Aristotle's biological works - constituting over 25% of his surviving corpus and for centuries largely unstudied by philosophically oriented scholars - have been the subject of an increasing amount of attention of late. This collection brings together some of the best work that has been done in this area, with the aim of exhibiting the contribution that close study of these treatises can make to the understanding of Aristotle's philosophy. The book is divided into four parts, each with an introduction (...) which places its essays in relation to each other and to the wider issues of the book as a whole. The first part is an overview of the relationship of Aristotle's biology to his philosophy; the other three each concentrate on a set of issues central to Aristotelian study - definition and demonstration; teleology and necessity in nature; and metaph themes such as the unity of matter and form and the nature of substance. (shrink)
What precisely does aristotle mean when he asserts that something is (or comes to be) "for" "the" "sake" "of" something? I suggest that the answer to this question may be found by examining aristotle's position on the problem of reduction in biology, As it arises within his own scientific "and" "philosophical" context. I discuss the role of the concepts of "nature" and "potential" in aristotelian scientific explanation, And reformulate the reduction problem in that light. I answer the main question by (...) establishing that aristotle holds an "irreducibility" thesis in regard to the generation and development of a living organism, And that this thesis is the core of his conception of final causality. I conclude by arguing that aristotle's teleology is fundamentally "empirical" in character, And not an a priori doctrine brought "to" the study of nature. (shrink)
This volume draws together Allan Gotthelf's pioneering work on Aristotle's biology. He examines Aristotle's natural teleology, the axiomatic structure of biological explanation, and the reliance on scientifically organized data in the three great works with which Aristotle laid the foundations of biological science.
In this chapter, Ayn Rand's new concept of morality is contrasted with familiar concepts according to which morality is an imposition on an individual that demands that he forgo his own interests as a sacrifice, whether to other people or to God. This chapter explores Rand's view that man's life is the standard of value and looks at each value that John Galt describes as supreme and ruling and, then, at the range of other values that Rand thinks man's life. (...) In discussing the supreme and ruling values, the chapter considers the three virtues that correspond to them: rationality, productiveness, and pride. It also looks at the four remaining virtues Rand identifies such as independence, integrity, honesty, and justice. Rand's conception of justice and the facts it recognizes is powerfully illustrated in Atlas Shrugged. Finally, the chapter examines Rand's view of heroism, which is closely connected with her ethics. (shrink)
The philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand is a cultural phenomenon. Her books have sold more than twenty-eight million copies, and countless individuals speak of her writings as having significantly influenced their lives. Despite her popularity, Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism has received little serious attention from academic philosophers. _Concepts and Their Role in Knowledge_ offers scholarly analysis of key elements of Ayn Rand’s radically new approach to epistemology. The four essays, by contributors intimately familiar with this area of her work, discuss (...) Rand’s theory of concepts—including its new account of abstraction and essence—and its central role in her epistemology; how that view leads to a distinctive conception of the justification of knowledge; her realist account of perceptual awareness and its role in the acquisition of knowledge; and finally, the implications of that theory for understanding the growth of scientific knowledge. The volume concludes with critical commentary on the essays by distinguished philosophers with differing philosophical viewpoints and the author’s responses to those commentaries. This is the second book published in Ayn Rand Society Philosophical Studies, which was developed in conjunction with the Ayn Rand Society to offer a fuller scholarly understanding of this highly original and influential thinker. The Ayn Rand Society, an affiliated group of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division, seeks to foster scholarly study by philosophers of the philosophical thought and writings of Ayn Rand. (shrink)
Introduces the philosophical thoughts of Ayn Rand with overviews of her life and intellectual development, then covers her objectivist epistemology, giving attention to both her theory of perception and to her original theory of concepts. Other subjects covered include objectivist ethics, Rand's moral theory and politics, and her aesthetics.
