Journal of the History of Biology 45 (2):329-352 (2012)

During the Middle Ages Aristotle’s treatises were accessible to intellectuals via translations and commentaries. Among his works on natural philosophy, the zoological books received relatively little scholarly attention, though several medieval commentators carefully studied Aristotle’s investigations of the animal kingdom. Averroes completed in 1169 a commentary on an Arabic translation of Aristotle’s Parts of Animals and Generation of Animals. In 1323 Gersonides completed his supercommentary on a Hebrew translation of Averroes’ commentary. This article examines how these two medieval commentators interpret the first book of Aristotle’s Parts of Animals, at the center of which stand methodological questions regarding the study of animals. Aristotle’s discussion of classification is presented by Averroes and Gersonides in light of an epistemological debate concerning the requisite method for scientific inquiries and discoveries. Sense perception is contrasted with rational reasoning, and ultimately a combined method is proposed, sense perception maintaining supremacy. These commentators outline a clear link between the systematic arrangement of animal species as offered by Aristotle, and his subsequent logical demonstrations which, according to them, form the core of biological investigations.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10739-011-9284-6
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,290
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Aristotle: The Desire to Understand.Jonathan Lear - 1988 - Cambridge University Press.
Time for Aristotle: Physics Iv. 10-14.Ursula Coope - 2005 - Oxford University Press.
A Portrait of Aristotle.Marjorie Glicksman Grene - 1963 - University of Chicago Press.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Aspects of the Relationship Between Aristotle's Psychology and His Zoology.G. E. R. Lloyd - 1992 - In Martha Craven Nussbaum & Amélie Rorty (eds.), Essays on Aristotle's de Anima. Oxford University Press.


Added to PP index

Total views
9 ( #954,515 of 2,518,734 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #408,070 of 2,518,734 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes