Download e-book for iPad: Ancient Natural History by Roger French

By Roger French

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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We can even argue that explanations of lightning would not be part of natural philosophy unless lightning had once been attributed to a god. Philosophical explanations about earthquakes all agree that they are not caused by Poseidon (the ‘earth-shaker’). Comets have natural explanations and are not portents from the gods. Rain is due to a variety of natural causes, and certainly not to Zeus answering what we should not describe here as a call of nature. 29 Rainbows, rain, comets, lightning: not only do they share in having some kind of natural explanation and in not having a divine explanation, but they are brought into natural philosophy because they are not divine.

It is the astronomers73 again who have given Aristotle some idea of the immensity of the universe in comparison to the size of the earth, the changes of which look correspondingly less important than they did to the old natural philosophers. The Flood of Deucalion and the rivers that changed their courses where the old Graeci and Hellenes lived74 were local changes in an eternally shifting and very small terrestrial globe. Even the fact that the great Nile itself once did not flow at all75 must be kept in proportion.

Above all, the advantage of including a discussion of living things in a text on meteorology is that Aristotle can fully articulate his doctrine of change as end-directed. That this is Aristotle’s purpose becomes clear towards the end of the work. It is by making comparisons with living organisms and particularly animals that Aristotle can illustrate his fundamental physical principles better than he can in things where matter predominates over form. 90 Here ‘essence’ as definition is equivalent to the nature of the thing, and Aristotle is pointing out that natural things exist in a scale determined by the greater involvement of form with matter.

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