Chapter

Aristotle as Scientist: A Proper Verdict

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199287956.003.0016

Series: Oxford Aristotle Studies Series

Aristotle as Scientist: A Proper Verdict

Show Summary Details

Preview

Aristotle was not (as is often said) an ‘armchair theorist’ who ‘held back the course of science for two thousand years’. And though he was a brilliant and careful observer, some of whose findings were not rediscovered until the nineteenth century, his greatness as a scientist does not lie in that. His greatness lies rather in the systematic and explanatory character of his work — in, broadly speaking, the methodology he practiced. It lies, specifically, in: the range of data he collected, and the care with which he collected it; the systematic way he organized that range of data; the way he explained (largely teleologically, in biology) the data he collected and organized; and the way he organized his explanations into a comprehensive body of scientific understanding, which was empirically based and revisable as new knowledge was discovered.

Keywords: Aristotle; biology; science; explanation; teleology; empirical

Chapter.  13366 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.