sleep as the "dormitive
virtue." (20) They ascribe a "power" to a thing that has the possibility of being in a relation: the power is nothing more than this possibility, taken to be an attribute of a thing.
(53) Of course, Moliere's discrediting of doctors, inter alia on account of their (obviously circular) appeal to a 'dormitive
virtue' ('virtus dormitiva') to explain why opium makes someone sleep, (54) is not fully pertinent, at least not anymore, especially since they do know how to cure some patients, as opposed to those derided by him for not being able to do so.
The unedifying spectacle of dormitive
lecturers routinely condemning a concept which their own practice and social/ intellectual positioning exemplifies is especially poignant." [p34 op cit]
All that smacks of the famous vertu dormitive
But this explanation is like saying that sleeping pills work because of their "dormitive
One might object that to say that a perception is noticed because it is noticeable has the ring of dormitive
virtue to it.
But this is the same illusion as supposing that ascribing a dormitive
virtue to a sleeping draught tells us why it induces slumber.
So, in this case, it is true that "having the functional roles wrong is a very hard matter to conceal, precisely because they are functional roles."(41) Adverting to such properties (fragility, dormitive
powers, etc.) is, of course, explanatory.
Does "sense" do anything more than reduplicate the beliefs and behaviors on which it is based, as "dormitive
power" was adduced to explain the workings of opium?
It is the dormitive
virtue of opium that induces sleep,
A famous example is adducing "dormitive
powers" as the ground of opium's ability to induce sleep.
The classic explanation of this type, of course, is Moliere's explanation that opium puts us to sleep because it has a dormitive