University of Pittsburgh
Primary Faculty

James G. Lennox

Professor of History and Philosophy of Science

1017 CL
Full CV
Research specialties: Ancient Greek philosophy and science, William Harvey, Darwin, and Darwinism. Published widely on history and philosophy of biology focused on scientific inquiry and explanation in historical context.


Allan Gotthelf 1942-2013

As many of those who will visit this site know, my close friend and professional collaborator Allan Gotthelf passed away on August 30th, after a 17 year battle with cancer. He spent many of those years, from 2003-2012, as a visiting professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh, thanks to an Anthem Foundation fellowship. During those years Allan and I co-taught numerous graduate seminars, served together on a number of dissertation committees, and co-organized many workshops and conferences related to Aristotle and to Ayn Rand's philosophy, Objectivism. In addition, he was an important member of the Classics, Philosophy and Ancient Science Program, helping to organize and participating in its colloquia and reading groups and organizing Greek reading groups related to courses he or we were teaching.

Allan and I first met in 1970 when I was an undergraduate Philosophy major at York University in Toronto. I had just completed an honors thesis on Aristotle's De Anima, and a mutual friend arranged a meeting so that I could discuss my interest both in Aristotle and in Ayn Rand with Allan. He recognized my passion for Aristotle and for philosophy and was enormously generous and encouraging, then and all through my graduate school years at the University of Toronto. I eventually chose to write my dissertation on the relationship between Aristotle's Metaphysics and his biological writings, and Allan, who was working on a dissertation on Aristotle's teleology, introduced me to David Balme and encouraged me to ask Balme to be my external reader. From the time that I graduated (1978) and began my career in the Department of HPS in Pittsburgh, Allan played a valuable mentoring role, involving me in conferences he organized and inviting me to join him in editing the groundbreaking collection Philosophical Issues in Aristotle's Biology (Cambridge 1987). Allan, my daughter and I shared an apartment in Cambridge in 1987 as we completed the editing of that volume. From then until the month before his death, Allan and I were continuously collaborating on projects related both to Aristotelian studies and to advancing scholarly interest in Objectivism. Concepts and Their Role in Knowledge, volume 2 of the Ayn Rand Society Philosophical Studies series of which we were co-editors, was published just a few months before Allan passed away. And the last work-related conversation he and I had concerned projects on which we were collaborating and which Allan knew he would not be able to see to fruition. Even in those last months, he was optimistically looking forward, thinking about how those projects could go forward without him. Shortly after Allan joined the faculty in Pittsburgh, I had the great pleasure of organizing a conference in his honor, which served as the basis for a festschrift, Being, Nature, and Life in Aristotle: Essays in Honor of Allan Gotthelf, co-edited by Robert Bolton and me and published by Cambridge University Press in 2010. For that volume I wrote a Biographical Sketch, based on a number of interviews with Allan. In his memory, that sketch is printed below.

Allan Gotthelf:
a biographical sketch

Allan Gotthelf was born on December 30, 1942, in Brooklyn, New York, the first of two children of Max and Dorothy Gotthelf. He thus came of age during the glory years of the Brooklyn Dodgers—he recalls attending games at Ebbets Fidd, once watching Jackie Robinson (who joined the Dodgers' roster in 1947) steal home, and forming an informal 'Gil Hodges Fan Club' with two friends. But as passionate as he was for sports, his true love was understanding things at the deepest level, and after doing three years of junior high school in two he attended the justly famous Stuyvesant High School, with its rigorous training in mathematics and science, from 1956 to 1959. (Stuyvesant has graduated an astonishing number of accomplished alumni, including four Nobel laureates—perhaps Joshua Lederberg being the most well known—and actors ranging from James Cagney to Lucy Liu.)

