In Aristotle's teleological view of the world, natural things come to be and are present for the sake of some function or end. Whereas much of recent scholarship has focused on uncovering the physical underpinnings of Aristotle's teleology and its contrasts with his notions of chance and necessity, this book examines Aristotle's use of the theory of natural teleology in producing explanations of natural phenomena. Close analyses of Aristotle's natural treatises and his Posterior Analytics show what methods are used for (...) the discovery of functions or ends that figure in teleological explanations, how these explanations are structured, and how well they work in making sense of phenomena. The book will be valuable for all who are interested in Aristotle's natural science, his philosophy of science, and his biology. (shrink)
This book discusses Aristotle's biological views about 'natural character traits' and their importance for moral development. It provides a new, comprehensive account of the physiological underpinnings of moral development and shows that the biological account of natural character provides the conceptual and ideological foundation for Aristotle's ethical views about habituation.
Aristotle's study of the natural world plays a tremendously important part in his philosophical thought. He was very interested in the phenomena of motion, causation, place and time, and teleology, and his theoretical materials in this area are collected in his Physics, a treatise of eight books which has been very influential on later thinkers. This volume of new essays provides cutting-edge research on Aristotle's Physics, taking into account recent changes in the field of Aristotle in terms of its understanding (...) of key concepts and preferred methodology. The contributions reassess the key concepts of the treatise, reconstruct Aristotle's methods for the study of nature, and determine the boundaries of his natural philosophy. Due to the foundational nature of Aristotle's Physics itself, the volume will be a must-read for all scholars working on Aristotle. (shrink)
Despite the renewed interest in Aristotle’s Generation of Animals in recent years, the subject matter of GA V, its preferred mode(s) of explanation, and its place in the treatise as a whole remain misunderstood. Scholars focus on GA I-IV, which explain animal generation in terms of efficient-final causation, but dismiss GA V as a mere appendix, thinking it to concern (a) individual, accidental differences among animals, which are (b) purely materially necessitated, and (c) are only tangentially related to the topics (...) discussed in the earlier books. In this paper, we defend an alternative and more integrated account of GA V by closely examining Aristotle’s methodological introduction in GA V.1 778a16-b19 and his teleological explanation of the differences of teeth in GA V.8. We argue for the unity of both GA V and of GA as a whole and present a more nuanced theory of teleological explanation in Aristotle’s biology. (shrink)
This volume collects Late Ancient, Byzantine and Medieval appropriations of Aristotle's Posterior Analytics, addressing the logic of inquiry, concept formation, the question whether metaphysics is a science, and the theory of demonstration.
This paper argues that Aristotle’s representation of mothers and motherly love in two separate arguments about friendship in his ethical treatises are not to be read as positive valuations of mothering and its associated traits but rather as perpetuating the common Greek animalization of women. For the deep love and the complex care and practical intelligence human mothers exhibit for their children are according to Aristotle rooted in the biological capacities that they share with non-human animals. Importantly, these capacities are (...) instinctual rather than chosen and grounded primarily in women’s perceptive soul rather than in their rational soul. By emphasizing the naturalness and the affective character of motherly love in his ethics, Aristotle assimilates human mothers to animal ones and depicts their excellence in mothering as a biological virtue rather than a moral one. (shrink)
In this paper, I offer three suggestions regarding the role of Aristotle’s concept of analogy in biology as alternatives to the views defended by Devin Henry. First, I argue that the concept of analogy in Aristotle’s biological treatises points to a similarity in capacity between parts. Second, that it is mostly of methodological importance for the practice of explanation rather than for the practice of classification. And finally, that it is used with regard to parts that are visibly different and (...) incommensurate rather to parts that possess different material natures. (shrink)
It is a commonplace in Aristotelian scholarship that the forms of living beings and the animal species to which they give rise are “fixed.” However, Aristotle’s biological works often stress the flexibility of nature during the development of animals. The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to delineate the range of flexibility that Aristotle takes natures to have in the design of animals; and second, to draw out the implications of this for Aristotle’s embryology and theory of natural teleology.
Es ist ein zentraler Grundsatz der aristotelischen Naturphilosophie, dass die Natur stets um eines bestimmten Zweckes willen tätig ist: Jedes Ding, das von Natur aus besteht, sich verändert oder entsteht, tut dies – solange es nicht daran gehindert wird – um eines bestimmten Zweckes bzw. um einer bestimmten Funktion willen. In diesem Zweck bzw. in dieser Funktion besteht die Zweck- oder auch Finalursache des Dinges, welches dann seinerseits die Vermögen, Struktur und Teile, die es besitzt, um willen der Zweckursache besitzt. (...) In der modernen Literatur nennt man diesen aristotelischen Grundsatz von der Zweckorientiertheit des Natürlichen Aristoteles’ Lehre von der natürlichen Teleologie. Es ist allerdings wichtig, sich klarzumachen, dass der Ausdruck ›Teleologie‹ erst im 18. Jh. durch den deutschen Philosophen Christian Wolff geprägt wurde. (shrink)
As the editors of this excellent little volume point out from the outset, Aristotleâs Physics VII.3 is a curious, difficult, andâsadlyâmostly neglected chapter. On the one hand, the chapter discusses quite important matters. Offering one of the lengthiest discussions of qualitative change in the Aristotelian corpus, it starts out by restricting this type of changeânot to changes in any of the four types of quality Aristotle had distinguished in Categories 8âbut to change in perceptual qualities only . It then proceeds (...) by demonstrating that two seeming counterexamples to this refined notion of qualitative changeânamely, items taking on figures or shapes, and the taking on and casting off of states âare not in fact cases of qualitative change, even if their occurrence depends on qualitative changes taking place in something else. In the meantime, it offers a rare physiological account of the acquisition and loss of the ethical and intellectual virtues, thereby making the chapter not only crucial for our understanding of Aristotleâs physics and metaphysics but also for his moral psychology and ethics. On the other hand, the chapter is demanding, does not seem to fit in well within the argument of Physics VII as a whole , and the Greek has been handed down to us in two different versions. (shrink)
While Aristotle is mostly famous as the father of natural teleology, De Groot sets out to offer us a picture of the “other,” hitherto neglected Aristotle, whose natural science is thoroughly influenced by mechanistic procedures and ideas. Her monograph is impressive: it provides a wealth of detailed and philosophically rich discussions of sometimes overlooked Aristotelian texts, diagrams, and tables that help visualize the often technical materials she discusses, and bold and original claims that will perhaps not convince everyone, but that (...) will need to be taken into account in future studies of Aristotle’s natural philosophy. By drawing attention to the operation of mechanical notions... (shrink)