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Biology was a natural pursuit for Aristotle, given his family’s medical background. Along with his achievements in logic, his work in biology constitutes his greatest and longest-lasting success. He identified approximately 495 different species of animals, some of which were alluded to briefly and others that were studied in considerable depth. A significant part of his achievement was simply the sheer amount of data that he collected, but he is also praised for the skill and care with which he organised the data, along with the insights he offered.His central work in biological studies was titled «The History of Animals». Aristotle draws the most important distinctions between animals with and without blood and between viviparous (reproducing offspring within the female’s body, as generally the case with mammals) and oviparous (reproducing through the hatching of eggs) animals. He paid considerable attention to the questions of reproduction and heredity, determining what factors contribute in what ways. Aristotle’s teleology played a particularly important role in his biological studies. He believed that no organ was given to an animal without a purpose. Thus he was careful to distinguish between final and variable characteristics. Final characteristics were those essential to an animal species, while variable characteristics consisted of qualities that develop rather than being naturally endowed.
Acerca de Aristotle
Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology. Together with Plato and Socrates (Plato’s teacher), Aristotle is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. Aristotle’s writings constitute a first at creating a comprehensive system of Western philosophy, encompassing morality and aesthetics, logic and science, politics and metaphysics.Aristotle’s views on the physical sciences profoundly shaped medieval scholarship, and their influence extended well into the Renaissance, although they were ultimately replaced by Newtonian physics. In the biological sciences, some of his observations were confirmed to be accurate only in the nineteenth century. His works contain the earliest known formal study of logic, which was incorporated in the late nineteenth century into modern formal logic. In metaphysics, Aristotelianism had a profound influence on philosophical and theological thinking in the Islamic and Jewish traditions in the Middle Ages, and it continues to influence Christian theology, especially Eastern Orthodox theology, and the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church. His ethics, though always influential, gained renewed interest with the modern advent of virtue ethics. All aspects of Aristotle’s philosophy continue to be the object of active academic study today.Though Aristotle wrote many elegant treatises and dialogues (Cicero described his literary style as «a river of gold»), it is thought that the majority of his writings are now lost and only about one-third of the original works have survived. Despite the far-reaching appeal that Aristotle’s works have traditionally enjoyed, today modern scholarship questions a substantial portion of the Aristotelian corpus as authentically Aristotle’s own.
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