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Oxford Bibliographies in Classics - Greek and Roman Science-libre

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  General Overviews The study of the history of science is constantly challenged to explain the known evolution of concepts, while avoiding the twin extremes of relativism and teleological progressivism. Much of the study of early Greek science has been characterized by teleological progressivism, as already seen in AristotleÕs approach of interpreting all the Òpre-SocraticsÓ plus Plato as somehow leading up to his theory. Since more nuanced and insightful accounts of those early Greek workers are now available, and since early Greek science is remarkable, this article provides a section devoted to those scholarly efforts, Origins and Early Development. Correlatively, some accounts of the history of science, ancient or later, too much dismiss or neglect the results of science and explain all scientific activity as being primarily the seeking of power or as rhetorical display, an approach pioneered by Nietzsche. Therefore, a section of this article, Surveys, is   devoted to surveys and syntheses of Greek science that give due credit to accomplishments, without falling into AristotleÕs error of teleological progressivism. The aims and methods of ancient Greek science represent an early stage in a long and still ongoing evolution, but they are recognizably consonant with what we would demarcate as science. Any evolutionary track of sufficient length will display a greater and greater variety of species occupying a greater and greater number of niches, and so it is with science that we see a greater and greater range of coverage, of understanding, and of results. ORIGINS AND EARLY DEVELOPMENT An unusual confluence of cultural factors promoted the evolution of scientific activity in ancient Greece by the early 7th century BCE . Already ancient Greeks themselves extensively debated those factors, as seen in Zhmud 2006. Modern scholars invoke the ÒPresocratic philosophersÓ as influential individuals, either generally (Furley 1989, Long 1999, and Gregory 2007) or especially Pythagoras (Zhmud 1997). But the phenomenon is likely largely social, as argued in Lloyd 1979 and Lloyd 1987.Keyser 2013 builds on these   works, arguing that it is reasonable to suppose that science will be more actively pursued in more prosperous societies since the prerequisite resources for the practice of science will be more available in such societies. Many Greek cities, and several of the empires that emerged from the wars waged by Alexander, were very prosperous indeed, and a strong correlation can be shown between prosperity and scientific achievement in Greek antiquity. The unusual degree of Greek prosperity depended largely on commercial activities: especially trade within the Greek cultural zone, but also outside it. That observation points to the second factor, the relative openness of commercial societies to innovation and change. Science proceeds by proposing new theories, acquiring new data, and making new discoveries, so it is reasonable to suppose that science will be more actively pursued in societies that are more open to innovation and, thus indeed, commercial societies. Societies whose economy is primarily extractiveÑi.e., producing goods from the land via agriculture, herding, fishing, or miningÑwill value stability in order to maintain the productivity of their extractive activities. Ancient Greek commercial societies, whether city-state or empire, were marked by contentious public debate about many topics, so that one can fairly speak of a trade in ideas. Those debates were remarkably open, admitting concepts and participants to an unusual degree. That third factor is relevant because science is more broadly pursued in any society where more of the members participate in public discourse on a wider range of concepts. A greater diversity of hypotheses and innovations will emerge from such a discourse, and, moreover, the greater variety of skills and knowledge deployed by the greater diversity of participants will tend to produce more innovations in science as in other areas. Lloyd 1996 studies parallels with, and divergences from, early Chinese science. ¥   Furley, David J. 1989. Cosmic problems . Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press. Save Citation ÈExport Citation ÈE-mail Citation È Furley reprints sixteen of his essays, adding two new contributions, on everything from infinity to the void (half concern atomism), especially the dynamics of the centrifocal theory, AnaxagorasÕs system, motion in the void, the anti-teleological rainfall example in Aristotle, Physics  2.8, and the decisive difference between atomists and Aristotelians about cosmology. Available online for purchase. ¥   Gregory, Andrew. 2007.  Ancient Greek cosmogony  . London: Duckworth. Save Citation ÈExport Citation ÈE-mail Citation È Greek theories of the generation of the cosmos were greatly diverse and opened debates that persisted. In fourteen chapters, Gregory concisely surveys those theories, as found in myths, early philosophers and  those of the 5th century BCE  (e.g., Empedocles, Anaxagoras, the atomists), Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and the Christians and Neoplatonists of Late Antiquity. ¥   Keyser, Paul T. 2013. The name and nature of science: Authorship in social and evolutionary context. In Writing science: Medical and mathematical authorship in ancient Greece . Edited by Marcus Asper, 17Ð61. Science, Technology, and Medicine in Ancient Cultures 1. Berlin: De Gruyter. DOI: 10.1515/9783110295122Save Citation ÈExport Citation ÈE-mail Citation È Keyser argues that prosperity in commercially oriented Greek cities, and their practice of open debate, promoted the more rapid evolution of science. The Greek cultural space provided an unusually rich marketplace of ideas and practice, with a continuing flow of new data and ideas, in which science flourished. Available online for purchase. ¥   Lloyd, G. E. R. 1979. Magic, reason and experience: Studies in the srcin and development of Greek science . Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press. Save Citation ÈExport Citation ÈE-mail Citation È Lloyd studies the relation between ÒtraditionalÓ and ÒscientificÓ thought in Greek society, starting with the criticism of magic found in some texts, and how dialectic and politically motivated rhetoric promoted the development of scientific debate and then of empirical research. He makes heavy use of the Hippocratic corpus, Plato, and Aristotle. ¥   Lloyd, G. E. R. 1987. The revolutions of wisdom: Studies in the claims and practice of ancient Greek science . Berkeley: Univ. of California Press. Save Citation ÈExport Citation ÈE-mail Citation È LloydÕs Sather Lectures at Berkeley are here published as six chapters, in which he deepens Lloyd 1979 and studies how the Greek inquiry about nature diverged from, and adhered to, its antecedents. Lloyd focuses on the aims and ambitions of the ancient investigators, and their deployment or avoidance of dogmatism, metaphors, measurement, idealization, and simplification. Available online for purchase. ¥   Lloyd, G. E. R. 1996.  Adversaries and authorities: Investigations into ancient Greek and Chinese science . Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press. Save Citation ÈExport Citation ÈE-mail Citation È Lloyd here compares and contrasts the Greek and Chinese developments of science, gathering and updating published or delivered papers on topics such as causes and correlations, (in)finitude, heavenly harmonies, the politics of the body, and the title essay on adversaries and authorities. The sciences addressed are mathematics, astronomy, and medicine. Available online for purchase. ¥   Long, A. A., ed. 1999. Cambridge companion to early Greek philosophy  . Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press. DOI: 10.1017/CCOL0521441226Save Citation ÈExport Citation ÈE-mail Citation È The essays cover the Presocratic philosophers and major topics they raise: Long, warning against anachronism, opens by exploring the scope of their work, to give an account of the cosmos; other notable contributions include Algra on the beginnings of cosmology, Huffman on the Pythagoreans, Taylor on the atomists, and Vegetti on the important role of Herodotos and the Hippocratic corpus. ¥   Zhmud, Leonid J. 1997. Wissenschaft, Philosophie und Religion im frŸhen Pythagoreismus . Berlin: Akademie Verlag. Save Citation ÈExport Citation ÈE-mail Citation È See pp. 129Ð257. Zhmud provides an optimistic yet well-informed reading of the fragmentary sources, covering in the cited pages mathematics, harmonics, acoustics, astronomy, botany, and medicine. He credits Pythagoras with about as much as can reasonably be granted; other scholars would be more skeptical. ¥   Zhmud, Leonid J. 2006. The srcin of the history of science in classical antiquity  . Berlin: De Gruyter.  Save Citation ÈExport Citation ÈE-mail Citation È In this work centered on EudemosÕs fragmentary books on the history of geometry, arithmetic, and astronomy, Zhmud attempts to reconstruct their srcin and contents and to situate the Peripatetic historiographical project in its context, showing that Eudemos adhered to teleological progressivism. Zhmud narrows the history of science to investigations that would still pass muster as science. Translated and updated from the Russian srcinal. Available online for purchase.   SURVEYS Much of the study of ancient Greek science has centered on one or more of: the works of various early natural philosophers (the ÒPresocraticsÓ), Plato, Aristotle, or especially the four chief schools of Hellenistic philosophy. These four schools set the terms of the debate, and they dominated the intellectual world, from c.  300 BCE  to c.  200 CE : the Academy (i.e., Platonists), the Peripatos (i.e., Aristotelians), the Stoa (Stoics, i.e., followers of Zeno of Citium), and the Garden (Epicureans, i.e., followers of Epicurus). For the early thinkers, such questions as Òwhat is everything made of?Ó or Òwhat is the large-scale structure of the cosmos?Ó seemed primary. Later, as consensus evolved toward certain models in each field, the questions came to focus on issues within, or at the edges of, those consensus models. Only in Late Antiquity did a single unifying model emerge, which had the effect of reducing the range of questions available for debate. OÕMeara 1989 and Sorabji 1990survey the Late Antique period; and the transition to this period can be seen in the life and work of Galen: see Gill, et al. 2009. For surveys of the earlier periods, i.e., srcins to 2nd century CE , seeBowen 1991 and Rihll 1999. A different kind of survey is one that covers one or another of the four main schools, such as Dillon 2003 on the Academy, Leunissen 2010 on the Peripatos, Hahm 1977on the Stoa, and Asmis 1984 on Epicurus. ¥   Asmis, Elizabeth. 1984. EpicurusÕ scientific method  . Cornell Studies in Classical Philology 42. