The Ancient Library
 

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III. ARISTOTLE'S BIOLOGY

O

UR DEBT to Greek biology is not to be appraised through any attempt to trace a causal continuity between Greece and the modern world in the develop­ment of this science, or group of sciences. The continuity is problematical and lacking in causality. Modern biological science sprang from the direct investigation of the natural objects forming its provinces. Modern an­atomy for instance, arose with Leonardo and Vesalius from dissections of human bodies and not from study of books. It is not to be re­garded as a graft upon the ancient stock.

The fundamental aim of biology, with the Greeks and with ourselves, has been to learn about living organisms. Nevertheless, Greek biology differed from the modern biological sciences in origins and associations, in method and in temperament. Our present debt to the ancient time is owing not a little to these dif­ferences. Let us see.

In origins; —Greek science began in the large unity of the grand desire to know the

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