Five innovative essays demonstrating how Aristotle's biology is an integral part of Aristotle's understanding of the universe.
In Animals in the World, renowned Aristotle scholar Pierre Pellegrin attempts to demonstrate that Aristotle, by proposing an original version of natural perfection, opposes the whole of the Greek tradition. Nature is perfect, not only in its harmony of a complete and well-organized whole, but also because it brings together functionally perfect individuals.
Pierre Pellegrin is Director of Research at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, France. His books include Aristotle's Classification of Animals: Biology and the Conceptual Unity of the Aristotelian Corpus and Endangered Excellence: On the Political Philosophy of Aristotle, both translated by Anthony Preus. Anthony Preus is Distinguished Teaching Professor in Philosophy at Binghamton University, State University of New York. He is the author and editor of many books, including Historical Dictionary of Ancient Greek Philosophy.
"In this collection of five essays on topics he considers crucial, Pellegrin presents the results of decades of work on Aristotle's understanding of living things and on Aristotle's place in the history of biological and medical thought from antiquity to the present. With the biological works making up a quarter to a third of the corpus, Pellegrin's interpretations of the language, concepts, and arguments in these works turn out to enlighten the whole. The items covered range from final cause and necessity, in living things and in the cosmos at large—where Pellegrin argues that Aristotle rejects both intentional teleology of the Timaeus variety and an exclusive Presocratic mechanism as instruments for explaining cosmic order—to the relation of the abilities and organs of living things to one another, which Pellegrin finds in Aristotle's treatment of animal and plant life. While keeping the Aristotelian text clearly in focus, the author engages at length with other major figures who have contributed to the biological turn. Preus's readable translation of the author's recent Des animaux dans le monde brings an original and challenging statement of Pellegrin's views to the English-speaking public and will be informative for scholars in the histories of philosophy and science alike." — John J. Mulhern, University of Pennsylvania