On Generation and Corruption
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On Generation and Corruption

On Generation and Corruption (Ancient Greek: ? ; Latin: De Generatione et Corruptione), also known as On Coming to Be and Passing Away is a treatise by Aristotle. Like many of his texts, it is both scientific, part of Aristotle's biology, and philosophic. The philosophy is essentially empirical; as in all of Aristotle's works, the inferences made about the unexperienced and unobservable are based on observations and real experiences.


The question raised at the beginning of the text builds on an idea from Aristotle's earlier work The Physics. Namely, whether things come into being through causes, through some prime material, or whether everything is generated purely through "alteration."

Alteration concerned itself with the ability for elements to change based on common and uncommon qualities.

From this important work Aristotle gives us two of his most remembered contributions. First, the Four Causes and also the Four Elements (earth, wind, fire and water). He uses these four elements to provide an explanation for the theories of other Greeks concerning atoms, an idea Aristotle considered absurd.

Medieval editions

The 10th century Al-Fihrist by the Arab author al-Nadim lists an abridgement of De Generatione et Corruptione by the Shi'a theologian philosopher Abu Muhammad al-Hasan ibn Musa al-Nawbakhti.[1]

Contemporary editions

The most recent and authoritative[2] Greek text is the Budé edition by Marwan Rashed, Aristote. De la géneration et la corruption. Nouvelle édition. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2005. ISBN 2-251-00527-7. This edition includes a French translation, notes and appendices, and a lengthy introduction exploring the treatise's contents and the history of the text.


  1. ^ Nadim (al-), Ab? al-Faraj Mu?ammad ibn Isq (1970). Dodge, Bayard (ed.). The Fihrist of al-Nadim; a Tenth-Century Survey of Muslim Culture. Translated by Bayard Dodge. New York & London: Columbia University Press. p. 441.
  2. ^ Baltussen, Han (1 November 2006). "Review of: Aristote. De la géneration et la corruption. Nouvelle édition". Bryn Mawr Classical Review – via Bryn Mawr Classical Review.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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