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Explanation and Teleology in Aristotle's Science of Nature - Mariska Leunissen

Explanation and Teleology in Aristotle's Science of Nature

Hardcover Published: 31st August 2010
ISBN: 9780521197748
Number Of Pages: 266

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In Aristotle's teleological view of the world, natural things come to be and are present for the sake of some function or end (for example, wings are present in birds for the sake of flying). Whereas much of recent scholarship has focused on uncovering the (meta-)physical underpinnings of Aristotle's teleology and its contrasts with his notions of chance and necessity, this book examines Aristotle's use of the theory of natural teleology in producing explanations of natural phenomena. Close analyses of Aristotle's natural treatises and his Posterior Analytics show what methods are used for the discovery of functions or ends that figure in teleological explanations, how these explanations are structured, and how well they work in making sense of phenomena. The book will be valuable for all who are interested in Aristotle's natural science, his philosophy of science, and his biology.

"....the account of the syllogistic structure of teleological explanations presented in the sixth chapter is one to be reckoned with. The preceding chapters can be recommended unconditionally. They offer a clear and wonderfully helpful schematic presentation of the explanatory and methodological structure of the various teleological explanations offered in the physical treatises; future readers of these treatises would be well advised to make ample use of them." --Owen Goldin, Marquette University, Bryn Mawr Classical Review
"....a rich account of how Aristotle thinks teleological causation operates in nature and how final causes are to be integrated into a more comprehensive picture of explanation in natural science. Explanation and Teleology in Aristotle's Science of Nature is an important contribution to scholarship on Aristotle's teleology.... her book has added significantly to the debate and must be engaged with by anyone wishing to tackle the subject from this point forward.... this book will be of interest to a much broader audience. While the reader is assumed to have some familiarity with Aristotle's philosophy of nature, Leunissen's discussion is quite accessible. Most technical concepts are explained and illustrated with examples, and she offers an abundance of textual evidence in support of her claims.... there is certainly no shortage of philosophically engaging ideas in her book." --Devin Henry, University of Western Ontario, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
"... this book provides an important contribution to the studies of Aristotle's science of nature and present a set of ideas in a very clear manner. This will be the point book for all research on the teleology in Aristotle's science of nature." --Andrea Falcon, University of Concordia, Montreal, Phoenix

List of figure and tablesp. ix
Acknowledgementsp. x
List of abbreviationsp. xii
Introductionp. 1
Aristotle's defense of natural teleology: setting the stage for teleological explanations in thep. 10
Introductionp. 10
Preliminary remarks on final causes in art and naturep. 11
Aristotle's first argument in defense of natural teleologyp. 22
The nature and scope of natural teleologyp. 32
Conclusionp. 47
Aristotle's bio-functional account of the soul: establishing the starting points of teleological explanation in thep. 49
Introductionp. 49
Teleology in the analysis of the nature of the soulp. 50
Teleology in the analysis of the capacities of the soulp. 57
Conclusionp. 74
Introducing biology as a demonstrative science: the theory of teleological explanation in thep. 76
Introductionp. 76
Biology as a demonstrative sciencep. 77
Primary and secondary teleologyp. 81
"Necessity is spoken of in many ways"p. 99
Conclusionp. 110
Explaining parts of animals: the practice of teleological explanation in thep. 112
Introductionp. 112
The organization and heuristic methods of De Partibus Animalium books II-IVp. 113
Aristotle's use of teleological principles as heuristic toolsp. 119
Explanations in biology: references to form, matter, and functionp. 135
Conclusionp. 150
Making sense of the heavens: the limits of teleological explanation in thep. 152
Introductionp. 152
Cosmology as science of naturep. 155
Explaining why there is a plurality of motions of the heavens (example 1)p. 160
Explaining why the heavenly bodies move with different complexities (example 2)p. 165
Explaining why stars have no feet (example 3)p. 168
Conclusionp. 174
Aristotle's model of science: formalizing teleological explanations in thep. 176
Introductionp. 176
Causes, explanations, and middle termsp. 177
Towards a new reading of APo II.IIp. 182
The formalization of the example of teleological explanationp. 189
The structure of actual teleological explanations: evidence from De Partibus Animaliump. 198
Conclusionp. 205
Appendix: Translation of Aristotle's APo II.II, 94a20-94b26p. 206
Conclusionp. 208
The priority of teleological explanationsp. 209
The (syllogistic) structure of teleological explanationsp. 211
The integration of final causes and necessity in teleological explanationsp. 215
The explanatory power of teleological explanationsp. 218
Bibliographyp. 221
General indexp. 237
Index locorump. 241
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521197748
ISBN-10: 0521197740
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 266
Published: 31st August 2010
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.6 x 15.9  x 2.2
Weight (kg): 0.59
Edition Number: 1