In Sophia Connell (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle's Biology. Cambridge, UK: pp. 12-29 (2021)

Monte Johnson
University of California, San Diego
Biology and theology are interdependent theoretical sciences for Aristotle. In prominent discussions of the divine things (the stars and their unmoved movers) Aristotle appeals to the science of living things, and in prominent discussions of the nature of plants and animals Aristotle appeals to the nature of the divine. There is in fact a single continuous series of living things that includes gods, humans, animals, and plants, all of them in a way divine. Aristotle has this continuum of divine beings, and a theory of value that corresponds to it, in mind not only in key parts of his theology and biology, but also in his practical philosophy. Here I call attention to some important texts and attempt to offer a coherent account of them, without being able to enter into the usual interpretive disputes. I begin by clarifying the terms “theology” and “biology” and their place in Aristotle's division of philosophy. Next, I discuss how Aristotle’s theology is informed by his biology, and then how his biology is informed by his theology. I end by discussing some implications of the interdependence of biology and theology for Aristotle’s ethics and exhortation to philosophy.
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