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2 Discursivity in Aristotle’s Biological Writings

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Chapter Summary

Contrary to a widespread dictum that Aristotle had a dogmatic-systematic style, everyone who becomes involved in reading Aristotle's scientific works notices that, quite the reverse, they are characterised by a certain spontaneity and, again and again, a promised systematics is not rigidly held to. Among his biological works are to be reckoned; Historia animalium, a collection of zoological facts, the writing De partibus animalium, the first book of which is a programme of zoology and which can be described as being a portrayal of the comparative morphology of animals, then De generatione animalium, which presents Aristotle's views on procreation, genetics and ontogenesis. As the works De partibus animalium and De generatione animalium often refer to Historia animalium, it can be said that Historia animalium represents the reservoir of facts from which the other two works can draw.

Keywords: Aristotle's scientific works; De generatione animalium; De partibus animalium; dogmatic-systematic style; genetics; Historia animalium; ontogenesis

10.1163/9789004282582_004
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