PHIL 411.001 – Aristotle

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Instructor: Mariska Leunissen. This course meets T 4:00 – 6:30 p.m. in CW 208.

This course offers an examination of Aristotle’s philosophy of living nature and scientific methodology. We will read a wide array of works of Aristotle, as well as relevant secondary sources. Topics that will be discussed are (among others) Aristotle’s notions of nature, movement, teleology, and necessity; the notions of essence, substantial being, and definition; Aristotle’s account of the soul and of soul-functions; his biology (including embryology); his bio-cosmology; and, in general, his theory of scientific demonstration, explanation, methods of inquiry, methods for evaluating evidence, and use of thought-experiments. The primary readings will include (selections from) the Posterior Analytics, thePhysics, the MetaphysicsOn the Soul, the biological works, and On the Heavens. Special attention will be paid to interactions of Aristotle with his predecessors in his discussions of philosophical problems and to the methodological problems involved in the study of Aristotle’s treatises, many of which are notoriously difficult and obscure.