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  • Cited by 7
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    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    De Ribera-Martin, Ignacio 2018. Seed (Sperma) and Kuêma in Aristotle’s Generation of Animals. Journal of the History of Biology,

    Karbowski, Joseph 2014. EmpiricalEulogosArgumentation inGAIII 10. British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Vol. 22, Issue. 1, p. 25.

    Crowley, Timothy J. 2013. DE GENERATIONE ET CORRUPTIONE 2.3: DOES ARISTOTLE IDENTIFY THE CONTRARIES AS ELEMENTS?. The Classical Quarterly, Vol. 63, Issue. 01, p. 161.

    Lennox, James G. 2012. A Companion to Ancient Philosophy. p. 292.

    Detel, Wolfgang 2012. A Companion to Ancient Philosophy. p. 245.

    2008. The Blackwell Guide to Ancient Philosophy. p. 324.

    Cleary, John J. 1994. Phainomenain Aristotle's methodology. International Journal of Philosophical Studies, Vol. 2, Issue. 1, p. 61.

  • Print publication year: 1987
  • Online publication date: June 2011

6 - Definition and scientific method in Aristotle's Posterior Analytics and Generation of Animals


The middle term [in a demonstration] is a definition of the major term.

This is why all the sciences are built up through the process of definition.

Posterior Analytics 11.17 99a21–3

Scientific method in Aristotle's biology

The relation between Aristotle's official account in the Posterior Analytics of the nature of scientific knowledge and of the means by which it is reached and his actual practice in arriving at the results presented in his special scientific writings has long been a topic of considerable study. In the recent history of attempts to account for the discrepancies between Aristotle's theory and his practice, or to explain away the apparent discrepancies, the biological works have been assigned a special role. In his famous and still influential treatment of this problem, Jaeger saw in what he took to be the thoroughgoing empiricism of the biological works the final step in Aristotle's emancipation from the Platonic view of scientific knowledge and method found in the Analytics. Students of Aristotle now agree that Jaeger's general account of Aristotle's ‘progress’ away from Platonism is untenable. But it is still widely supposed that Jaeger was at least right that there are empirical elements in the method practiced in the biological writings to which no role is given in the Analytics.

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Philosophical Issues in Aristotle's Biology
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