In this paper, I approach the difficult and vague elements of Aristotle’s account of spontaneous generation not as weaknesses, but as opportunities for an interesting glimpse into the thought of an early scientist struggling to reconcile evidence and theory.
The paper has two goals: (1) to give as charitable and full an account as possible of what Aristotle’s theory of spontaneous generation was, and to examine some of its consequences; and (2) to reflect on Aristotle as a scientist, and what his comments reveal about how he approached a difficult problem.
In the Roman Empire, for instance, slavery was such a large part of the overall economic system that without it, Rome could not have expanded or retained power for such a long period (Westerman).
However the circumstances of slavery, though, are not static for such philosophers as Aristotle and Plato.
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In particular, I propose that the well-recognized problem of the incompatibility between Aristotle’s concept of spontaneity and his theory of spontaneous generation presents an opportunity for insight into his scientific methodology when approaching ill-understood phenomena.
Slavery for Plato and Aristotle In the Ancient Mediterranean cultures, the institution of slavery took on a number of meanings.