chapter  11
10 Pages

From Aristotle to the Inuits: the reasoned construction of gender

WithFRANÇOISE HÉRITIER

On the theme of the generation and determination of the sexes, Aristotle composed one of the most elegant models. It is a well-argued and reasoned philosophical model that draws upon many of the arguments of the primordial genetics of so-called primitive peoples. I shall be referring to Book IV of Generation of Animals, a work written by Aristotle between 330 and 322 BC, at the end of his career.1 He begins by reflecting on the works of some of the thinkers who preceded him.