Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Teleology, First Principles, and Scientific Method in Aristotle's Biology$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 January 2021

Aristotle's Conception of Final Causality

Aristotle's Conception of Final Causality

(p.3) 1 Aristotle's Conception of Final Causality
Teleology, First Principles, and Scientific Method in Aristotle's Biology

Allan Gotthelf

Oxford University Press

Starting from the premise that Aristotelian explanation proceeds via the concepts of natures and potentials (and not, say, laws), this chapter argues that for Aristotle the generation of a living organism is not the actualization of the natures and potentials of the materials from which organisms develop, but rather the actualization of a primitive, irreducible potential to produce out of the appropriate materials an organism of a certain form. Each of the major texts in which Aristotle defends his natural teleology is shown to argue for or presuppose that material causes are insufficient to produce such an end. Aristotle's teleology is thus is an empirical thesis and not an a priori one brought to nature. A Postscript articulates various aspects of this view more precisely, showing that a part is for the sake of something only if it has come to be for the sake of something.

Keywords:   Aristotle, final causality, teleology, irreducibility, being and coming‐to‐be, the good, contemporary biological teleology, Generation of Animals

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .