Article ID: CBB465852633

Methodology in Aristotle’s Theory of Spontaneous Generation (2018)


Aristotle’s theory of spontaneous generation offers many puzzles to those who wish to understand his theory both within the context of his biology and within the context of his more general philosophy of nature. In this paper, I approach the difficult and vague elements of Aristotle’s account of spontaneous generation not as weaknesses, but as opportunities for an interesting glimpse into the thought of an early scientist struggling to reconcile evidence and theory. The paper has two goals: (1) to give as charitable and full an account as possible of what Aristotle’s theory of spontaneous generation was, and to examine some of its consequences; and (2) to reflect on Aristotle as a scientist, and what his comments reveal about how he approached a difficult problem. In particular, I propose that the well-recognized problem of the incompatibility between Aristotle’s concept of spontaneity and his theory of spontaneous generation presents an opportunity for insight into his scientific methodology when approaching ill-understood phenomena.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article O'Connor, Scott; (2015)
The Subjects of Natural Generations in Aristotle’s Physics I.7 (/isis/citation/CBB001202192/) unapi

Chapter Kosman, L. Aryeh; (2010)
Male and Female in Aristole's Generation of Animals (/isis/citation/CBB001500202/) unapi

Essay Review Peramatzis, Michail; (2013)
Science and Metaphysics in Aristotle's Philosophy (/isis/citation/CBB001500197/) unapi

Essay Review Peramatzis, Michail; (2013)
Science and Metaphysics in Aristotle's Philosophy [Review Essay Number 1500197] (/isis/citation/CBB001500198/) unapi

Essay Review Peramatzis, Michail; (2013)
Science and Metaphysics in Aristotle's Philosophy [Review Essay Number 1500197] (/isis/citation/CBB001500203/) unapi

Article José Filipe Silva; (2015)
Potentially Human? Aquinas on Aristotle on Human Generation (/isis/citation/CBB258413094/) unapi

Chapter Edward C. Halper; (2017)
Aristotle’s Scientific Method (/isis/citation/CBB181543613/) unapi

Chapter Marco Zingano; (2017)
Ways of Proving in Aristotle (/isis/citation/CBB121521437/) unapi

Book William Wians; Ron Polansky; (2017)
Reading Aristotle (/isis/citation/CBB704223552/) unapi

Article Lennox, James G.; (2014)
Aristotle on the Emergence of Material Complexity: Meteorology IV and Aristotle's Biology (/isis/citation/CBB001421726/) unapi

Article Beverly Hinton; (2006)
Generation and the Unity of Form in Aristotle (/isis/citation/CBB795727641/) unapi

Book Haas, Franz A. J. de; Mansfeld, Jaap; (2004)
Aristotle's On generation and corruption 1 (/isis/citation/CBB000500008/) unapi

Chapter Ward, Ann; (2009)
The Immortality of the Soul and the Origin of the Cosmos in Plato's Phaedo (/isis/citation/CBB001201152/) unapi

Article Henry M. Cowles; (2017)
On the Origin of Theories: Charles Darwin’s Vocabulary of Method (/isis/citation/CBB343863485/) unapi

Article Duan, Yaoyong; Su, Guoqiang; (2004)
Study on the Relationship between the Extraction of Zengcheng and the Licheng Shisuo (/isis/citation/CBB000401193/) unapi

Essay Review Wilner, Eduardo; (2001)
The Evolution of Science (/isis/citation/CBB000100679/) unapi

Book Zagal Arreguín, Héctor; (2005)
Método y ciencia en Aristóteles (/isis/citation/CBB000651456/) unapi

Book Parsons, Keith M.; (2014)
It Started with Copernicus: Vital Questions about Science (/isis/citation/CBB001510107/) unapi

Article Popa, Tiberiu; (2014)
Scientific Method in Meteorology IV (/isis/citation/CBB001421727/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Peramatzis, Michail
Wilner, Eduardo
Ruiz, Rosaura
Ayala, Francisco José
Duan, Yaoyong
Su, Guoqiang
Metascience: An International Review Journal for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science
Apeiron: Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science
Biology and Philosophy
Nei Menggu Shifan Daxue Xuebao (Ziran Kexue Ban)
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
Oxford University Press
Universidad Panamericana, Publicaciones Cruz
Prometheus Books
Methodology of science; scientific method
Philosophy of science
Biogenesis; origin of life; spontaneous generation
Natural philosophy
Copernicus, Nicolaus
Laudan, Larry
Fraassen, Bas C. van
Thomas Aquinas, Saint
Time Periods
19th century
School of Milan

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment