Aristotle’s Biology

7 Feb, 2019 570 Biology

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the remarkable achievement of Aristotle (384-322BC) in the realm of biological investigation, for which he has been called the originator of the scientific study of life. Known mainly as a philosopher and the tutor for Alexander the Great, who reportedly sent him animal specimens from his conquests, Aristotle examined a wide range of life forms while by the Sea of Marmara and then on the island of Lesbos. Some ideas, such as the the spontaneous generation of flies, did not survive later scrutiny, yet his influence was extraordinary and his work was unequalled until the early modern period.

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  • Armand Leroi No other episodes
    Professor of Evolutionary Development Biology at Imperial College London
  • Myrto Hatzimichali No other episodes
    Lecturer in Classics at the University of Cambridge
  • Sophia Connell 2 episodes
    Lecturer in Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London

Reading list

  • Animals: A History
    Peter Adamson and G. Fay Edwards (Oxford University Press, 2018) Google Books →
  • The History of Animals Books VII-X
    Aristotle (Harvard University Press, 1991) Google Books →
  • On the Parts of Animals
    Aristotle (trans. James Lennox) (Clarendon, 2001) Google Books →
  • Generation of Animals
    Aristotle (trans. A. Peck) (Harvard University Press, 1942) Google Books →
  • Aristotle on Female Animals: A Study of the Generation of Animals
    S. Connell (Cambridge University Press, 2016) Google Books →
  • Philosophical Issues in Aristotle's Biology
    A. Gotthelf and J. G. Lennox (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 1987) Google Books →
  • A Portrait of Aristotle
    Marjorie Grene (University of Chicago Press, 1963) Google Books →
  • Aristotle on Life and Death
    R. King (Duckworth, 2001) Google Books →
  • Being, Nature, and Life in Aristotle
    J. Lennox and R. Bolton (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2010) Google Books →
  • Aristotle's Philosophy of Biology: Studies in the Origins of Life Sciences
    J. Lennox (Cambridge University Press, 2001) Google Books →
  • The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science
    Armand Marie Leroi (Bloomsbury, 2014) Google Books →
  • Aristotelian Explorations
    G.E.R. Lloyd (Cambridge University Press, 1996) Google Books →
  • Aristotle: His Life and School
    Carlo Natali (Princeton University Press, 2013) Google Books →
  • Aristotle as Biologist
    D'Arcy Thompson (Oxford University Press, 1913) Google Books →

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. Aristotle, 384 to 322 BC, was not only a philosopher but also a great biologist, studying life to help explain the goal of life.