Why does the gecko crawl into the ass’s nostrils? Aristotle on explanations of relational facts
Jessica Gelber (University of Toronto, St. George Campus)

February 27, 2023, 1:15pm - 2:15pm
Classics and Archeology, The University of Melbourne

Old Arts 124 (Theatre C)
Melbourne 3010

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Zoom link: https://unimelb.zoom.us/j/81822130303?pwd=MzhJaVlkOWVhaEdKSThkUXBPSjNjdz09     Password: 833207  

Abstract: After explaining why interactions between kinds (what I am calling “relational facts”) is challenging (if not impossible) by the lights of Aristotelian science, I present evidence (drawing on Historia Animalium and Politics I.8) that Aristotle is aware that there are many such facts. Various ways that living organisms are related to other kinds of living organisms – being predators of one kind or prey for another, for example — appear to be treated as regularly occurring features of their lives, just as the shapes and sizes of their body parts or their manners of reproduction are. I argue that we ought to take these reports about relational facts seriously, rather than try to contextualize or dismiss them, and suggest that Aristotle had a much richer conception of the natures or essences of living beings than is traditionally thought. If this is right, Aristotle does have the resources to explain the relations between living kinds using the principles that his science countenances. 

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