Aristotle and Aristotlianism

Part I. The Preparation

A) Please read:
– Read Chapter 3, ‘Aristotle’s Philosophy of Nature’ in Lindberg, David C. The Beginnings of Western Science: The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, Prehistory to A.D. 1450. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007; [In the Readings Folder], and
– Lester P. Coonen, “Aristotle’s Biology,” BioScience , Vol. 27, No. 11 (Nov., 1977), pp. 733-738,

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And view the BBC documentary on Aristotle’s biological investigations:

Part 1)
Part 2)
Part 3)
Part 4)

Part II. The Report
In a 300-500 word essay, discuss

1) Generally, how do the assigned materials address the Greek understanding of nature and ‘natural philosophy’.

2) More specifically, how are we to evaluate Aristotle’s ‘science’? What are the dangers in seeing him as a modern, that is the ‘first biologist’? Why is it more useful to see him as an ancient ‘scientist’? To answer these questions:

a) Start with Lindberg — how does he frame the story of Aristotle? For example, does he discuss his research as ‘science’ or is it more of a ‘philosophy’? What kind of context does Lindberg provide for discussing Aristotle’s work? Does Aristotle appear magically as a genius coming out of the ‘aether’ or is he connected to other philosophers or schools of thought?

b) Then address how Coonen describes Aristotle’s biological knowledge. Is his analysis too ‘presentist,’ that is, does he interpret the distant past by today’s standards of science?

c) How does this relate to the film Aristotle’s Lagoon? How does seeing the lagoon today help us to understand Aristotle’s time and work? Or is it a distraction from ancient history? In what ways is this presentist (applying present day values to the distant past) or not?

Part III. Bibliography and Citations:
Continue to use Footnotes and a Bibliography in the Chicago Manual of Style:

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