Geoffrey Lloyd engages in a wide-ranging exploration of what we can learn from the study of ancient civilizations that is relevant to fundamental problems, both intellectual and moral, that we still face today. These include, in philosophy of science, the question of the incommensurability of paradigms, the debate between realism and relativism or constructivism, and between correspondence and coherence conceptions of truth. How far is it possible to arrive at an understanding of alien systems of belief? Is it possible to (...) talk meaningfully of 'science' and of its various constituent disciplines, 'astronomy' 'geography' 'anatomy' and so on, in the ancient world? Are logic and its laws universal? Is there one ontology - a single world - to which all attempts at understanding must be considered to be directed? When we encounter apparently very different views of reality, how far can that be put down to a difference in conceptions of what needs explaining, or of what counts as an explanation, or to different preferred modes of reasoning or styles of inquiry? Do the notions of truth and belief represent reliable cross-cultural universals? In another area, what can ancient history teach us about today's social and political problems? Are the discourses of human nature and of human rights universally applicable? What political institutions do we need to help secure equity and justice within nation states and between them? Lloyd sets out to answer all these questions, and to argue that the study of the science and culture of ancient Greece and China provided a precious resource in order to advance a wealth of modern debates. (shrink)
Taking a set of central issues from ancient Greek medicine and biology, this book studies first the interaction between scientific theorising and folklore or popular assumptions, and second the ideological character of scientific inquiry. Topics of current interest in the philosphy and sociology of science illuminated here include the relationship between primitive thought and early science, and the roles of the consensus of the scientific community, of tradition and of the authority of the written text, in the development of science.
This is a wide-ranging exploration of the similarities and differences between ancient Greek and ancient Chinese science and philosophy, concentrating on the period down to AD 300. Professor Lloyd studies such questions as the attitudes towards authority, the practice of confrontational debate, the role of methodological inquiries, the development of techniques of persuasion, the assumptions made about causal explanation and the focus of interest in the study of the heavens and in that of the human body. In each case the (...) Greek and Chinese ways of posing the problems are carefully distinguished to avoid applying either Greek categories to Chinese thought or vice versa. Professor Lloyd shows that the science produced in each ancient civilisation differs in important respects and relates those differences to the values and social institutions in question. (shrink)
‘Saving the appearances’, , is a slogan that, in its time, stood or was made to stand for many different methodological positions in many different branches of ancient natural science. It is not my aim, in this paper, to attempt to tackle the subject as a whole. I shall concentrate on just one inquiry, astronomy. Nor, with astronomy, can I do justice to all the complexities of what was certainly one of the central methodological issues, if not the central issue, (...) in the history of ancient theoretical astronomy. I have a quite limited aim, to examine the foundations, and test the applicability, of a widespread and influential line of interpretation of ancient Greek astronomy according to which it was essentially, or at least predominantly, what we may call ‘instrumentalist’ in character—that is, broadly speaking, that Greek astronomical theories were devices or fictions put forward purely for the sake of calculations with no claims to correspond with physical reality. (shrink)
This original and lively book uses texts from ancient medicine, epic, lyric, tragedy, historiography, philosophy, and religion to explore the influence of Greek ideas on health and disease on Greek thought. Fundamental issues are deeply implicated: causation and responsibility, purification and pollution, the mind-body relationship and gender differences, authority and the expert, reality and appearances, good government, and good and evil themselves.
We tend to assume that our map of the intellectual disciplines is valid cross-culturally. G. E. R. Lloyd challenges this in relation to eight main areas of human endeavour, namely philosophy, mathematics, history, medicine, art, law, religion, and science, by examining how the disciplines were conceived and developed in different times and places.
This piece is a response to Barbara Herrnstein Smith's article, “The Chimera of Relativism: A Tragicomedy,” in the Common Knowledge symposium on “comparative relativism.” The theme is complexity—as distinct from simple contrast or binarism of any kind—similarities as well as differences are observed in ancient Chinese and ancient Greek responses to cultural difference; also the significantly different views of these matters among the Greek philosophers. In the same vein, discussing studies of cultural/linguistic variability or counterclaimed universality among humans in color (...) perception, the essay stresses the complexity of such cognitive activities, including the ongoing interactions among the multiple variables presumably involved. Noting the challenge that such intrinsic complexity and inevitable interactivity present to standard dichotomies of universality and cultural relativity, the essay concludes that these and other familiar dualisms have been made obsolete by a century of research in genetics, ethnography, and related empirical disciplines. (shrink)
Dr Lloyd writes for those who want to discover and explore Aristotle's work for themselves. He acts as mediator between Aristotle and the modern reader. The book is divided into two parts. The first tells the story of Aristotle's intellectual development as far as it can be reconstructed; the second presents the fundamentals of his thought in the main fields of inquiry which interested him: logic and metaphysics, physics, psychology, ethics, politics, and literary criticism. The final chapter considers the unity (...) and coherence of Aristotle's philosophy, and records briefly his later influence on European thought. This is a concise and lucid account of the work of a difficult and profound thinker. Dr Lloyd's business is only with the essentials; but he does not shirk the difficulties which arise in their interpretation, nor does he invest Aristotle with a spurious modernity. (shrink)
The question of determining the genuine works of Hippocrates, a topic already much discussed by the ancient commentators, still continues to be actively debated, although the disagreements among scholars remain, it seems, almost as wide as ever. In comparatively recent times, Edelstein's IIEPI AEPQN and two subsequent studies of his written in the 1930s and marked a turning-point in that they presented a particularly clear and comprehensive statement of the sceptical view, according to which Hippocrates is, as Wilamowitz put it (...) long ago, ‘ein beriihmter Name ohne den Hintergrund irgend einer Schrift’. (shrink)