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Definition in Greek Philosophy$
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David Charles

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199564453

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199564453.001.0001

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Bios and Explanatory Unity in Aristotle's Biology

Bios and Explanatory Unity in Aristotle's Biology

(p.329) 9 Bios and Explanatory Unity in Aristotle's Biology
Definition in Greek Philosophy

James G. Lennox

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses an issue raised in David Charles' Meaning and Essence in Aristotle, Chapter 12: can the intimate relationship between definition and explanation that Aristotle defends in the Posterior Analytics be maintained in a scientific study of animals in the face of their complex natures? It is argued that the concept of bios (way of life) plays a critical role in this respect, accounting for why different animals have the particular constellation of parts and activities they have. By looking at the central role this concept plays both in the organization of biological information in the History of Animals and in the explanation of animal differentiation in the Parts of Animals, the chapter argues that an animal's way of life is that defining feature which explains the coordinated differentiation of its parts and activities into a functional unity.

Keywords:   way of life, bios, activity, praxis, character trait, êthos, function, explanatory unity, definition, demonstration

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