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AnimalsA History$
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Peter Adamson and G. Fay Edwards

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199375967

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199375967.001.0001

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Aristotle on Animals

Aristotle on Animals

(p.9) Chapter One Aristotle on Animals

Devin Henry

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides an overview of Aristotle’s understanding of animal nature, drawing on his zoological treatises as well as his writings on the soul and psychological faculties. Particular focus is given to his appreciation of the complex cognitive powers of animals and of their capacity for voluntary action. Aristotle’s views on animal behavior (ethology) are also discussed. While the chapter does not question Aristotle’s notorious denial of rationality to humans, it does show that he was alive to the signs of intelligence in animals. Animal mental capacities are, indeed, analogous to those of humans.

Keywords:   Aristotle, Theophrastus, ancient philosophy, psychology, animals, ethology

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