David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of the History of Biology 39 (3):425-455 (2006)
In this paper I address an important question in Aristotle’s biology, What are the causal mechanisms behind the transmission of biological form? Aristotle’s answer to this question, I argue, is found in Generation of Animals Book 4 in connection with his investigation into the phenomenon of inheritance. There we are told that an organism’s reproductive material contains a set of "movements" which are derived from the various "potentials" of its nature (the internal principle of change that initiates and controls development). These movements, I suggest, function as specialized vehicles for communicating the parts of the parent’s heritable form during the act of reproduction. After exploring the details of this mechanism, I then take up Aristotle’s theory of inheritance proper. At the heart of the theory are three general principles (or 'laws') that govern the interactions between the maternal and paternal movements, the outcome of which determines the pattern of inheritance for the offspring. Although this paper is primarily aimed at providing a detailed analysis of Aristotle’s account of inheritance, the results of that analysis have implications for other areas of Aristotle’s biology. One of the most interesting of these is the question of whether Aristotle’s biology is anti-evolutionary (as traditionally assumed) or whether (as I argue) it leaves room for a theory of evolution by natural selection, even if Aristotle himself never took that step.
|Keywords||Individual variation Inheritance Form and matter|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Frank A. Lewis (2011). “Predication, Things, and Kinds in Aristotle's Metaphysics”. Phronesis 56 (4):350-387.
Matteo Mameli (2005). The Inheritance of Features. Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):365-399.
Francesca Merlin (2009). On Griffiths and Gray's Concept of Expanded and Diffused Inheritance. Biological Theory 5 (3):206-215.
Matteo Mameli (2004). Nongenetic Selection and Nongenetic Inheritance. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (1):35-71.
Nicholas Shea, Ido Pen & Tobias Uller (2011). Three Epigenetic Information Channels and Their Different Roles in Evolution. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 24:1178-87.
Wybo Houkes (2012). Population Thinking and Natural Selection in Dual-Inheritance Theory. Biology and Philosophy 27 (3):401-417.
Nicholas Shea (2009). Imitation as an Inheritance System. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 364:2429-2443.
Carla E. Kary (1982). Can Darwinian Inheritance Be Extended From Biology to Epistemology? PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:356 - 369.
Tobias Uller (2010). The Price Equation and Extended Inheritance. Philosophy & Theory in Biology 2 (20130604).
Ehud Lamm, Inheritance Systems. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2012 Edition).
Added to index2010-06-14
Total downloads118 ( #13,127 of 1,696,446 )
Recent downloads (6 months)43 ( #5,513 of 1,696,446 )
How can I increase my downloads?