published on April 1, 2014
Michael W. Tkacz
Albertus Magnus and the Animal Histories:
A Medieval Anticipation of Recent Developments in Aristotle Studies
During the past three decades, Aristotle studies have been significantly influenced by a series of ground-breaking investigations of the zoological works, especially the Historia animalium. As a result, contemporary Aristotle scholars have developed a clearer and more consistent interpretation of the zoology and have demonstrated its consonance with Aristotle’s logic and metaphysics. This revolution in Aristotle studies was anticipated by the medieval natural philosopher Albertus Magnus. As the first thinker since Theophrastus to pursue an Aristotelian research program in the life sciences, he interpreted Aristotle’s animal histories as a series of pre-demonstrative researches preparatory to causal explanation as prescribed in the Posterior Analytics and the Topics. The medieval anticipation of these recent developments in Aristotle studies provides a compelling comparison of the interpretation of Aristotle now and then.