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

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199287956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199287956.001.0001

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A Biological Provenance

A Biological Provenance

Reflections on Montgomery Furth's Substance, Form and Psyche: An Aristotelean Metaphysics

(p.241) 11 A Biological Provenance
Teleology, First Principles, and Scientific Method in Aristotle's Biology

Allan Gotthelf

Oxford University Press

Montgomery Furth's 1988 book was the fruit of some twenty years’ work on the relationship between Aristotle's biology and his metaphysics. This chapter, after placing Furth's work in relation to that of others working across the second half of the twentieth century on the philosophical interest of Aristotle's biological treatises, goes on to examine Furth's claim that the metaphysics (and the Metaphysics) has a biological provenance. The chapter distinguishes a stronger thesis — that the metaphysics arose from reflection on the biology — from a weaker thesis — that a close study of the paradigmatically substantial biological entities illuminates the metaphysics, and endorses only the weaker thesis. The chapter concludes by outlining a teleological account of the unity of an Aristotelian substance, which goes beyond Furth's own (non‐teleological) account of that unity.

Keywords:   Aristotle, biology, M. Furth, form, unity of definition, Generation of Animals, Metaphysics

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