The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science

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9780143127987: The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science

In the Eastern Aegean lies an island of forested hills and olive groves, with streams, marshes and a lagoon that nearly cuts the land in two. It was here, over two thousand years ago, that Aristotle came to work.

Aristotle was the greatest philosopher of all time. Author of the Poetics, Politics and Metaphysics, his work looms over the history of Western thought. But he was also a biologist - the first.

Aristotle explored the mysteries of the natural world. With the help of fishermen, hunters and farmers, he catalogued the animals in his world, dissected them, observed their behaviours and recorded how they lived, fed, and bred. In his great zoological treatise, Historia animalium, he described the mating habits of herons, the sexual incontinence of girls, the stomachs of snails, the sensitivity of sponges, the flippers of seals, the sounds of cicadas, the destructiveness of starfish, the dumbness of the deaf, the flatulence of elephants and the structure of the human heart. And then, in another dozen books, he explained it all.

In The Lagoon, acclaimed biologist Armand Marie Leroi recovers Aristotle's science. He goes to Lesbos to see the creatures that Aristotle saw, where he saw them, and explores the Philosopher's deep ideas and inspired guesses - as well as the things that he got wildly wrong. Leroi shows how Aristotle's science is deeply intertwined with his philosophical system and how modern science even now bears the imprint of its inventor.

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Review:

In elegant, stylish and often witty prose, he probes the near-legendary, almost primeval lagoon which inspired the ancient Greek's Historia animalium and animates it anew with his own incisive observations ... The Lagoon is a heroic, beautiful work in its own right, an enquiring odyssey into unknown nature, and the known world which science has created out of it ( Philip Hoare, author of Leviathan or, The Whale and The Sea Inside)

Leroi clearly adores Greece and he uses his detailed local knowledge to splendid effect, evocatively re-creating the experiences of the peripatetic philosopher . Leroi is absolutely right to say that even those sections of Aristotle's work we no longer believe to be correct have affected the knowledge that we have today ( Literary Review)

In this lush, epic and hugely enjoyable book, biologist Armand Marie Leroi explores the idea that it was another ancient Greek giant whose shoulders we may all stand upon . Leroi is a beautiful writer and it's been too long, a decade, since his last outstanding book ( Observer)

Brilliant . Not just a charismatic book, but one that places Aristotle in a freshly Aegean context . Above all, Leroi shows, science today trawls through reams of data for patterns and explanations, in precisely Aristotle's manner ( Sunday Times)

Leroi takes us through Aristotle's work, finding hints of modern thinking everywhere . The Lagoon bubbles with enthusiasm for its subject, making an absolutely gripping read out of what might have seemed the most unlikely material ( The Times)

Compelling, sometimes contentious, and always thought-provoking . It celebrates what is most admirable in the Aristotelian tradition: its appreciation of what is actually there ( Financial Times)

How Aristotle nearly beat Darwin to a theory of evolution. Brilliant ( Sunday Times Must Reads)

In the History of Animals "[Aristotle] speaks of the reproduction of lice, the mating habits of herons, the sexual incontinence of girls, the stomachs of snails, the sensitivity of starfish, the dumbness of the deaf, the flatulence of elephants and the structure of the human heart: his book contains 130,000 words and 9,000 empirical claims". Leroi's own uncompromising investigation gives us a flavour of his subject's indefatigable explorations . Leroi does not upstage Aristotle's descriptions with modern anatomical illustrations, though his attractively illustrated discussions draw on much scholarship that has been expended on editing and interpreting Aristotle's ideas about nature . Leroi's scholarship is impeccable and consistently generous . Only an expert biologist with broad cultural sympathies and a deep feeling for history could have created such a compelling reappraisal of Aristotle's place in the history of science. What's in a name, indeed; in marshalling the facts and ideas that support Aristotle's scientific credentials in exuberant detail, Leroi must be accounted the king ( Times Literary Supplement)

Book Description:

A fascinating and unique look at Aristotle, his pioneering research into the biological world, and his influence on modern day science

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Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 213 x 140 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. The remarkable but neglected story of Aristotle s founding role in the scientific study of nature Both a travelogue and a study of the origins of science, The Lagoon shows how an ancient thinker still has much to teach us today. Aristotle s philosophy looms large over the history of Western thought, but the subject he most loved was biology. He wrote vast treatises on animals, dissecting them, classifying them, recording how they lived, fed, and bred. He founded a science. It can even be said that he founded science itself. In this luminous book, acclaimed biologist Armand Marie Leroi recovers Aristotle s science. He explores Aristotle s observations, his deep ideas, his inspired guesses and the things he got wildly wrong. Leroi visits the Aegean island where Aristotle plumbed the secrets of the living world in all its beauty. Modern science still bears the stamp of its founder. The Lagoon reveals that Aristotle was not only the first biologist, but also one of the greatest. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780143127987

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Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 213 x 140 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. The remarkable but neglected story of Aristotle s founding role in the scientific study of nature Both a travelogue and a study of the origins of science, The Lagoon shows how an ancient thinker still has much to teach us today. Aristotle s philosophy looms large over the history of Western thought, but the subject he most loved was biology. He wrote vast treatises on animals, dissecting them, classifying them, recording how they lived, fed, and bred. He founded a science. It can even be said that he founded science itself. In this luminous book, acclaimed biologist Armand Marie Leroi recovers Aristotle s science. He explores Aristotle s observations, his deep ideas, his inspired guesses and the things he got wildly wrong. Leroi visits the Aegean island where Aristotle plumbed the secrets of the living world in all its beauty. Modern science still bears the stamp of its founder. The Lagoon reveals that Aristotle was not only the first biologist, but also one of the greatest. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780143127987

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