The Cambridge companion to Aristotle's biology


    • Connell, Sophia M.


The Cambridge companion to Aristotle's biology

edited by Sophia M. Connell

(Cambridge companions)

Cambridge University Press, 2021

  • : pbk

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Includes bibliographical references (p. 310-343) and indexes



Aristotle's voluminous writings on animals have often been marginalised in the history of philosophy. Providing the first full-length comprehensive account of Aristotle's biology, its background, content and influence, this Companion situates his study of living nature within his broader philosophy and theology and differentiates it from other medical and philosophical theories. An overview of empiricism in Aristotle's Historia Animalium is followed by an account of the general methodology recommended in the Parts of Animals. An account of the importance of Aristotle's teleological perspective and the fundamental metaphysics of biological entities provides a basis for understanding living capacities, such as nutrition, reproduction, perception and self-motion, in his philosophy. The importance of Aristotle's zoology to both his ethics and political philosophy is highlighted. The volume explores in detail the changing interpretations and influences of Aristotle's biological works from antiquity to modern philosophy of science. It is essential for both students and scholars.


  • Introduction Sophia M. Connell
  • 1. Biology and Theology in Aristotle's Theoretical and Practical Sciences Monte Ransome Johnson
  • 2. The Presocratics, Plato and Aristotle's Biology Karel Thein
  • 3. Aristotle's Biology and Early Medicine Hynek Bartos
  • 4. Empiricism and Hearsay in Aristotle's Zoological Collection of Facts Mariska Leunissen
  • 5. Parts of Animals Book 1 on Methods of Inquiry Devin Henry
  • 6. Teleological Perspectives in Aristotle's Biology Jessica Gelber
  • 7. Aristotle's Biological Metaphysics Charlotte Witt
  • 8. Life-cycles and the Actions of Nutritive Soul in Aristotle R. A. H. King
  • 9. Aristotle on Animal Generation and Hereditary Resemblance Sophia M. Connell
  • 10. The Science of Perception in Aristotle Cynthia Freeland
  • 11. Aristotle's Theory of Animal Agency and the Problem of Self-motion Klaus Corcillus
  • 12. Animal Cognition in Aristotle Sophia M. Connell
  • 13. Elements of Biology in Aristotle's Political Science Elena Cagnoli Fiecconi
  • 14. The Early Reception of Aristotle's Biology Myrto Hatzimichali
  • 15. The Reception of Aristotle's Biology in Late Antiquity and Beyond Andrea Falcon
  • 16. Aristotelian Teleology and Philosophy of Biology in the Darwinian Era David Depew
  • 17. Aristotle and Contemporary Biology Denis Walsh
  • Afterword James G. Lennox.

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