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Aristotle's ManSpeculations upon Aristotelian Anthropology$
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Stephen R.L. Clark

Print publication date: 1975

Print ISBN-13: 9780198245162

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198245162.001.0001

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The Biological Continuum

The Biological Continuum

(p.28) II.2. The Biological Continuum
Aristotle's Man

Stephen R.L. Clark

Oxford University Press

Man is the most natural of living things. This claim, and certain other oddities in the biological works can be explained on the assumption that Aristotle was a believer in devolutionary transformism, either in the full sense – that Man is the First Ancestor of all life – or in the modified sense, that the universe is itself, in a way, human. In either case, man, particularly the perfect man, is the telos of the world. Man is the most characteristic, most polar, and most living form of life. The theory of evolutionary transformism, in particular unifocal evolutionary transformism, is frequently presented in this age as a fact quite as certain as that the world is round. This chapter points out that the view attributed to Aristotle is no more mythical in purpose nor much more lacking in unequivocal, concrete evidence than modern theory. Both evolutionary and devolutionary transformism are in large part myths, and the Aristotelian story is almost as likely, even on modern terms, as the other.

Keywords:   Aristotle, man, devolutionary transformism, evolutionary transformism, modern theory, Aristotelian story

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