Article ID: CBB465852633

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

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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.

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