Roger French's Ancient Natural History PDF

By Roger French

ISBN-10: 0203974166

ISBN-13: 9780203974162

ISBN-10: 0415088801

ISBN-13: 9780415088800

В этом исследовании автор показывает, что древнее естествознание было собранием и представлением историй и феноменов, достойных упоминания философами, популяризаторами или торговцами чудесами. В этой книге исследуются отношения между физическим миром, богами, греческой философией и целями тех, кто выражал весьма различные понятия о «природе». Основное внимание автора уделено «Истории животных» Аристотеля, «Естественной истории растений» Теофраста, «Географии» Страбона, а также, в некоторой степени, «Естественной истории» Плиния Старшего. Одна из основных тем книги - то, как к естествознанию относились различные общества: греки, римляне, евреи и христиане.Образцы сканов:

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Example text

But Aristotle, perhaps in reaction to Plato41 believed that nothing was moved of itself. This necessitated an external cause that called the internal principle of motion into action. It did so by being in the state in which the internal principle, and its object in which it inhered, potentially were. Thus the unmoved earth caused the stone to fall by its internal principle of motion, so that the stone comes to be at rest. Likewise, that which heats was, for Aristotle, hot. This causality is the actualisation of potential, and so falls into line with Aristotle’s new methodology, with which he was seeking to overturn the materialism of his predecessors.

Aristotle’s preferred mode of theorising in all these cases seems to be to have a small number of principles—a double exhalation—to produce many phenomena, from rainbows to earthquakes and metals. The fourth book of the Meteorologica begins with some more theory on this level, in which of the four qualities hot and cold are active, dry and moist passive. This is similar to other active/passive pairs, like mover and moved, male and female, and gives Aristotle a modest opportunity to employ the principles of his wider theory of goal-directed change.

We shall see that it is only later, in the animal books, that he is prepared to question even first principles if only the amount of empirical and observational knowledge was great enough. But Aristotle does not rely solely on demonstration in any strict sense to persuade his audience, and depends instead on the natural instinct to see an argument as a battle in which there will be a victor. It is a hollow triumph if the opponent does not turn up for the battle: a win by default, says Aristotle, acknowledging that his own argument will be stronger if others are heard and defeated.

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Ancient Natural History by Roger French


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