Automaton and Spontaneous Generation: a Problematic Aspect in the Aristotelian Theory of Reproduction

Marzia Soardi


In Book III of the De generatione animalium, Aristotle discusses about the problem of spontaneous generation, which will be object of interest for centuries, up to modern science.
The aim of the paper is to examinate this topic trying to highlight what is the most remarkable problem in the Aristotelian theory: the ability of the matter of self-moving and self-reproducing and, connected to this, the relationship that exists in nature, in the Aristotelian biology, between a teleological based function and the presence of a necessary counterbalance in material form.
In the last part of the paper the attention will also be focused on the connection between spontaneous generation and sexual reproduction, underlining, once again, the importance of the material aspects, alongside the teleological ones.

Key words: Aristotle - Spontaneous generation Reproduction - Material
necessity - Natural teleology

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