Aristotle and the Animals : The Logos of Life Itself book cover
1st Edition

Aristotle and the Animals
The Logos of Life Itself

ISBN 9780367409494
Published March 31, 2022 by Routledge
248 Pages

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Book Description

With a novel approach to Aristotle’s zoology, this study looks at animals as creatures of nature (physis) and reveals a scientific discourse that, in response to his predecessors, exiles logos as reason and pursues the logos intrinsic to animals’ bodies, empowering them to sense the world and live.

The volume explores Aristotle’s conception of animals through a discussion of his ad hoc methodology to study them, including the pertinence of the soul to such a study, and the rise of zoology as a branch of natural philosophy. For Aristotle, animal life stems from the body in the space of existence and revolves around sensation, which is entwined with pleasure, pain, and desire. Lack of human reason is irrelevant to an understanding of the richness of animal life and cognition. In sum, the reader will acquire knowledge of the "animal as such," which lay at the core of Aristotle’s agenda and required a study of its own, separate from plants and the elements.

This book is intended for students of the history of science, ancient biology, and philosophy and all those who, from different fields, are interested in animal studies and the human-animal relation.

Table of Contents


CHAPTER 1. Aristotle, Animal Boundaries, and the Logos of Nature

1.1. Away from the Stars: Animals’ Common Nature

1.2. The Centrality of Sensation, Reason, and the Articulation of the Common

1.3. A New Beginning

1.4. Animals, Tykhē, and the Logos of Nature

1.4.1. Animals’ Logos from Speech to Body and Life

1.4.2. On the Birth of Zoology and Animals’ Equality (and not)

CHAPTER 2. From Reason to Life: Aristotle on Soul Division

2.1. Understanding Ensouled Bodies: Soul Partition and Homogeneity

2.2. Problematic Divisions and Attributions: The Bipartition and Tripartition of

the Soul

2.2.1. Under the Rule of Logos: From Plato’s Republic to Aristotle’s Ethics

2.3. A New Model: The Geometry of the Soul

CHAPTER 3. Animals and Nature: At the Core of Aristotle’s Zoocentrism

3.1. Animality and the Living Body

3.2. Nature, Bodies, Movement, and Life

3.2.1. From the Coincidence of Causes to the Definition of Growth

3.2.2. Animal Growth, Nutrition, and the Soul

3.2.3. Growth, Movement, and the Origin of Animal Life

3.3. Nutrition, Reproduction, and the Desire of Immortality

CHAPTER 4. The Sentient Animal

4.1. Setting the Problem

4.2. From the Dialectics of Sensation to a New Form of Alteration

4.3. Sensation and Logos

4.3.1. On the Inability to Sense

4.4. Relating to the World: Sensorial Architectures and Animal Awareness

CHAPTER 5. Animal Pleasure: From Sensation to Imagination and Beyond

5.1. The Questions about Pleasure

5.2 Pleasure and Pain within and beyond Morality

5.2.1. Life and Pleasure

5.3. Animals’ Desire, Phantasia, Locomotion, and Communication

5.3.1. Dreams, Memory, and the Physiology of Phantasia

5.3.2. Body, Sensation, and Knowledge: in Response to the Presocratics

CHAPTER 6. The Lives of Animals

6.1. The History of Animals in Aristotle’s Zoology

6.1.1. The Articulation of Differences and Sameness

6.2. Body Constitution, Habitats, and Life

6.2.1. Diet, Pleasure, and the Fight for Survival

6.3. Animals’ Characters and Learning

6.3.1. Between Psychology and Ethological Physiology

6.4. The Non-Human Paradox: Being Political in Aristotle’s Zoology

6.4.1. The Plasticity of the Political Animals




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Claudia Zatta (PhD, Johns Hopkins University, USA) is the author of Interconnectedness: The Living World of the Early Greek Philosophers (2019, second edition) and numerous articles on different aspects of the classics. She currently teaches at the American College of Greece in Athens.