Aristotle on Deformed Animal Kinds

Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 43:83 (2012)
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There is a surprising number of deformed animal kinds mentioned in Aristotle’s biological works. The number is surprising because, according to the standard understanding of deformed animals in Aristotle, it should be zero. And the number is significant because there are just too many deformed kinds at too many classificatory levels mentioned in too many works to dismiss them as a minor aberration or as an infiltration of folk belief into biology proper. This paper has two goals. The first is to develop an interpretation of deformed animal kinds in Aristotle, which focuses on the meaning of deformity applied to kinds. To my knowledge there is no adequate interpretation of the meaning of deformity applied to kinds in the scholarly literature



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Charlotte Witt
University of New Hampshire, Durham

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