Aristotle - On The Generation Of Animals - 350 BC ON THE...

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Sheet1 Page 1 350 BC ON THE GENERATION OF ANIMALS by Aristotle translated by Arthur Platt Book I 1 WE have now discussed the other parts of animals, both generally and with reference to the peculiarities of each kind, explaining how each part exists on account of such a cause, and I mean by this the final cause. There are four causes underlying everything: first, the final cause, that for the sake of which a thing exists the definition of its essence (and these two we may regard pretty much as one and the same) moving principle or efficient cause. We have then already discussed the other three causes, for the definition and the final cause are the same, and the material of animals is their parts of the whole animal the non-homogeneous parts, of these again the homogeneous, and of these last the so-called elements of all matter. It remains to speak of those parts which contribute to the generation of animals and of which nothing definite has yet been said, and to explain what is the moving or efficient cause. To inquire into this last and to inquire into the generation of each animal is in a way the same thing therefore, my plan has united them together, arranging the discussion of these parts last, and the beginning of the question of generation next to them. Now some animals come into being from the union of male and female, i.e. all those kinds of animal which possess the two sexes. This is not the case with all of them few exceptions the creature, when its growth is complete, is either male or female, and though some bloodless animals have sexes so that they generate offspring of the same kind, yet other bloodless animals generate indeed, but not offspring of the same kind are all that come into being not from a union of the sexes, but from decaying earth and excrements. To speak generally, if we take all animals which change their locality, some by swimming, others by flying, others by walking, we find in these the two sexes, not only in the sanguinea but also in some of the bloodless animals applies in the case of the latter sometimes to the whole class, as the cephalopoda and crustacea, but in the class of insects only to the majority. Of these, all which are produced by union of animals of the same kind generate also after their kind, but all which are not
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Sheet1 Page 2 produced by animals, but from decaying matter, generate indeed, but produce another kind, and the offspring is neither male nor female such are some of the insects. This is what might have been expected, for if those animals which are not produced by parents had themselves united and produced others, then their offspring must have been either like or unlike to themselves. If like, then their parents ought to have come into being in the same way a reasonable postulate to make, for it is plainly the case with other animals. If unlike, and yet able to copulate, then there would have come into being again from them another kind of creature and again another from these, and this would have gone on to infinity. But
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This note was uploaded on 12/07/2010 for the course PHILOSOPHY 003456743 taught by Professor No prof during the Summer '10 term at Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology.

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Aristotle - On The Generation Of Animals - 350 BC ON THE...

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