Department of Classics Faculty Publications

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    Why does Aristotle think bees are divine? Proportion, triplicity and order in the natural world
    (Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2019-04-30) Lehoux, Daryn R
    Concluding his discussion of bee reproduction in Book 3 of Generation of Animals, Aristotle makes a famous methodological pronouncement about the relationship between sense perception and theory in natural history. In the very next sentence, he casually remarks that the unique method of reproduction that he finds in bees should not be surprising, since bees have something ‘divine’ about them. Although the methodological pronouncement gets a fair bit of scholarly attention, and although Aristotle's theological commitments in cosmology and metaphysics are well known, scholars have almost universally passed over the comment about bees and divinity in silence. This paper aims to show why that comment is no mere throwaway, and offers an exploration and elaboration of the ways in which divinity operates even at fairly mundane levels in his natural philosophy, as an important Aristotelian explanation for order, proportion and rationality, even in the lowest of animals.
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    Natural and Supernatural in Ancient Science
    (Oxford, 2019-01-17) Lehoux, Daryn R
    This chapter challenges the widespread claim that science in antiquity is, at least in part, characterized by a move to naturalistic explanations from mythological or supernatural ones. By looking closely at both the contents and the historical development of the sciences in antiquity, the chapter shows that theology plays important roles in ancient science, and does so along three distinct lines: the creationist (where the cosmos was made or shaped by some kind of superhuman agency), the divine-governmental (involving some kind of immanent deity, but not necessarily a creator), and the teleological (in which external forces guide or direct the universe).
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    Observation Claims and Epistemic Confidence in Aristotle’s Biology
    (University of Chicago Press, 2017-05-26) Lehoux, Daryn R
    This essay looks at the ways in which Aristotle signals his confidence in observation claims in his biological works. Widely seen as an astute observer of the natural world, Aristotle in fact makes surprisingly few explicit claims to personal observation, even if circumstantial and other evidence often provides strong hints of his own involvement. At the same time, because of the incredible variety (and often the localization) of biological species, Aristotle also necessarily relies heavily on the testimony of others. This essay shows how Aristotle employs careful rhetorical strategies to signal or qualify his certainty both in his own observations and in the reports of others, on a case-by-case basis, for his reader.
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    Let Us Make the Effort: Science into Latin in Antiquity
    (University of Chicago Press, 2019-05-29) Lehoux, Daryn R
    Scientific writing initially came to ancient Latin speakers as a foreign discipline. Greek-language sources, in the form both of written texts and of living speakers, brought a wide range of philosophical, technical, and scientific material to their Latin neighbors from at least the second century b.c.e. The challenge for the Romans, though, was not just one of translating individual texts—of turning Plato’s Timaeus into Latin, for example. Instead, Romans worried and openly reflected on the broader question of what this essay calls discourse translation: Was it possible—at all—even to do philosophy in Latin?
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    Clever Machines and the Gods Who Make Them: The Antikythera Mechanism and the Ancient Imagination
    (Brill, 2018-07-17) Lehoux, Daryn R
    After sitting, cryptically, silently, in the Archaeological Museum in Athens for nearly a century, the Antikythera mechanism only really began to yield up its secrets in the latter part of the twentieth century. To be sure, there had been some speculation that the thing was some kind of planetarium or orrery from within a few years of its discovery, but it was hard for most scholars to really believe this was possible in the cold light of day. Not until Derek de la Solla Price managed to obtain images of the thing using gamma rays in the 1970’s did we finally realize the complexity of its internal gearing, and even then there were plenty of surprises in store for us as imaging technology improved over the next 30 years […]