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press. Save Citation ÈExport Citation ÈE-mail Citation È Asmis argues that Epicurus proposed a coherent scientific method, starting from self-evident perceptible data and proceeding to observations based directly thereon, which are, in turn, signs of what is unobserved. Asmis then surveys the Epicurean results obtained by that method: atoms and the void, the boundless universe, the nature of motion, etc. ¥   Bowen, Alan C., ed. 1991. Science and philosophy in classical Greece . Essays from a conference, ÒThe interaction of science and philosophy in fifth and fourth century Greece,Ó held by the Institute for Research in Classical Philosophy and Science in 1986. Sources and Studies in the History and Philosophy of Classical Science 2. New York: Garland. Save Citation ÈExport Citation ÈE-mail Citation È Bowen edits twelve essays presented at a conference on Plato and Aristotle (Mourelatos, Owens, Turnbull), mathematics (Fowler, Knorr, Mueller), harmonics (Barker, Bowen), astronomy (Berggren), and medicine (Lennox, Lloyd). Kahn opened with ÒSome Remarks on the Origins of Greek Science and Philosophy,Ó defending the old thesis that the Milesian philosophers created it. ¥   Dillon, John M. 2003. The heirs of Plato: A study of the old Academy, 347Ð274 B.C  . Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press. Save Citation ÈExport Citation ÈE-mail Citation È Primarily on the early scholarchs, i.e., Speusippos (chapter 2: interested in classification, number, and physical theory), Xenokrates (chapter 3: systematizer of Platonism), and Polemon (chapter 4), as well as Philippos of Opous (astronomy and mathematics), Hermodoros of Syracuse, Herakleides of Pontus (astronomy), and Crantor of Soloi (all in chapter 5). ¥   Gill, Christopher, Tim Whitmarsh, and John Wilkins, eds. 2009. Galen and the world of knowledge . Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press. DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511770623Save Citation ÈExport Citation ÈE-mail Citation È A bakerÕs dozen articles from a conference held at the University of Exeter in 2005 broadly surveying the intellectual role and world of Galen; includes contributions by Nutton on GalenÕs library, by Manetti on  GalenÕs use of Hippocrates, by Chiaradonna on GalenÕs relation to ÒMiddleÓ Platonism, by van der Eijk on GalenÕs relation to AristotleÕs school, by Tielemann on GalenÕs relation to the Stoics, etc. ¥   Hahm, David E. 1977. The srcins of Stoic cosmology  . Columbus: Ohio State Univ. Press. Save Citation ÈExport Citation ÈE-mail Citation È The cyclic cosmology of Zeno was widely accepted from c.  300 BCE  to c.  200 CE , and Hahm attempts to deduce its parentage; he traces the Stoic conception of nature as craftsman to AristotleÕs pervasive crafts analogy, the cyclic return to Pythagoreans, and the role of  pneuma  to medical theories. ¥   Leunissen, Mariska. 2010. Explanation and teleology in AristotleÕs science of nature . Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press. DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511762499Save Citation ÈExport Citation ÈE-mail Citation È Beginning with AristotleÕs Physics , Leunissen explores that and five more of his works, On the Soul, Parts of  Animals, On the Heaven, Generation and Corruption , and Meteorologica , investigating how his teleology informs and produces his accounts of the physical world. Available online for purchase. ¥   OÕMeara, Dominic J. 1989. Pythagoras revived: Mathematics and philosophy in late antiquity  . Oxford: Clarendon. Save Citation ÈExport Citation ÈE-mail Citation È OÕMeara studies how the Pythagorean belief in the mathematical foundation of reality led Iamblichus to reinterpret PlatoÕs works via a version of Pythagoreanism; see especially chapters on ÒVarieties of Pythagoreanism in the Second and Third Centuries ADÓ and on the results as seen in ÒMathematics and Physics in Proclus.Ó ¥   Rihll, Tracey E. 1999. Greek science . Greece & Rome: New Surveys in the Classics 29. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press. Save Citation ÈExport Citation ÈE-mail Citation È This fine brief survey introduces readers to the range of Greek sciences, with chapters on physics (matter and its transformations), mathematics, astronomy, geography, and biology and medicine. Rihll opens with an insightful essay on the nature of Greek science, covers her material magisterially, and chooses her examples eclectically. ¥   Sorabji, Richard, ed. 1990.  Aristotle transformed: The ancient commentators and their influence . London: Duckworth. Save Citation ÈExport Citation ÈE-mail Citation È Sorabji edits twenty studies (six new, five revised) on the commentators from Alexander of Aphrodisias ( c.  200 CE ) through Plotinos ( c.  260 CE ) and Porphyry ( c.  280 CE ) to Philoponus ( c.  540 CE ) and Simplicius ( c.  535 CE ). Two studies are by Sorabji; see also Sharples on Alexander, P. Hadot on Porphyry, and I. Hadot on Simplicius.   Editions of Texts Making the texts of the works available is the first challenge, and the necessary foundation for any reliable results, of the study of ancient Greek science. Moreover, to make a given work as widely available as possible, a good translation, with suitable explanatory commentary, is needed. The process of creating an edition of an ancient text must take into account a wide variety of accidents, of transmission and preservation, and of alterations (ÒcorruptionsÓ) that occur when manuscripts are copied, and it is thus a complex, difficult, and tedious endeavor. We cannot know what the ancient writers meant until we can read what they wroteÑbut it can be very difficult to determine what they wrote if we do not understand what they meant. For works that came to be regarded as canonical, such as PlatoÕs Timaeus  or EuclidÕs Elements , good texts have long been available, but for many works the only edition is very old or not reliable. Likewise, reliable English translations are available only for a minority of the texts. The works listed here are recent exemplary efforts toward producing reliable texts, translations, and commentaries. Two series of editions

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