Volume 21, Issue 2, Spring 2017
The Role and Limits of Dialectical Method in Aristotelian Natural Science
A Study of Generation of Animals, III, 10
In this paper, we offer an overview of Aristotle’s account for his belief that honeybees reproduce without copulation. Following this, we draw the three following implications: First, that Aristotle’s position on this question is quite unconventional, and undercuts many traditional and “Aristotelian” hierarchies; secondly, that the method that requires him to hold this unconventional position is largely dialectical; and finally, that the lineage behind this method is Socratic. In this sense, Aristotle’s biological work may be seen as taking up where young Socrates left off according to his autobiographical remark in Plato’s Phaedo 95E-99E.