Ecology in ancient greece

Inquiry 18 (2):115 – 125 (1975)
This article investigates the characteristic attitudes of the Greeks toward nature, which formed the perceptual framework for their ecological thinking. Two major attitudes are discerned. One regarded nature as the theatre of the gods, whose interplay produced observed phenomena, but whose localization gave them particular, restricted roles. The other attitude viewed nature as the theatre of reason, and made the beginnings of ecological thought possible. The contributions of several Greek forerunners in the field of ecology are characterized. The most consistent, balanced ecological writer in ancient Greece was Theophrastus, but his conception of an autonomous nature, interacting with man, was overshadowed in the history of ancient and medieval thought by the anthropocentric teleology of Aristotle.
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