Problems, Excerpts

From Aristotle Had Problems

Problems by Aristotle, excerpts

Of Divers Matters

Q. Why cannot drunken men judge of taste as well as sober men? A. Because the tongue, being full of pores and spongy, receives more moisture into it, and more in drunken men than in sober; therefore, the tongue, through often drinking, is full of bad humours, and so the faculty of tasting is rendered out of order; also, through the thickening of the taste itself, drink taken by drunkards is not presently felt. And by this may also be understood why drunkards have not a perfect speech.

Q. How comes it that birds do not piss? A. Because that superfluity which would be converted into urine, is turned into feathers.

Q. For what reason doth a man laugh sooner when touched in the armpits than in any other part of the body? A. Because there is in that place a meeting of many sinews, and the mean we touch, which is the flesh, is more subtle than in other parts, and therefore of finer feeling. When a man is moderately and gently touched there the spirits that are dispersed run into the face and causes laughter.

Q. Why do some women love white men and some black men? A. 1. Some have weak sight, and such delight in black, because white doth hurt the sight more than black. 2. Because like delight in like; but some women are of a hot nature, and such are delighted with black, because blackness followeth heat; and others are of a cold nature, and those are delighted with white, because cold produces white.

Q. Why doth a drunken man think that all things about him do turn round? A. Because the spirits which serve the sight are mingled with vapours and fumes, arising from the liquors he has drunk; the overmuch heat causeth the eye to be in continual motion, and the eye being round, causeth all things about it to seem to go round.

The complete text of Aristotle’s Problems

Part II (Loeb) with the Greek