By Lois N. Magner
I skimmed this ebook for history info, and was once inspired that Magner's didn't interpret and decide old heritage on a latest technology foundation, yet particularly offered and evaluated every one scientist as he handled the data he had, answering the questions provided to him by means of the tradition during which he lived. Magner additionally did rather well explaining medical rules to me -- a slightly scientifically proficient, yet non-science significant.
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Extra info for A History of the Life Sciences, Revised and Expanded
A few additional insights into his ideas and personality are preserved in the stolid memoirs of Xenophon and the ribald comedies of Aristophanes. Like Socrates, Plato's main concern was moral philosophy, encompassing ethics, politics, and theology. Nevertheless, Plato exerted a profound influence on the development of Western science and the characteristics and goals of scientific investigation. After the death of Socrates, Plato is said to have traveled widely to learn from other philosophers, mathematicians, and even the priests of Egypt.
According to Empedocles, all living things are composed of a particular mixture of elements. Each kind of being seeks its natural place according to the mixture of elements it contains. Trees are still attached to the earth because they have more earth in their nature; fish obviously have more water, while birds have more air and fire in their composition. Different mixtures of the four elements produced specific kinds of compound substances. Bone was composed of fire, water, and earth in the ratio of 4:2:2.
Deliberate and systematic inquiries, Aristotle insisted, would reveal the causes of things because the Ideas or Forms exist in nature and not apart from it. Thus, although 34 Chapter 1 Aristotle's world is certainly not one without a god, his inquiries into biological phenomena do not require the mythic apparatus that is at the core of Plato's Timaeus. Aristotle considered Plato's development of teleology (argument from design) an important innovation having its roots in the work of Anaxagoras and Empedocles.