On the Generation of Animals ( De Generatione Animalium)

English

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On the Generation of Animals

[Translated by Arthur Platt]

 

Book I

1 We have now discussed the other parts of animals, both generally and with reference to the peculiarities of each kind, explaining how each part exists on account of such a cause, and I mean by this the final cause.

There are four causes underlying everything: first, the final cause, that for the sake of which a thing exists; secondly, the formal cause, the definition of its essence (and these two we may regard pretty much as one and the same); thirdly, the material; and fourthly, the moving principle or efficient cause.

We have then already discussed the other three causes, for the definition and the final cause are the same, and the material of animals is their parts of the whole animal the nonhomogeneous parts, of these again the homogeneous, and of these last the so-called elements of all matter. It remains to speak of those parts which contribute to the generation of animals and of which nothing definite has yet been said, and to explain what is the moving or efficient cause. To inquire into this last and to inquire into the generation of each animal is in a way the same thing; and, therefore, my plan has united them together, arranging the discussion of these parts last, and the beginning of the question of generation next to them.

Aristóteles - Aristote - Aristotle - Аристотель - أرسطو

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Aristotle · English