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  1. added 2015-03-28
    Optimality and Teleology in Aristotle's Natural Science.Devin Henry - manuscript
    In this paper I examine the role of optimality reasoning in Aristotle’s natural science. By “optimality reasoning” I mean reasoning that appeals to some conception of “what is best” in order to explain why things are the way they are. We are first introduced to this pattern of reasoning in the famous passage at Phaedo 97b8-98a2, where (Plato’s) Socrates invokes “what is best” as a cause (aitia) of things in nature. This passage can be seen as the intellectual ancestor of (...)
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  2. added 2014-06-04
    The Failure of Evolution in Antiquity.Devin Henry - forthcoming - In Georgia Irby (ed.), Blackwell Companion to Ancient Science, Medicine and Technology. Wiley-Blackwell.
    The intellectual history of evolutionary theory really does not begin in earnest until the late seventeenth/early eighteenth century. Prior to that, the idea that species might have evolved over time was not a serious possibility for most naturalists and philosophers. There is certainly no substantive debate in antiquity about evolution in the modern sense. There were really only two competing explanations for how living things came to have the parts they do: design or blind chance. Ancient Greek Atomism, for example, (...)
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