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

Scott O’Connor 1
  • 1 New Jersey City University, 2039 Kennedy Boulevard, Karnoutsos Hall, Jersey City, New Jersey 07305, United States


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.

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Apeiron is dedicated to the study of ancient philosophy, ancient science, and problems that concern both fields. The journal publishes high-quality research papers in these areas of ancient Greco-Roman intellectual history; it also contains papers dealing with the reception of ancient philosophical and scientific ideas in the later western tradition. The articles meet the highest standards of scholarship and philosophical insight.