From Logic to Nature: ‘Genus’ and ‘Species’ in Philosophy and Biology

Date:
Venue:
The Linnean Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BF, United Kingdom
Organiser: events@linnean.org
02074344479 ext 211

LUNCHTIME LECTURE 12:30–13:00 Wednesday 5 February 2020

aristotle books

© Stella Sandford

How did Aristotle’s logical categories of ‘genus’ and ‘species’ become the taxonomical categories of Linnaeus’s system of classification? Using books from Linnaeus’ own library this talk will explore the transformation of these philosophical categories into the familiar terms of binomial nomenclature and the problems associated with that transformation. Linnaeus' rules for the determination of genera and the identification of species also rely on aspects of Aristotle's philosophy and zoology; this has been the basis of some of the most trenchant criticism of Linnaeus’ system and its continued use today. However, as this talk will show, the influence of Aristotle’s philosophy is still evident in many other areas of contemporary natural history too.

Stella Sandford is a Professor of Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University. She is currently a Leverhulme Major Research Fellow.


  • This event is free and open to all.
  • Doors will open at 12:15.
  • Tea will be served in the Library following the event.

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