Aristotle: A Discourse on Methods


Location: 220 Malloy

James Lennox
Why do we Breathe? Aristotle on the Hunt for Final Causes History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh

As Aristotle details in the first seven chapters of On Respiration, a number of his predecessors had presented theories about breathing—and all of them, in Aristotle’s view, had gone seriously astray.  In this talk I will not, except incidentally, focus on what he thinks they got wrong.  Rather, I will focus on what Aristotle has to say about why they went wrong, and what they ought to have done to keep their inquiries on track.  We will use this topic as a vehicle for exploring the norms Aristotle defends for inquiry into organic processes, and more generally his views about norms of scientific inquiry.  In the process I challenge a number of misconceptions about Aristotle’s philosophy of science and his scientific practice.

Co-sponsored by HPS and the Notre Dame Workshop on Ancient Philosophy