"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

Get email updates of new posts:        (Delivered by FeedBurner)

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Aristotle's Biology

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Aristotle's Biology

"We have Plato's dialogues, beautiful and complete, but entirely concerned with metaphysical and moral issues, and a philosophy that I would say, but then again, I am a scientist is embedded and founded upon a contempt for the empirical world, indeed, for anything that we could call science today. In many ways, I regard Plato as the antithesis of a scientist. And the paradox for me, is that Aristotle somehow manages to shake off the influence of this gigantic figure, this penetrating intellect and reshape himself...

‘I think it's time to remember how limited he was by lack of technology, we use that word. Instruments, microscopes, and so on, so forth. For instance, he thought that flies generated, self generating with life, for instance. Did he doubt that when he said it, or did he say that with authority?’

‘With quite a bit of authority, but I think it was because precisely because he didn't have the means to observe that there were probably tiny eggs sort of left by the flies, and so forth. So this phenomenon, which we call spontaneous generation, he talks mostly about it in the context of oysters and sea animals in shells, they're the ones that sort of, their spontaneous generation is the one that he discusses to the greater, with the greatest length and then I mean, it's quite an interesting theory. And in that he says that everywhere in nature, in even sort of the natural heat in the air is a little bit of that sort of form or soul that can potentially sort of create a generation and because those kinds of animals are so sort of low grade, they don't need particularly complicated move, soul movements in order to generate. So they can sort of just generate out of the natural heat of the air’

‘I think there's a real mystery behind Aristotle's love for spontaneous generation. So basically when he can't actually observe something copulating and giving birth to creatures laying eggs because the larvae are too small or because of some other crock of biology, he has a tendency to sort of say, yeah, I think it's spontaneously generated. And the reason that this is so hard is because it's so at variance with all the rest of his biology. I mean his whole theory as Sophia said is that there's a form and this form is embodied in the parents and the parents transmit it, especially the father, via the seminal fluid. From father to offspring in the matter and all that stuff. And he's got an incredibly elaborate theory to explain how all that works and then when it comes to snails, he sort of says well you know form it's just kind of everywhere… although you're right he does usually do that for the lower things - lower things - but he knows perfectly well how complicated snails, he’s got a dissection of them, right? He knows it's got organs and stuff... he knows that an eel is as complicated as any fish’...

‘He really struggles with spontaneous generation. He devotes a chapter to it in the generation of animals, and he's not satisfied, he tries to fit it into his formula of the causes that should be here, and he says, but they're not here. And I think he's dissatisfied, I'd say he's dissatisfied with his explanation’...

‘Very interesting thing about snails, he says that snails have been observed to copulate. Very, very strange, that is, and maybe it was just recreational sex’...

‘They lay these these things that look like egg cases and some people say they are egg cases and you can see the baby snails on them. But actually, they're not really. Actually they’re just generated from earth.’...

As I argued, though not everybody would agree with me on this, Plato hates the empirical world, he's completely uninterested, he's interested in this, these, in these forms that exist around beyond the senses, and that is as anti scientific a philosophy as can possibly be imagined"
blog comments powered by Disqus
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Latest posts (which you might not see on this page)

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes