The Place of the Good in Aristotle's Natural Teleology

Allan Gotthelf

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

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199287956
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191738296 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Aristotle Studies Series

The Place of the Good in Aristotle's Natural Teleology

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The analysis of Aristotle's natural teleology elsewhere in this book makes no defining reference to the good. While natural ends are inevitably good, they need not and should not, as many interpreters think, be defined in terms of the good. NE I appears to define good in terms of end. And a consideration of Aristotle's use of normative or value‐oriented categories of language for ‘that for the sake of which’ — the good, the better, the well, and the divine — shows that they are all to be understood ‘naturalistically’, in terms of the actualization of an ‘irreducible potential for form’, which need not be defined normatively.

Keywords: Aristotle; teleology; biology; the good; the divine; Parts of Animals

Chapter.  11952 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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