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Teleology in the Ancient World
Philosophical and Medical Approaches


Julius Rocca, David Sedley, Samuel Scolnicov, Harold Tarrant, Jan Opsomer, John Dillon, Mariska Leunissen, Monte Ransome Johnson, R. W. Sharples, James G. Lennox, Elizabeth Craik, Philip van der Eijk, R. J. Hankinson
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  • Date Published: October 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107036635

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About the Authors
  • The ancient origins of teleological concepts are sometimes either conveniently forgotten or given a distorted appearance. On the one hand, ancient teleology has been obscured by the theological cloak of creationism. On the other, Darwinists have sometimes failed to give due consideration to the variety and subtlety of teleology's intellectual antecedents. The purpose of this book is to restore the balance by looking at the manifold ways in which teleology in antiquity was viewed. The volume, consisting of twelve essays by leading authorities in their fields, examines the ways in which teleological arguments were used in antiquity and how these discussions inform and influence current debates on evolution, creationism and intelligent design. As well as examining philosophical contributions to the subject, a specific aim is to examine ancient medical thinking on this topic and its relationship to ancient philosophical ideas.

    • The first book to give a comprehensive account of teleological arguments in antiquity
    • Provides an essential perspective on the origins and development of teleological thinking and shows that arguments concerning ends and purposes are still of use in the sciences
    • Presents an inclusive viewpoint of teleological ways of thinking from both ancient philosophical and medical perspectives
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is a good collection of articles on teleology in ancient Greek philosophy and medical writing, derived from a conference held at the University of Exeter in 2009.' Jacob Rosen, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107036635
    • length: 344 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 156 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.63kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction Julius Rocca
    Part I. The Socratic Foundations of Teleology:
    1. Socrates, Darwin, and teleology David Sedley
    Part II. Plato and the Platonic Tradition:
    2. Atemporal teleology in Plato Samuel Scolnicov
    3. Teleology and names in the Platonic and Anaxagorean traditions Harold Tarrant
    4. Why doesn't the Moon crash into the Earth? Platonic and Stoic teleologies in Plutarch's Concerning the face which appears in the orb of the Moon Jan Opsomer
    5. Signs and tokens: do the gods of Neoplatonism really care? John Dillon
    Part III. Aristotle and the Aristotelian Tradition:
    6. Biology and teleology in Aristotle's account of the city Mariska Leunissen
    7. Aristotelian mechanistic explanation Monte Ransome Johnson
    8. The purpose of the natural world: Aristotle's followers and interpreters R. W. Sharples
    9. William Harvey: enigmatic Aristotelian of the seventeenth century James G. Lennox
    Part IV. Teleology in Medicine:
    10. Teleology in Hippocratic texts: clues to the future? Elizabeth Craik
    11. The place of disease in a teleological worldview: Plato, Aristotle, Galen Philip van der Eijk
    12. Teleology and necessity in Greek embryology R. J. Hankinson.

  • Editor

    Julius Rocca, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
    Julius Rocca is Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Classical Philology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. His book Galen on the Brain (2003) was awarded the 2006 Outstanding Book in the History of the Neurosciences award by the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences.


    Julius Rocca, David Sedley, Samuel Scolnicov, Harold Tarrant, Jan Opsomer, John Dillon, Mariska Leunissen, Monte Ransome Johnson, R. W. Sharples, James G. Lennox, Elizabeth Craik, Philip van der Eijk, R. J. Hankinson

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