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Biology and Philosophy

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 311–339 | Cite as

Aristotle's Anatomical Philosophy of Nature

  • Christopher E. Cosans
Article

Abstract

This paper explores the anatomical foundations of Aristotle's natural philosophy. Rather than simply looking at the body, he contrives specific procedures for revealing unmanifest phenomena. In some cases, these interventions seem extensive enough to qualify as experiments. At the work bench, one can observe the parts of animals in the manner Aristotle describes, even if his descriptions seem at odds with 20th century textbooks. Manipulating animals allows us to recover his teleological thought more fully. This consideration of Aristotle as a sophisticated biologist helps our reading of his writings in other areas of philosophy.

anatomy Aristotle body dissection experiment form nature soul teleology vivisection 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher E. Cosans
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyGeorge Washington UniversityWashingtonU.S.A

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