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Bemer, Keith (2014) A PHILOSOPHICAL EXAMINATION OF ARISTOTLE'S HISTORIA ANIMALIUM. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In this dissertation I address two related questions pertaining to Aristotle’s philosophy of science and his biology and zoology. They are: (1) what are the goals of Aristotle’s Historia Animalium (HA) and how does the treatise achieve these goals? And, more generally, (2) what is the role of a historia in Aristotle’s philosophy of science? Together these questions touch upon a long recognized problem in the interpretation of Aristotle’s philosophical and scientific works related to the relationship between Aristotle’s philosophy of science and his actual scientific practice. I pursue this broad question by focusing my attention on Aristotle’s historia of animals and the related discussions of scientific investigation and demonstration, primarily in the Analytics. I argue that the term historia was used by Aristotle with a range of meanings that center around the notions of investigation and inquiry (or the reports thereof), and, in some instances, emphasize the early stages of inquiry, dedicated to establishing and organizing facts prior to causal explanation. I proceed by considering the theoretical background of a historia provided by the Analytics and Parts of Animals, before turning to a detailed analysis of select passages from the HA itself. I argue that the Analytics provides the framework for a method of correlating facts regarding a field of study that acts as a guide to further causal research, but that establishing the actual causal relations that hold within a field depends upon additional considerations that are largely domain-specific. I turn to the HA in order to illustrate this method of correlation, noting examples where the correlation of features appears to prefigure causal explanations. I conclude by considering the relationship between Aristotle’s notions of historia and experience (empeiria), and argue that a historia provides the sort of comprehensive, factual knowledge of a domain of study that Aristotle often notes is necessary for coming to recognize causal relations, and thus coming to have scientific knowledge (epistêmê).


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Bemer, Keithkeb57@pitt.eduKEB57
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLennox, Jamesjglennox@pitt.eduJGLENNOX
Committee MemberAllen, Jamesjvallen@pitt.eduJVALLEN
Committee MemberBogen,
Committee MemberMachamer, Peterpkmach@pitt.eduPKMACH
Committee MemberCode,
Date: 16 September 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 July 2014
Approval Date: 16 September 2014
Submission Date: 12 August 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 352
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History and Philosophy of Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Aristotle, ancient science, ancient biology, ancient philosophy,
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2014 20:23
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:23


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