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A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science

Ed. by Wildberg, Christian / Morison, Benjamin

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Volume 47, Issue 1


Aristotle’s Physiology of Animal Motion: On Neura and Muscles

Pavel Gregoric
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  • University of Zagreb – Centre for Croatian Studies, Department of Philosophy, Zagreb, Croatia
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/ Martin Kuhar
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  • Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts – Department of the History of Medicine, Zagreb, Croatia
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Published Online: 2014-01-15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/apeiron-2013-0029


Aristotle had a developed theory of animal motion with an elaborate physiological component. In this paper we present the physiological component in which the main role is assigned to structures called neura that operate on the bones to which they are attached. We demonstrate that neura exclude muscles and we propose an explanation for Aristotle’s curious failure to observe the actual role of muscles in producing limb motion. Also, we try to identify the main neura specified by Aristotle, we show that he conceived of their operation on the bones in producing limb motion in much the same way as we conceive of the operation of muscles, and we point out the main difficulties for his account.

Keywords: locomotion; physiology; mechanics; joints; tendons

About the article

Published Online: 2014-01-15

Published in Print: 2014-01-01

Citation Information: Apeiron, Volume 47, Issue 1, Pages 94–115, ISSN (Online) 2156-7093, ISSN (Print) 0003-6390, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/apeiron-2013-0029.

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