•  911
    Aristotle on the Mechanisms of Inheritance
    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 initi…Read more
  •  885
    Aristotle’s Pluralistic Realism
    The Monist 94 (2): 197-220. 2011.
    In this paper I explore Aristotle’s views on natural kinds and the compatibility of pluralism and realism, a topic that has generated considerable interest among contemporary philosophers. I argue that, when it came to zoology, Aristotle denied that there is only one way of organizing the diversity of the living world into natural kinds that will yield a single, unified system of classification. Instead, living things can be grouped and regrouped into various cross-cutting kinds on the basis of …Read more
  •  513
    Aristotle’s Generation of Animals
    In Georgios Anagnostopoulos (ed.), A Companion to Aristotle, Blackwell-wiley. 2009.
    A general article discussing philosophical issues arising in connection with Aristotle's "Generation of Animals" (Chapter from Blackwell's Companion to Aristotle).
  •  421
    How sexist is Aristotle's developmantal biology?
    Phronesis 52 (3): 251-69. 2007.
    The aim of this paper is to evaluate the level of gender bias in Aristotle’s Generation of Animals while exercising due care in the analysis of its arguments. I argue that while the GA theory is clearly sexist, the traditional interpretation fails to diagnose the problem correctly. The traditional interpretation focuses on three main sources of evidence: (1) Aristotle’s claim that the female is, as it were, a “disabled” (πεπηρωμένον) male; (2) the claim at GA IV.3, 767b6-8 that females are a dep…Read more
  •  375
    In this paper I examine the role of optimality reasoning in Aristotle’s natural science. By “optimality reasoning” I mean reasoning that appeals to some conception of “what is best” in order to explain why things are the way they are. We are first introduced to this pattern of reasoning in the famous passage at Phaedo 97b8-98a2, where (Plato’s) Socrates invokes “what is best” as a cause (aitia) of things in nature. This passage can be seen as the intellectual ancestor of Aristotle’s own principl…Read more
  •  168
    Aristotle on pleasure and the worst form of akrasia
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 5 (3): 255-270. 2002.
    The focus of this paper is Aristotle's solution to the problem inherited from Socrates: How could a man fail to restrain himself when he believes that what he desires is wrong? In NE 7 Aristotle attempts to reconcile the Socratic denial of akrasia with the commonly held opinion that people act in ways they know to be bad, even when it is in their power to act otherwise. This project turns out to be largely successful, for what Aristotle shows us is that if we distinguish between two ways of havi…Read more
  •  140
    It has become somewhat of a platitude to call Aristotle the first epigenesist insofar as he thought form and structure emerged gradually from an unorganized, amorphous embryo. But modern biology now recognizes two senses of “epigenesis”. The first is this more familiar idea about the gradual emergence of form and structure, which is traditionally opposed to the idea of preformationism. But modern biologists also use “epigenesis” to emphasize the context-dependency of the process itself. Used in …Read more
  •  104
    The intellectual history of evolutionary theory really does not begin in earnest until the late seventeenth/early eighteenth century. Prior to that, the idea that species might have evolved over time was not a serious possibility for most naturalists and philosophers. There is certainly no substantive debate in antiquity about evolution in the modern sense. There were really only two competing explanations for how living things came to have the parts they do: design or blind chance. Ancient Gree…Read more
  •  62
    A Sharp Eye for Kinds: Collection and Division in Plato's Late Dialogues
    In Michael Frede, James V. Allen, Eyjólfur Kjalar Emilsson, Wolfgang-Rainer Mann & Benjamin Morison (eds.), Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, Oxford University Press. pp. 229-55. 2011.
    This paper focuses on two methodological questions that arise from Plato’s account of collection and division. First, what place does the method of collection and division occupy in Plato’s account of philosophical inquiry? Second, do collection and division in fact constitute a formal “method” (as most scholars assume) or are they simply informal techniques that the philosopher has in her toolkit for accomplishing different philosophical tasks? I argue that Plato sees collection and division as…Read more
  •  52
    Aristotle on definition (review)
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (3). 2008.
    Aristotle on Definition is an exceptional piece of scholarship. Its arguments are carefully justified, sophisticated, and far-reaching. Those interested in Aristotle's theory of definition will find this book a nice compliment to David Charles' Meaning and Essence. Whereas Charles examines Aristotle's theory of syllogistic definitions, Deslauriers focuses mainly on the concept of immediate definitions .It is impossible to do justice to the entire book. In what follows I shall attempt to isolate …Read more
  •  3
    Berkeley's Passice Mind
    Minerva - An Internet Journal of Philosophy 4 (1). 2000.
  • Optimality Reasoning in Aristotle's Natural Teleology
    Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 45 225-263. 2013.
  • This book examines an important area of Aristotle's philosophy: the generation of substances. While other changes presuppose the existence of a substance, substantial generation results in something genuinely new that did not exist before. The central argument of this book is that Aristotle defends a 'hylomorphic' model of substantial generation. In its most complete formulation, this model says that substantial generation involves three principles: matter, which is the subject from which the ch…Read more