01 October 2007

No Pun Intended

Well, I suppose it all depends on what one means by "whet". According to some dictionaries, it means "to make more acute":

Any reader who shares this curiosity and turns to the opening "problem"
of Book 1 will encounter the following question: "Why are testicles of
cockerels fed on milk large and easy to digest?" It would be a mistake
simply to raise an eyebrow and not read on, however, as there is
interesting material in what follows. For in answering this question,
the author refers to "the testicles of both females and males" (pp. 91
& 93). But female "testicles" (i.e., ovaries) were unknown to
Aristotle, as their discovery was (as we are told in a note) "one of
the achievements of Hellenistic anatomy" (93 n. 162). So in the very
first "problem" we learn something about the relationship of this (part
of the) work to the thought of Aristotle.

To whet the readers' appetite, and to illustrate further that not
everything in this work is orthodox Aristotelianism, what follows is a
sample of "problems" that I found particularly interesting. ...
Still, I'm guessing that for Robert Mayhew, from whose review of Kapetanaki and Sharples' edition of Supplementa Problematorum the above was taken, no pun was intended.