I have of late found myself turning to Aristotle’s biological works to think more carefully about Aristotle’s conception of nature, because I think it is there that the strongest challenge to my reading of physis as the internal principle by which things move from within themselves to fulfill themselves is found.
In the biology, the male semen seems to impose its form on the female menses, suggesting that at the microcosmic level of natural generation, form is imposed on material, external principles master what needs forming. But as I investigate Aristotle’s biology, I have come to learn that material in Aristotle might not be what we’ve thought it was.
On Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 11 AM at the Ancient Philosophy Society meeting at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, I am presenting a paper (part of my current book project) that focuses on the strange and evasive role of vital heat in Aristotle’s biology. I argue that the complexities of vital heat might tell us something about whether Aristotle has a one-sex or two-sex model of sexual difference and that his model might also recast our understanding of Aristotelian material. Read more