The Ancient Library

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losopher; 22 and though Descartes, a great philosopher, followed the investigations of Harvey and dissected animals, his work along these lines was unimportant.

The origins of Greek biology correspond with its methods and its intellectual temper and predilections. Assuredly it did observe, and observed primarily, the objects or matters which attracted Greek attention. Heraclitus and Aristotle might bid men not to scorn to notice humble, even disgusting, things. But usually it was the objects which were most noticeable and alive that caught the Greek attention, like the quick and cunning animals whose acts and natures might throw some light upon man himself, in whom the Greek was interested most of all. In accord, moreover, with its origins, Greek biology sought for broad and satisfying facts or truths, such as appealed to the Greek reasoning mind. And the Greek mind, like the Greek hand, was a little impatient of drudgery. It was predis­posed to accept data which satisfied its love of order and symmetry and reason and its desire to find these qualities in nature. Hence it failed to make experiments and cautiously to verify what it observed or desired to observe.


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