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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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For Aristotle in an atomic universe there was nothing for nature to achieve. In contrast his own physical principles showed that the world was spherical, for all the elements moved to their proper place around the centre of the heaviest mass, as observation showed. The flux of natural things was replaced by the permanence of their kinds, the natures of which was the subject of Aristotle’s natural history. 49 Aristotle takes up this general principle of generation, or Becoming, in On Generation and Corruption.

32 The ‘material cause’ of a house is the bricks and mortar and wood. The material cause of living things is the irreducible matter of which they are composed, which Aristotle considered to be the simplest parts. These were the homogeneous parts, incapable of division into anything simpler; he is in part continuing the argument against the atomists. But in addition to such material causality, Aristotle is always looking for the purpose of things. This is what he calls the ‘final cause’ of a thing, the reason why it came into existence.

We have seen that philosophers could be unpopular in that society. Aristotle was joining a group characterised by their denial of the gods’ actions in the physical world. 27 It is arguable in fact that the denial of the gods marked out the shape of natural philosophy: their absence defined what ‘nature’ was. The many different explanations by the philosophers of lightning had in common the principal feature that they did not attribute it to Zeus, as nonphilosophical Greeks thought. We can even argue that explanations of lightning would not be part of natural philosophy unless lightning had once been attributed to a god.

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