Charles Darwin's famous 1882 letter, in response to a gift by his friend, William Ogle of Ogle's recent translation of Aristotle's "Parts of Animals," in which Darwin remarks that his "two gods," Linnaeus and Cuvier, were "mere school-boys to old Aristotle," has been though to be only an extravagantly worded gesture of politeness. However, a close examination of this and other Darwin letters, and of references to Aristotle in Darwin's earlier work, shows that the famous letter was written several weeks (...) after a first, polite letter of thanks, and was carefully formulated and literally meant. Indeed, it reflected an authentic, and substantial, increase in Darwin's already high respect for Aristotle, as a result of a careful reading both of Ogle's Introduction and of more or less the portion of Ogle's translation which Darwin says he has read. Aristotle's promotion to the pantheon, as an examination of the basis for Darwin's admiration of Linnaeus and Cuvier suggests, was most likely the result specifically of Darwin's late discovery that the man he already knew as "one of the greatest... observers that ever lived" was also the ancient equivalent both of the great modern systematist and of the great modern advocate of comparative functional explanation. It may also have reflected some real insight on Darwin's part into the teleological aspect of Aristotle's thought, indeed more insight than Ogle himself had achieved, as a portion of their correspondence reveals. (shrink)
Despite the renewed interest in Aristotle’s Generation of Animals in recent years, the subject matter of GA V, its preferred mode(s) of explanation, and its place in the treatise as a whole remain misunderstood. Scholars focus on GA I-IV, which explain animal generation in terms of efficient-final causation, but dismiss GA V as a mere appendix, thinking it to concern (a) individual, accidental differences among animals, which are (b) purely materially necessitated, and (c) are only tangentially related to the topics (...) discussed in the earlier books. In this paper, we defend an alternative and more integrated account of GA V by closely examining Aristotle’s methodological introduction in GA V.1 778a16-b19 and his teleological explanation of the differences of teeth in GA V.8. We argue for the unity of both GA V and of GA as a whole and present a more nuanced theory of teleological explanation in Aristotle’s biology. (shrink)
This chapter discusses a pair of interrelated theses that are hallmarks of Objectivism: the benevolent universe premise and the heroic view of man. These theses are dramatic consequences of the defining essentials of the philosophy, and they are central to the sense of life conveyed by Ayn Rand's novels. The benevolent universe premise permeates all her novels, and much of her non‐fiction, but it seems that she first conceptualized this view under this name sometime in the 1940s. The benevolent universe (...) premise is what Rand calls a metaphysical value‐judgment. It is metaphysical in that it answers a question about the nature of the universe. The chapter briefly describes the heroic view of man, looking not at the content of Rand's view of heroism, but at how this view of heroism colored her view of humanity and of specific human beings. (shrink)
David Balme's major critical edition of Aristotle's largest and perhaps least studied treatise is based on a collation of the 26 known extant manuscripts and a study of the early Latin translations. Begun in 1975, with his work towards the Loeb editio minor of books VII–X, this edition of all ten books, including a very full apparatus criticus, was largely complete by 1989 when Professor Balme died, but it needed extensive work to put it in publishable form. This work has (...) been carried out by Allan Gotthelf, Balme's friend and associate. Volume I of the edition contains the complete text of the Historia Animalium, the critical apparatus, and Balme's introduction to the manuscripts, expanded and updated with the assistance of Friederike Berger, and in consultation with the editors of forthcoming editions of the extant medieval translations. A substantial index to the text has been provided by Liliane Bodson in collaboration with Professor Gotthelf. (shrink)
This is the first scholarly study of Atlas Shrugged, covering in detail the historical, literary, and philosophical aspects of Ayn Rand's magnum opus. Topics explored in depth include the history behind the novel's creation, publication, and reception; its nature as a romantic novel; and its presentation of a radical new philosophy.
Philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand is a cultural phenomenon. Her books have sold more than 25 million copies, and countless individuals speak of her writings as having significantly influenced their lives. In spite of the popular interest in her ideas, or perhaps because of it, Rand’s work has until recently received little serious attention from academics. Though best known among philosophers for her strong support of egoism in ethics and capitalism in politics, there is an increasingly widespread awareness of both the range (...) and the systematic character of Rand’s philosophic thought. This new series, developed in conjunction with the Ayn Rand Society, an affiliated group of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division, seeks a fuller scholarly understanding of this highly original and influential thinker. The first volume starts not with the metaphysical and epistemological fundamentals of Rand’s thought, but with central aspects of her ethical theory. Though her endorsement of ethical egoism is well-known—one of her most familiar essay collections is _The Virtue of Selfishness—_the character of her egoism is not. The chapters in this volume address the basis of her egoism in a virtue-centered normative ethics; her account of how moral norms in general are themselves based on a fundamental choice by an agent to value his own life; and how her own approach to the foundations of ethics is to be compared and contrasted with familiar approaches in the analytic ethical tradition. Philosophers interested in the objectivity of value, in the way ethical theory is virtue-based, and in acquiring a serious understanding of an egoistic moral theory worthy of attention will find much to consider in this volume, which includes critical responses to several of its main essays. (shrink)
Aristotle's biological writings, largely ignored by generations of philosophically oriented scholars, have been receiving an increasing amount of attention of late. This is a good thing, because this recent work has confirmed what David Balme's publications have been suggesting since 1961: that there is much to be learned about central concepts and issues in Aristotle's metaphysics and theory of science from a careful, philosophically sensitive study of this 25% of the surviving corpus.
This very interesting collection, long awaited, represents the proceedings of a 1986 conference sponsored by the Institute for Research in Classical Philosophy and Science. The conference grew out of the Institute's concern that scholars of the histories of philosophy, the exact sciences, biology, and medicine have been insufficiently familiar with each other's work. "So," writes Alan C. Bowen, director of the Institute, in his Preface.
Since 1979 an international team of scholars have been laboring to fill an important gap in our understanding of the Aristotelian tradition in the early Hellenistic period, and thereby of the fortunes of philosophy, science, and culture in the late ancient world. Under the name "Project Theophrastus" and the leadership of William Fortenbaugh, their aim has been first to bring together every surviving report of the writings and ideas of Aristotle's younger colleague and heir to his school, and then systematically (...) to explore the lessons of these reports for our understanding of Theophrastus's thought, its relationship to Aristotle's and to that of Theophrastus's contemporaries and successors inside and outside the Aristotelian school, and its subsequent influence. After some thirteen years we have the first two of what will eventually be eleven volumes. These two comprise over eleven hundred pages of text and translation of every known report of or reference to Theophrastus's writings or teachings in which he is explicitly named, in Greek, Latin, or Arabic. They will be followed over the next seven years by an expected nine volumes of commentary, the first of which is to be published very early in 1995. As an indication of the range of topics covered in these two volumes one need only quote the titles of the two parts of the edition, each of which comprises one volume. (shrink)