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Aristotle's Philosophy of Biology
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  • 2 b/w illus. 1 table
  • Page extent: 346 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.51 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 570/.1
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: QH331 .L528 2001
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Biology--Philosophy
    • Biology--History
    • Aristotle
    • Nature
    • Sexual disorders--United States

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521659765 | ISBN-10: 0521659760)

  • Also available in Hardback
  • Published November 2000

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$34.99 (G)

In addition to being one of the world's most influential philosophers, Aristotle can also be credited with the creation of both the science of biology and the philosophy of biology. The papers collected in this volume, written by a preeminent figure in the field of Aristotle's philosophy and biology, examine Aristotle's approach to biological inquiry and explanation, his concepts of matter, form and kind, and his teleology. Gathering important essays written over a span of twenty years, this volume will be of special value to historians of science and philosophers of science.


Part I. Inquiry and Explanation: Introduction; 1. Divide and explain: the Posterior Analytics in practice; 2. Between data and demonstration: the Analytics and the Historia Animalium; 3. Aristotelian problems; 4. Putting philosophy of science to the test: the case of Aristotle's biology; 5. The disappearance of Aristotle's biology: a Hellenistic mystery; Part II. Matter, Form and Kind: Introduction; 6. Are Aristotelian species eternal?; 7. Kinds, forms of kinds, and the more and less in Aristotle's biology; 8. Material and formal natures in Aristotle's De Partibus Animalium; 9. Nature does nothing in vain…; Part III. Teleological Explanation: Introduction; 10. Teleology, chance, and Aristotle's theory of spontaneous generation; 11. Aristotle on chance; 12. Theophrastus on the limits of teleology; 13. Plato's unnatural teleology.


"This excellent book provides great insights to those who are Aristotle scholars as well as those who have only a casual acquaintance with his works." Bulletin of the History of Medicine

"Brought together, [these papers] present a single, compelling interpretation of Aristotle's thought." Philosophy in Review

"One feels almost comfortable with cause-effect relationships, only to realize an entire regimen of approach is unfolding and Lennox is our useful guide and mentor. Thank goodness for his interpretation, leavened now and then with humor and interesting models...Lennox does very well in the placement of information and timing of knowledge...a thoughtful and provoking work, useful as a guide and interesting on its own." Choice

"Jim Lennox is one of a group of scholars who in the second half of the twentieth century have put our understanding of Aristotle's biological works, and of this conception of biology as a science, on a firmer foundation than it has been since antiquity. In sum, this collection of papers will be essential reading and an essential resource for everyone interested in Aristotelian biology both for the new and revised material it contains." Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"Generally a thoughtful and provoking work, useful as a guide and interesting on its own." Choice Jul 2001

"...the book presents a remarkably seamless and impressively argued interpretation not only of Aristotle's philosophy of biology in particular, but of his philosophy of science in general. As interest in Aristotle's philosophy of biology continues to grow, this book will prove to be essential reading for anyone doing research in history and philosophy in biology...The central virtue of this book lies in the author's impressive command both of the Aristotelian material and of the central isues not only in the philosophy of biology but in the philosophy of science generally. I can think of no better introduction, either for graduate students or for professionals interested in Aristotle's philosophy of natural science. In particular Lennox has given us a portrait of Aristotle's research program that is coherent and compelling." Journal of the History of Philosophy

"...the volume will be useful to anyone interested either in ancient philosophy or in the history of biology." Journal of the History of Biology

"It is unfortunate that Aristotle's voice is rarely heard in contemporary philosophy of biology and Michael Ruse is to be applauded for his inclusion of this collection in his Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Biology series. Moreover, if only one scholar is selected to represent some of the best recent work on Aristotelian biology, Ruse can have done no better than James Lennox. Aristotle scholars who have been working on biology over the past two decades already know the significance of Lennox's work. Philosophers and historians of science not yet familiar with it will find this book well worth their time." - Michael W. Tkacz, Gonzaga University

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