On Aristotle as a Biologist: With a Prooemion on Herbert Spencer; Being the Herbert Spencer Lecture Delivered Before the University of Oxford, on February 14, 1913 (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Clarendon Press, 1913 - 31 pages
0 Reviews
  

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 25 - Hence, though of the two it seems easier to translate so-called matter into so-called spirit, than to translate so-called spirit into so-called matter (which latter is, indeed, wholly impossible), yet no translation can carry us beyond our symbols.
Page 2 - The more imperfect a being is the more do its individual parts resemble each other, and the more do these parts resemble the whole. The more perfect the being is the more dissimilar are its parts. In the former case the parts are more or less a repetition of the whole : in the latter case they are totally unlike the whole. " The more the parts resemble each other, the less subordination is there of one to the other. Subordination of parts indicates high grade of organization.
Page 17 - Aristotle's reach, where a very curious thing happens. Through the delicate membrane, which is all that is left of the eggshell, the great yolk-sac of the embryo becomes connected with the parental tissues, which infold and interweave with it ; and by means of this temporary union the blood of the parent becomes the medium of nourishment for the young. And the whole arrangement is physiologically identical with what obtains in the higher animals, the mammals, or warm-blooded vivipara. It is true...
Page 13 - molluscs" to that greater group, which is seen to include them with the shell-fish, or "ostracoderma" of Aristotle. These cuttle-fishes are creatures that we seldom see, but in the Mediterranean they are an article of food, and many kinds are known to the fishermen. All, or well-nigh all, of these common kinds were known to Aristotle, and his account of them has come down to us with singular completeness. He describes their form and their anatomy, their habits, their development, all with such faithful...
Page 17 - Aeios of Aristotle, that this singular phenomenon of the placenta vitellina is found. It is found in the great blue shark of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean ; but this creature grows to a very large size before it breeds, and such great specimens are not likely to have come under Aristotle's hands. Cuvier detected the phenomenon in the blue shark, but paid little attention to it, and, for all his knowledge of Aristotle, did not perceive that he was dealing with an important fact which the Philosopher...
Page 14 - ... the funnel-tube (instead of being flattened out beneath the creature's prostrate body) is long enough to protrude upwards between arms and head, and to appear on one side or other thereof, in a position apparently the reverse of its natural one. He describes the character of the cuttle-bone in Sepia, and of the horny pen which takes its place in the various Calamaries, and notes the lack of any similar structure in Octopus. He dissects in both sexes the reproductive organs, noting without exception...
Page 8 - ... philosophical work if we could ascertain when his chief biological work was done. It has often been held that Aristotle devoted himself to biology as an old man's recreation, after his retirement to Euboea. This theory is not adequate, and I do not think it is true. Another legend, that Alexander sent his pupil specimens from his campaigns, Cuvier accepted and Humboldt denied; there is no evidence for it, direct or indirect, in Aristotle's writings, and this tradition also I believe to be worthless....
Page 15 - ... Among the rarer species of the group he knew well the little Argonaut, with its beautiful cockle-shell, and tells how it puts up its two broad arms to sail with, a story that has been rejected by many, but that after all may perhaps be true. Now in all this there is far more than a mass of fragmentary information gleaned from the fishermen. It is a plain orderly treatise, on the ways and habits, the varieties, and the anatomical structure of an entire group. Till Cuvier wrote there was none so...
Page 16 - ... we are perhaps still ignorant, may yet be brought to light ; for we are still far from having interpreted and elucidated the whole mass of Aristotle's recorded erudition : which whole recorded mass is only, after all, tanquam tabula naufragii. There is perhaps no chapter in the Historia Animalium more attractive to the anatomist than one which deals with the anatomy and mode of reproduction of the cartilaginous fishes, the sharks and rays, a chapter which moved to admiration that prince of anatomists...
Page 12 - That the method even of its operation should ever be brought within the range and comprehension of human inquiry, is hardly perhaps to be hoped; with good reason therefore it is represented as an egg hatched by night. Such certainly is the judgment of the sacred philosopher, when he says, He hath made all things beautiful according to their seasons ; also he hath submitted the world to man's inquiry, yet so that man cannot find out the work which God workethfrom the beginning to the end.

Bibliographic information