Aristotle on life and death

King, Richard (2001). Aristotle on life and death. London: Bristol Classical Press

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Aristotle's Parva Naturalia culminates in definitions of the stages of the life cycle, from the generation of a new living thing up to death. Aristotle thinks of living things as food burners: they nourish themselves, and so, in some cases, possess the capacity for higher living functions such as perceiving. Their burning must be balanced, if it is to continue - and one way they do this is through breathing. Nonetheless, all such burning naturally develops and declines, thus describing the life span of the being concerned. This book provides a detailed reading of the end of the Parva Naturalia ("On the Length and Shortness of Life", "On Youth, Old Age, Life and Death", including "On Breathing"), and shows how the investigation into life begun in the De Anima is completed in the Parva Naturalia, culminating in definitions of the stages of the life cycle, from generation of a new living thing up to death, using the activity of nutrition.

Item Type:

Book (Monograph)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy

UniBE Contributor:

King, Richard


100 Philosophy
100 Philosophy > 180 Ancient, medieval & eastern philosophy




Bristol Classical Press




Richard King

Date Deposited:

25 Nov 2016 09:49

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:59

Additional Information:

Reviewed by Michael Pakaluk, Philosophy, Clark University (


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