James G. Lennox

  • Professor Emeritus of History and Philosophy of Science

James Lennox is professor of History and Philosophy of Science. Research specialties include Ancient Greek philosophy, science and medicine and Charles Darwin and Darwinism. Lennox has published essays on the philosophical and scientific thought of Plato, Aristotle, Theophrastus, Boyle, Spinoza, and Darwin, especially focused on scientific explanation, and particularly teleological explanation, in the biological sciences. 

Lennox is author of Aristotle's Philosophy of Biology (Cambridge 2000) and Aristotle on the Parts of Animals I-IV (Oxford, 2001), the first English translation of this work since 1937. He is co-editor of Philosophical Issues in Aristotle's Biology (Cambridge 1987); Self-Motion from Aristotle to Newton (Princeton 1995); and Concepts, Theories, and Rationality in the Biological Sciences (Pittsburgh and Konstanz 1995).

Courses Taught

Natural philosophy of Plato, Aristotle, and Theophrastus; Botany and zoology in the classical world; History and philosophy of biology

Education & Training

  • PhD, University of Toronto

Representative Publications

  •  “Physics I.9: Of Matter, the Great and the Small” in Diana Quarantotto ed.  Aristotle on the Principles of the Science of Nature: A Collection of Essays on Physics I, Cambridge University Press 2018, 226-245. 
  •  “Aristotle, Dissection, and Generation: Experience, Expertise and the Practices of Knowing”, chapter 13 in Aristotle’s Generation of Animals: A Critical Guide, Andrea Falcon and David Lefebvre eds., Cambridge University Press, 2018, 249-272. pages 2000
  •   “Aristotle and the Origins of Zoology”, in The Cambridge History of  Science: Volume 1, Alexander Jones and Liba Taub (eds.), Cambridge University Press, 2018, chapter 12, 215-237.
  •  "An Aristotelian Philosophy of Biology: Form, Function and Development", Acta Philosophica I: 26 (2017), 33-51.
  •   “William Harvey: Enigmatic Aristotelian of the Seventeenth Century”, chapter 9 in Teleology in the Ancient World, Julius Rocca, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2017,169-200.
  •  "Aristotle on the Emergence of Material Complexity: Meteorology IV and Aristotle’s Biology", HOPOS 4.2 (Fall 2014), 272-305
  •  "The Complexity of Aristotle’s Study of Animals", Chapter 12 in Christopher Shields (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Aristotle. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 287-305.
  • "Aristotle on Norms of Inquiry", HOPOS, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Spring 2011), 23-46.
  • "Aristotle on Mind and the Science of Nature," in M. Rossetto, M. Tsianikas, G. Couvalis and M. Palaktsoglou, eds. Greek Research in Australia: Proceedings of the Eighth Biennial International Conference of Greek Studies, Flinders University June 2009, Flinders University Department of Languages - Modern Greek: Adelaide, pp. 1-18
  • "De caelo II 2 and its Debt to De Incessu Animalium," in Alan C.Bowen and Christian Wildberg, eds., New Perspectives on Aristotle’s De Caelo (Philosophia Antiqua Vol. 117), Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2009, pp. 147-214
  • "Bios, Praxis and the Unity of Life," Sabine Föllinger, ed. Aristotele: Was ist 'Leben'? Aristoteles' Anschauungen zur Entstehungsweise und Funktion von Leben, Akten der Tagung vom 23.-26. August 2006 in Bamberg, Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag 2009, pp. 239-259
  • "Form, Essence, and Explanation in Aristotle's Biology," chapter 22 in Georgios Anagnostopoulos, ed. A Companion to Aristotle, London: Blackwell Publishing, 2009, pp. 348-67
  • "Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism," chapter 5, in Sahotra Sarkar and Anya Plutynski, eds., A Companion to Philosophy of Biology, London: Blackwell, 2008
  • "'As if we were investigating snubness': Aristotle on the prospects for a single science of nature," Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, 2008 (Vol. XXXV), pp. 149-18. Online:  http://ancphil.lsa.umich.edu/-/downloads/osap/35-Lennox.pdf
  • "The Comparative Study of Animal Development: William Harvey's Aristotelianism," in Justin Smith, ed., The Problem of Animal Generation in Modern Philosophy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006, pp. 21-46
  • "The Place of Zoology in Aristotle's Natural Philosophy," in R. W. Sharples, ed., Philosophy and the Sciences in Antiquity, London: Ashgate, 2004, pp. 58-70