Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 19, 2015

The Subjects of Natural Generations in Aristotle’s Physics I.7

Scott O’Connor
From the journal Apeiron


In Physics I.7, Aristotle claims that plants and animals are generated from sperma. Since most understood sperma to be an ovum, this claim threatens to undermine the standard view that, for Aristotle, the matter natural beings are generated from persists through their generation. By focusing on Aristotle’s discussion of sperma in the first book of the Generation of Animals, I show that, for Aristotle, sperma in the female is surplus blood collected in the uterus and not an ovum. I subsequently argue that, for Aristotle, this blood does persist through the production of the fetus.

Keywords: Aristotle; change; matter
Published Online: 2015-1-19
Published in Print: 2015-1-1

© 2015 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston