Early Greek Science This study traces Greek science through the work of the Pythagoreans, the Presocratic natural philosophers, the Hippocratic writers, Plato, the fourth-century B. Skip to content Skip to search. Login to add to list. Lloyd writes clearly, and gives a great understanding of what the ancient questions were and how thinkers tried to come up with answers. Open Preview See a Problem? Lloyd also investigates the relationships between science and philosophy and science and medicine; he discusses the social and economic setting of early Greek science; and he analyzes the motives and incentives of the different groups of writers.

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Start your review of Early Greek Science: Thales to Aristotle Write a review Aug 15, Mark Bowles rated it it was amazing It was the awakening of the scientific mind, the opening of the spirit of man to the nature of inquiry, and the beginnings of quantification and experimentation.

Lloyd are studies of Greek science from Thales of Miletus in B. D and the decline of ancient science. While the main thesis of both books are the same, their intent is different. Book one concentrates on the development of two key methodological principles of the early Greeks.

The books are structured topically with physics, biology, astronomy, and mathematics being the four branches of science that are most closely studied.

Lloyd makes numerous anachronistic comparisons throughout the books often stating that a certain theory was successful.

He views some of the successes as would a presentist but also explores obvious failures in a diachronical sense. Book one begins with Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes, who are the Milesians that provide the first distinction between the natural and the supernatural.

Instead of creating a mythology to explain natural occurrences, such as lightening and thunder, they attempted to give naturalistic explanations. The Milesians main contribution was that they grasped the problems that confronted them and attempted to account for the problem of change with their materialistic, cosmological doctrines.

With this idea they were the first to quantify nature and develop deductive methods in mathematics. The study of physical systems and natural science also yielded methodological advancements. While Plato established the first methodological principle of the early Greeks, Aristotle provided the second. Aristotle advocated the idea of empirical research to the process of inves-tigation. His book the Organon details the structure of his axiomatic, deductive system.

He felt that the aim of natural science was to reveal causes of natural phenomena. Aristotle contributed to numerous areas of thought including biology, meteorology, and physics. His founding of the Lyceum established a center for research which far exceeded any other previous attempt. Book two begins with the Hellenistic period B. His major contributions were collecting and classifying species of animals and plants.

Hellenistic mathematics proved to be the most permanent and lasting contribution of all Greek thought. Archimedes studied statics and problems of the lever; Eratosthenes applied math to geography and made a close determination of the circumference of the earth; and Appolonius studied and coined the terms ellipse, hyperbola, and parabola.

Aristarchus was the most successful of the astronomers with his heliocentric model of the heavens. The problems with these astronomers were in their attempts to "save the appearances" so that observation and mathematical reasoning corresponded to each other. In their struggle to do this, they often ignored key data that did not fit the theory. Herophilus studied anatomy and recognized that the brain was the center of the nervous system.

His main contribution was in the diagnostic value of the pulse. Erasistratus used mechanical ideas to explain organic processes. He discovered the differences between the veins and arteries and knew the functions of the four main valves of the heart. He failed in his conception that the veins carried air throughout the body. The motives for construction of these devices were for war machines, practical use, and amusement.

Technology often was slow to be diffused and taken advantage of. The water wheel exemplified this because of the insufficient water supply and the abundance of slave labor.

A successful use of technology that caught on quickly was the pompein rotary mill which used animals to grind grain. The major failure of the Greeks in this area was in the fact that they did not use steam or wind as a motive power for their machines. The main reason for lack of development was that society did not place a great emphasis on these fields.

Two great thinkers emerged in the second century A. The first, Ptolemy of Alexandria, wrote the Almagest which became the most comprehensive treaty on astronomy. Problems that arise with Ptolemy are the same as with the fourth century Hellensitic astronomers in that he ignored data to "save the appearances. His main work was in biology and medicine, and he often applied this knowledge to his occupation as surgeon to the galdiators.

He performed a vast amount of empirical research by dissecting and vivisecting animals. The main motive of his research was to prove that nature did nothing without order or purpose. Book two ends with a discussion on the decline of ancient science. Lloyd contends that science did not abruptly end after A.

The Christians thought that truth came from neither observation nor reason but from divine intervention. With this attitude in power, pagan scientists had a difficult position to work against. Lloyd says that Greek science never really died. It was rediscovered by Kepler and Galileo who studied the works of Plato and Pythagoras in their search for mathematical order. Reviews on the books were extremely positive. In an article in The Classical Journal Vol. He said that Farrington and Stahl failed to consider the science of this period.

The American Historical Review Vol. A review of book two in The Classical World Vol. Waite feels that the modern concept of science is reached with the Hellenistic period and particularly with the mathematicians. He recommends these books for any course in ancient science. My own thoughts on these books are also positive, but I do have some criticisms. I agree that modern-day science began with the Greeks as it was they who established the methodological principles that underlie any systematic inquiry.

My criticism is with his brief inclusion of technology as a subset of science. Overall, I now feel I have an appreciation for what the relatively few Greeks did in such a diverse and unknown area which is what we call science. With a diachronistic view these men were natural philosophers and mathematicians, but with an anachronistic eye these men were scientists.

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Early Greek Science: Thales to Aristotle

Early life[ edit ] His father, a Welsh physician, specialised in tuberculosis. After a nomadic early education in six different schools, he obtained a scholarship to Charterhouse , where, despite an indifferent academic culture, he excelled in mathematics, and learned Italian from Wilfrid Noyce. The curriculum was biased to classics, which he was advised, misleadingly in his later view, to pursue. He spent a year in Athens — where, apart from learning modern Greek , he also mastered the bouzouki. Career[ edit ] A keen interest in anthropology informed his reading of ancient Greek philosophy, and his doctoral studies, conducted under the supervision of Geoffrey Kirk , focused on patterns of polarity and analogy in Greek thought, a thesis which, revised, was eventually published in He was called up for National Service in He was given the service number


G. E. R. Lloyd



ISBN 13: 9780393005837



Early Greek science : Thales to Aristotle


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