Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Doctor of Philosophy




Henry, Devin


Through a detailed analysis of the various modes of argumentation employed by Aristotle throughout his natural scientific works, I aim to contribute to the growing scholarship on the relation between Aristotle’s theory of science and his actual scientific practice. I challenge the standard reading of Aristotle as a methodological empiricist and show that he permits a variety of non-empirical arguments to support controversial theses in properly scientific contexts. Specifically, I examine his use of logical (logikôs) argumentation in the discussion of mule sterility in Generation of Animals II 8, rational (kata ton logon) argumentation in his discussion of cardiocentrism throughout the biological works, and the method of division in Posterior Analytics II 13.

Summary for Lay Audience

The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle relied on information gained through the senses to guide his scientific theorizing about many subjects, including the motions of the heavenly bodies and the behaviour of animals. Focusing on a few examples drawn from a variety of Aristotle's scientific works, I argue that he also relied on reason. We see perception and reason at play in Aristotle's investigations of reproduction, the role of the heart in animal life, and scientific definitions.