•  116
    This is a draft of a chapter for the Cambridge Companion to Aristotle's Biology (S. Connell, ed.) on teleology in Aristotle's biology.
  •  64
    This chapter is an examination of the way aporiai are employed in Aristotle’s scientific account of animal reproduction, and how they are resolved. I argue that – surprising as it may be, given what Aristotle says in Metaphysics B about the importance of going through aporiai – there seems to be nothing of much significance about his use of them, at least if we assume that genuine cases of aporiai are being tracked by use of aporia-language. I demonstrate this negative thesis by systematically g…Read more
  •  60
    This paper explores the various ways Aristotle refers to and employs “heat and cold” in his embryology. In my view, scholars are too quick to assume that references to heat and cold are references to matter or an animal’s material nature. More commonly, I argue, Aristotle refers to heat and cold as the “tools” of soul. As I understand it, Aristotle is thinking of heat and cold in many contexts as auxiliary causes by which soul activities (primarily “concoction”) are carried out. This, as I argue…Read more
  •  179
    Recently scholars have been claiming that Aristotle’s biological explanations treat “facts about matter”—facts such as the degree of heat or amount of fluidity in an organism’s material constitution—as explanatorily basic or “primitive.” That is, these facts about matter are taken to be unexplained, brute facts about organisms, rather than ones that are explained by the organism’s form or essence, as we would have expected from Aristotle’s general commitment to the causal and explanatory priorit…Read more
  •  279
    Females in Aristotle’s Embryology
    In Andrea Falcon and David Lefebvre (ed.), Aristotle’s Generation of Animals: A Critical Guide, . pp. 171-187. 2017.
    How does Aristotle view the production of females? The prevailing view is that Aristotle thinks female births are teleological failures of a process aiming to produce males. However, as I argue, that is not a view Aristotle ever expresses, and it blatantly contradicts what he does explicitly say about female births: Aristotle believes that females are and come to be for the sake of something, namely, reproduction. I argue that an alternative to that prevailing view, according to which the embryo…Read more
  •  128
    Two Ways of Being for an End
    Phronesis 63 (1): 64-86. 2018.
    _ Source: _Volume 63, Issue 1, pp 64 - 86 Five times in the extant corpus, Aristotle refers to a distinction between two ways of being a ‘that for the sake of which’ that he sometimes marks by using genitive and dative pronouns. Commentators almost universally say that this is the distinction between an aim and beneficiary. I propose that Aristotle had a quite different distinction in mind, namely: that which holds between something and the aim or objective it is in the business of producing or …Read more
  •  199
    Aristotle on Essence and Habitat
    Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 48 267-293. 2015.
    Despite his awareness that organisms are well suited to the habitats they are typically found in, Aristotle nowhere tries to explain this. It is unlikely that he thinks this “fit” (as I call it) between organisms and their habitats is simply a lucky coincidence, given how vehemently he rejects that as an explanation of the fit between organisms’ various body parts. But it is quite puzzling that Aristotle never explicitly addresses this, since it is a question that seemed so pressing to later phi…Read more
  •  73
    Form and inheritance in Aristotle's embryology
    Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 39 183-212. 2010.
    This article argues for an interpretation of Aristotle’s biological account of familial resemblance that allows us to read Aristotle’s embryology as employing the same concept of “form” as he employs in his Metaphysics. The dominant view for the last several decades has been that in order to account for the phenomenon of inherited characteristics, Aristotle’s biology must appeal to a “sub-specific” form, one that includes all of the traits that parents pass on to their offspring. That view, howe…Read more