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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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Anatomy

Anatomy

Chapter:
(p.69) Five Anatomy
Source:
The Female in Aristotle's Biology
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226512020.003.0005

Aristotle came to the conclusions he did in the absence (or in defiance) of the observation that females have smaller brains, different skulls, paler skin, softer bones, and fewer teeth than males. He observed differences between the bones possessed by different kinds of animal, but nowhere does he indicate that these observations themselves led him to conclude that males have harder bones than females. Aristotle would have been aware of why wisdom teeth were present in a thirty-seven-year-old man but absent in an eighteen-year-old woman, so it is unlikely he would have used a comparison of men and women of these ages to support his view that males have more teeth than females. His expectation that females would be physically inferior to males in areas not yet researched possibly caused him to investigate these matters insufficiently.

Keywords:   Aristotle, females, wisdom teeth, physically inferior, males

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