in The Female in Aristotle's Biology

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2004 | ISBN: 9780226512006
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226512020 | DOI:

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Aristotle came to the conclusions he did in the absence (or in defiance) of the observation that females have smaller brains, different skulls, paler skin, softer bones, and fewer teeth than males. He observed differences between the bones possessed by different kinds of animal, but nowhere does he indicate that these observations themselves led him to conclude that males have harder bones than females. Aristotle would have been aware of why wisdom teeth were present in a thirty-seven-year-old man but absent in an eighteen-year-old woman, so it is unlikely he would have used a comparison of men and women of these ages to support his view that males have more teeth than females. His expectation that females would be physically inferior to males in areas not yet researched possibly caused him to investigate these matters insufficiently.

Keywords: Aristotle; females; wisdom teeth; physically inferior; males

Chapter.  10090 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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