Prior to discovering philosophy, Allan focused his thirst for understanding on mathematics and physics, and in 1959, at the age of sixteen, he entered Brooklyn College, intending to major in physics but shifting after he arrived toward theoretical mathematics. During the summer of 1961 he read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, which influenced him to redirect his intellectual focus toward philosophy. He graduated in 1963 with a Major in Mathematics and a Minor in Philosophy, having taken classes in philosophy with Martin Lean and John Hospers. Though he had decided to pursue an advanced degree in philosophy, he had a strong interest in philosophy of mathematics and had already accepted a graduate assistantship at Penn State University in mathematics. So after completing his MA in mathematics there in one year, he entered the graduate program in philosophy at Columbia University in 1964.

Over the next two years he completed his course work and then spent three years as a full time instructor, at Wesleyan University. He eventually settled on "Aristotle's Conception of Final Causality" as the topic for his dissertation, and received his Ph.D. in 1975. An essay based on his dissertation won the dissertation essay prize of the Review of Metaphysics and was published in its 1976/7 volume. By then he had already received tenure in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey [TCNJ]) and during his years there he was instrumental in fostering a thriving philosophy club and in the development of the Honors College, and a special Minor in Classical Studies. He chaired the department from 1988 to 1997, during which time the Philosophy Major grew fourfold. He was passionate about teaching philosophy, playing an active role in the American Philosophical Association (APA) Teaching Workshops. From 1982 to 1990 he and Michael Hooker were selected as co-leaders of annual weekend workshops in the Eastern United States.

In the twenty years between 1980 and 2000, Allan played a central role in organizing conferences, workshops, and summer institutes that encouraged scholars of Aristotle's philosophy to integrate the study of Aristotle's biological works into their research. Many of the contributors to the present volume, including its editors, were participants in the first of these, a conference organized in collaboration with David Balme that took place during the summer of 1983 at Williams College in Williamstown, MA. Allan had befriended David Balme during the latter's visit to the Center for Advanced Study in Princeton in 1976 and interacted constantly with him until Balme's untimely death in 1989.

Other conference collaborations on related themes followed, with Sir Geoffrey Lloyd, Michael Frede, John Cooper, Pierre Pellegrin, and Wolfgang Kullmann , and Allan gained a reputation in the community of Aristotle scholars as a prodigious organizer. A number of these conferences led to publications credited with moving Aristotle's biological writings to the center of Aristotle scholarship.

During his years at TCNJ Allan held a number of visiting positions and fellowships: at Swarthmore in 1974-5; at the Center for Hellenic Studies in 1982/3; at Oxford (where he co-taught a seminar with John Ackrill), and at Clare Hall, Cambridge, in 1984; and at Georgetown in the spring of 1985. Having first gotten to know Gotthelf during his visit to Oxford in 1984 (and again during a number of visits to Oxford and to Clare Hall, Cambridge (where he had been appointed Life, Member in 1985), David Charles invited him back in 1994 to co-teach a seminar with him and one of this volume's editors (Lennox) called "Philosophical Issues in Aristotle's Biology." Shortly after leaving Oxford he spent five weeks in Japan, presenting a week long intensive course at Toyko Metropolitan University entitled “Aristotle’s Biological Enterprise and its Philosophical Significance" and lecturing in five other cities, including Kyoto.

As noted earlier, Allan developed a close friendship with David Balme, widely considered the leading scholar of the twentieth century on Aristotle's biological works. In fact his first edited volume was a festschrift in honor of Balme, Aristotle on Nature and Living Things: Philosophical and Historical Studies, published in 1985. Allan worked collaboratively with Balme during the 1970S and 80S, and when Balme died I989, he was invited by the Loeb Classical Library to see Balme's Loeb edition of History of Animals, Books VII-X through to publication; and then, working closely with the Balme family, he took on the much more daunting task of preparing Balme's draft of his planned editio maior of the entire History of Animals for publication as a two-volume work in the Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries series. Volume I appeared in 2002; Volume II is currently projected for publication in 2011. Gotthelf took early retirement from TCNJ in 2002, at which time the College created the Gotthelf Prize to be awarded annually to an outstanding graduating senior at TCNJ, who is chosen by the Classical Studies Faculty.

Upon retiring, Allan accepted an offer to be a visiting professor for the fall term at University of Texas, Austin, and since 2003, thanks to the creation of a Fellowship for the Study of Objectivism in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science (HPS), University of Pittsburgh, he has been Visiting Professor of HPS at Pittsburgh.

