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Devin Henry
University of Western Ontario
  1. Aristotle’s Pluralistic Realism.Devin Henry - 2011 - The Monist 94 (2):197-220.
    In this paper I explore Aristotle’s views on natural kinds and the compatibility of pluralism and realism, a topic that has generated considerable interest among contemporary philosophers. I argue that, when it came to zoology, Aristotle denied that there is only one way of organizing the diversity of the living world into natural kinds that will yield a single, unified system of classification. Instead, living things can be grouped and regrouped into various cross-cutting kinds on the basis of objective similarities (...)
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  2. Aristotle on the Mechanisms of Inheritance.Devin Henry - 2006 - Journal of the History of Biology 39 (3):425-455.
    In this paper I address an important question in Aristotle’s biology, What are the causal mechanisms behind the transmission of biological form? Aristotle’s answer to this question, I argue, is found in Generation of Animals Book 4 in connection with his investigation into the phenomenon of inheritance. There we are told that an organism’s reproductive material contains a set of "movements" which are derived from the various "potentials" of its nature (the internal principle of change that initiates and controls development). (...)
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  3. Embryological Models in Ancient Philosophy.Devin Henry - 2005 - Phronesis 50 (1):1 - 42.
    Historically embryogenesis has been among the most philosophically intriguing phenomena. In this paper I focus on one aspect of biological development that was particularly perplexing to the ancients: self-organisation. For many ancients, the fact that an organism determines the important features of its own development required a special model for understanding how this was possible. This was especially true for Aristotle, Alexander, and Simplicius, who all looked to contemporary technology to supply that model. However, they did not all agree on (...)
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  4. How Sexist is Aristotle's Developmantal Biology?Devin Henry - 2007 - Phronesis 52 (3):251-69.
    The aim of this paper is to evaluate the level of gender bias in Aristotle’s Generation of Animals while exercising due care in the analysis of its arguments. I argue that while the GA theory is clearly sexist, the traditional interpretation fails to diagnose the problem correctly. The traditional interpretation focuses on three main sources of evidence: (1) Aristotle’s claim that the female is, as it were, a “disabled” (πεπηρωμένον) male; (2) the claim at GA IV.3, 767b6-8 that females are (...)
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  5. 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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  6. Aristotle on Epigenesis.Devin Henry - manuscript
    It has become somewhat of a platitude to call Aristotle the first epigenesist insofar as he thought form and structure emerged gradually from an unorganized, amorphous embryo. But modern biology now recognizes two senses of “epigenesis”. The first is this more familiar idea about the gradual emergence of form and structure, which is traditionally opposed to the idea of preformationism. But modern biologists also use “epigenesis” to emphasize the context-dependency of the process itself. Used in this sense development is not (...)
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  7. Aristotle’s Generation of Animals.Devin Henry - 2009 - In Georgios Anagnostopoulos (ed.), A Companion to Aristotle. Blackwell-Wiley.
    A general article discussing philosophical issues arising in connection with Aristotle's "Generation of Animals" (Chapter from Blackwell's Companion to Aristotle).
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  8. Bridging the Gap Between Aristotle's Science and Ethics.Devin Henry & Karen Margrethe Nielsen (eds.) - 2015 - Cambridge University Press.
    This book consolidates emerging research on Aristotle's science and ethics in order to explore the extent to which the concepts, methods, and practices he developed for scientific inquiry and explanation are used to investigate moral phenomena. Each chapter shows, in a different way, that Aristotle's ethics is much more like a science than it is typically represented. The upshot of this is twofold. First, uncovering the links between Aristotle's science and ethics promises to open up new and innovative directions for (...)
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  9. Organismal Natures.Devin Henry - 2008 - Apeiron (3):47-74.
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  10. 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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