I summon the supernatural beings
Who first contrived
In the stuff of life.
You did it for your own amusement.
Descend again, be pleased to reanimate
This revival of those marvels.
Reveal, now, exactly
How they were performed
From the beginning
Up to this moment.
Ovid: Metamorphoses (trans. Ted Hughes)
Classical Tradition: 6th ~ 4th cent. BCE)
Thales of Miletus (ca. 624 ~ 545 BCE)
Explanation of natural phenomena based on theories & hypotheses
Empedocles (ca. 490 ~ 430 BCE)
Opposition of Love & Strife anticipates Natural Selection (?)
Four elements: Water, Fire, Earth, Air (Æther)
Age of Athenian Republic
Socrates (ca. 470 - 399 BCE) "Father of Philosophy"
developed Socratic Method
Plato (ca. 427 - 347 BCE)
Recorded dialogues of Socrates
Theory of Forms (essences, eidos)
'real' objects are manifestations of 'ideal' forms
variation illusory: Plato's "Image of the Cave" in "The Republic"]
Dichotomy: world comprises paired opposites
"A" versus "not A" classes
good / bad, right / wrong, up / down, light / dark, male / female, etc.
Aristotle (ca. 384 - 322 BCE) - "Father of Biology"
Student of Plato
Principles of Logic: Syllogism
Five books on zoology of Aegean Sea
Classification based on dichotomy:
Plantae vs Animae
Sanguiniferous vs Bloodless (~ Vertebrate vs Invertebrate)
Four Elements: Water, Earth, Air, Fire per Empedocles
Four Qualities: Hot / Dry x Cold / Wet = four pairs
Biological structures have purpose: Efficient vs Final Causes
Dominant authority in science for 2,200 yrs
Hippocrates (460 - 370 BCE) - "Father of Medicine"
Theophrastos (ca. 371 - 287 BCE) -
"Father of Botany"
Monocots vs Dicots