Teleology, First Principles, and Scientific Method in Aristotle's Biology

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OUP Oxford, Feb 23, 2012 - History - 440 pages
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This volume presents an interconnected set of sixteen essays, four of which are previously unpublished, by Allan Gotthelf—one of the leading experts in the study of Aristotle's biological writings. Gotthelf addresses three main topics across Aristotle's three main biological treatises. Starting with his own ground-breaking study of Aristotle's natural teleology and its illuminating relationship with the Generation of Animals, Gotthelf proceeds to the axiomatic structure of biological explanation (and the first principles such explanation proceeds from) in the Parts of Animals. After an exploration of the implications of these two treatises for our understanding of Aristotle's metaphysics, Gotthelf examines important aspects of the method by which Aristotle organizes his data in the History of Animals to make possible such a systematic, explanatory study of animals, offering a new view of the place of classification in that enterprise. In a concluding section on 'Aristotle as Theoretical Biologist', Gotthelf explores the basis of Charles Darwin's great praise of Aristotle and, in the first printing of a lecture delivered worldwide, provides an overview of Aristotle as a philosophically-oriented scientist, and 'a proper verdict' on his greatness as scientist.

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About the author (2012)

Allan Gotthelf is Anthem Foundation Distinguished Fellow for Research and Teaching in Philosophy at Rutgers University, and Emeritus Professor of philosophy at the College of New Jersey. From 2003 to 2012 he was Visiting Professor of history and philosophy of science at the University of Pittsburgh. He was a junior fellow at Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies in 1979-80 and a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, in 2001. Since 1985he has been life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge. He has published widely on Aristotle's biological works, and his work on Aristotle has recently been celebrated by some of the foremost scholars ofAristotle's in Being, Nature, and Life in Aristotle: Essays in Honour of Allan Gotthelf (2010).

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