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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 11, 2015

Dividing Nature by the Joints

  • Chad Wiener EMAIL logo
From the journal Apeiron


Most scholars of Aristotle’s biology have accepted the view of D. M. Balme and Pierre Pellegrin that the History of Animals is devoid of any systematic classification of animals. I challenge this reading. I show that Aristotle can produce a taxonomy of animals kinds that are found in the essences of atomic species, or, to borrow from Plato, divide nature by the joints. I start from Aristotle’s positive views of division stated in APo. II.13–14 and how they imply a taxonomic order of a genus. I then develop my interpretation of how Aristotle can divide nature by the joints in respect to his criticisms of division in APr. I.31 paired with the methodology developed in APr. I.27–30. I conclude by illustrating that Aristotle employs this methodology to divide the genus animal by its joints in the History of Animals and how he seeks out the taxonomic order of the genus animal in that work.

Published Online: 2015-7-11
Published in Print: 2015-7-1

© 2015 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston

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