Critical Philosophical Approaches to Aristotle's Parts of Animals

August 20, 2019 - August 23, 2019
Department of Philosophy, Birkbeck College, University of London

Room 1.11
Classics Faculty
Cambridge CB3 9DA
United Kingdom


  • Wellcome Trust
  • Mind Association
  • British Society for the History of Philosophy
  • Cambridge Classics Faculty

Selected speakers:

Cambridge University
Birkbeck, University of London
University of California, Berkeley
University of South Carolina
Brown University
McGill University
University of Western Ontario
University of California, San Diego
Brown University
Oxford University
University of Patras


Birkbeck, University of London

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Aristotle’s great explanatory biological treatise, Peri Zoion Morion (On the Parts of Animals), is fundamental to our understanding of his metaphysics, philosophy of science, and theoretical psychology. No other work in the Corpus contains and ties together so many diverse aspects of his thought.  As well as giving us a clear sense of what Aristotle took to be fundamental procedures in biological explanation, the work provides a detailed account of the composition of parts from the most basic ingredients to the most complex mixtures and structures, so as to reveal the intricacies of Aristotelian matter. The treatise also features important discussions concerning the soul and the senses, including the role of the bodily parts in the actualisation of these capacities, particularly the heart and blood. In addition to this, we find a series of normative assessments about the ordering of zoological forms, which overlap significantly with Aristotle’s political and ethical thought.

As scholarship on Aristotle’s biology continues apace, it is crucial for experts both to come together to consolidate recent progress on the study of the Parts of Animals and to further develop these insights toward new lines of inquiry. In this conference a team of international scholars, both well establishing and up and coming, will lend a fresh perspective to this extraordinary treatise.

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