Data‐Organization, Classification, and Kinds

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

Data‐Organization, Classification, and Kinds

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This extended chapter introduces readers to the systematic study of Aristotle's History of Animals. A brief history of 2,000 years of scholarship on HA culminates with the revolutionary work of D. M. Balme, who held that HA's aim is not to classify animals systematically but to collect and group their differentiae in preparation for a discovery of their causes. A. Gotthelf and J. G. Lennox developed this position more systematically. D. Charles, building on APo. II.1‐2, argued that HA has a second important aim: establishing that animals divide into certain major kinds and subkinds. Lennox largely disagreed with Charles. The chapter reviews the evidence on both sides and then sketches (but only sketches) a distinct view of the Aristotelian progression from the first grasp of kinds in childhood through stages to a scientific grasp of kinds, identifying HA's (very limited) role in that progression.

Keywords: Aristotle; History of Animals; classification; kinds; D. M. Balme

Chapter.  16449 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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