Earlier it was noted that his turn to philosophy from mathematics and science, and to Aristotle in particular, was due to the influence of Ayn Rand. Allan was among a number of young philosophers with whom Rand met regularly to discuss her more recently developed philosophical work, and throughout his career Allan has devoted the same energy and focus as he had devoted to putting Aristotle's biological works "on the map," to putting Objectivism, Rand's philosophy, on the contemporary philosophical map. He has been a prime mover behind the Ayn Rand Society, which became affiliated with the APA Eastern Division in 1988, and his fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh is appropriately designed to support work both on Aristotle and Rand, and on the relationship between Rand's philosophy and Aristotle's. Since coming to Pittsburgh he has organized a number of workshops on both philosophers, and a number of informal reading groups; he has taught and co-taught seminars on Aristotle's biological works and served on dissertation committees of students working on Aristotle. One serendipitous consequence of his joining the faculty in Pittsburgh was that he was able to serve on the dissertation committee of his most promising undergraduate at TCNJ, Greg Salmieri, who joined Pittsburgh's graduate program in philosophy a year before his former teacher took up his Fellowship in HPS. Allan is hopeful that within a year of this collection of essays in his honor appearing in print, a collection of his papers, including some not previous published, scheduled for publication by Oxford in their Oxford Aristotle Studies series, will also appear.



PhD, philosophy, University of Toronto, 1978

Selected Courses Taught

19th Century Philosophy of Science

Darwin's Origin

Aristotle's Conception of Natural Science

Selected Publications

"Aristotle on Mind and the Science of Nature," in M. Rossetto, M. Tsianikas, G. Couvalis and M. Palaktsoglou, eds. Greek Research in Australia: Proceedings of the Eighth Biennial International Conference of Greek Studies, Flinders University June 2009, Flinders University Department of Languages - Modern Greek: Adelaide, pp. 1-18

"De caelo II 2 and its Debt to De Incessu Animalium," in Alan C.Bowen and Christian Wildberg, eds., New Perspectives on Aristotle’s De Caelo (Philosophia Antiqua Vol. 117), Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2009, pp. 147-214

"Bios, Praxis and the Unity of Life," Sabine Föllinger, ed. Aristotele: Was ist 'Leben'? Aristoteles' Anschauungen zur Entstehungsweise und Funktion von Leben, Akten der Tagung vom 23.-26. August 2006 in Bamberg, Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag 2009, pp. 239-259

"Form, Essence, and Explanation in Aristotle's Biology," chapter 22 in Georgios Anagnostopoulos, ed. A Companion to Aristotle, London: Blackwell Publishing, 2009, pp. 348-67

"Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism," chapter 5, in Sahotra Sarkar and Anya Plutynski, eds., A Companion to Philosophy of Biology, London: Blackwell, 2008

"'As if we were investigating snubness': Aristotle on the prospects for a single science of nature," Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, 2008 (Vol. XXXV), pp. 149-18

"The Comparative Study of Animal Development: William Harvey's Aristotelianism," in Justin Smith, ed., The Problem of Animal Generation in Modern Philosophy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006, pp. 21-46

"The Place of Zoology in Aristotle's Natural Philosophy," in R. W. Sharples, ed., Philosophy and the Sciences in Antiquity, London: Ashgate, 2004, pp. 58-70

Aristotle's Philosophy of Biology (Cambridge, 2001)

Aristotle on the Parts of Animals I-IV (Oxford, 2001)

Coeditor, Concepts, Theories, and Rationality in the Biological Sciences (Pittsburgh and Konstanz, 1995)

Coeditor, Self-Motion from Aristotle to Newton (Princeton, 1995)

Coeditor, Philosophical Issues in Aristotle's Biology (Cambridge, 1987)

Professional Memberships

• International Society for History of Philosophy of Science, member, chair of nominating committee

• International Society for History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology

• Philosophy of Science Association

• History of Science Society

Personal Interests

• Running, cycling, and kayaking

• Cooking and wine