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The Female in Aristotle's BiologyReason or Rationalization$
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Robert Mayhew

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780226512006

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226512020.001.0001

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Embryology

Embryology

Chapter:
(p.28) Three Embryology
Source:
The Female in Aristotle's Biology
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226512020.003.0003

This chapter presents Aristotle's idea of the female's contribution to generation that is so widely misunderstood. A careful reading of the Generation of Animals reveals that the container and the inert matter interpretations are both inaccurate accounts of Aristotle's embryology. Aristotle probably found the strongest support for his position in his observation of the facts of generation that were available to him, in combination with the principles of his natural philosophy. His position is distinct from that of Apollo, but it in fact represents a rejection of Apollo's account of generation. So, Aristotle is often saddled with a view of the female's contribution to generation that, it turns out, he did not in fact hold.

Keywords:   Aristotle, Generation of Animals, Aristotle's embryology, Apollo, natural philosophy

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