This book challenges several widespread views concerning Aristotle's methods and practices of scientific and philosophical research. Taking central topics in psychology, zoology, astronomy and politics, Professor Lloyd explores generally unrecognised tensions between Aristotle's deeply held a priori convictions and his remarkable empirical honesty in the face of complexities in the data or perceived difficult or exceptional cases. The picture that emerges of Aristotle's actual engagement in scientific research and of his own reflections on that research is substantially more complex than (...) is usually allowed. (shrink)
Western philosophy and science are responsible for constructing some powerful tools of investigation, aiming at discovering the truth, delivering robust explanations, verifying conjectures, showing that inferences are sound and demonstrating results conclusively. By contrast reasoning that depends on analogies has often been viewed with suspicion. Professor Lloyd first explores the origins of those Western ideals, criticises some of their excesses and redresses the balance in favour of looser, admittedly non-demonstrative analogical reasoning. For this he takes examples both from ancient Greek (...) and Chinese thought and from the materials of recent ethnography to show how different ancient and modern cultures have developed different styles of reasoning. He also develops two original but controversial ideas, that of semantic stretch and the multidimensionality of reality. (shrink)
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)
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 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.
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)
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 introduction to the Common Knowledge symposium titled “Comparative Relativism” outlines a variety of intellectual contexts where placing the unlikely companion terms comparison and relativism in conjunction offers analytical purchase. If comparison, in the most general sense, involves the investigation of discrete contexts in order to elucidate their similarities and differences, then relativism, as a tendency, stance, or working method, usually involves the assumption that contexts exhibit, or may exhibit, radically different, incomparable, or incommensurable traits. Comparative studies are required to (...) treat their objects as alike, at least in some crucial respects; relativism indicates the limits of this practice. Jensen argues that this seeming paradox is productive, as he moves across contexts, from Lévi-Strauss's analysis of comparison as an anthropological method to Peter Galison's history of physics, and on to the anthropological, philosophical, and historical examples offered in symposium contributions by Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Marilyn Strathern, and Isabelle Stengers. Comparative relativism is understood by some to imply that relativism comes in various kinds and that these have multiple uses, functions, and effects, varying widely in different personal, historical, and institutional contexts that can be compared and contrasted. Comparative relativism is taken by others to encourage a “comparison of comparisons,” in order to relativize what different peoples—say, Western academics and Amerindian shamans—compare things “for.” Jensen concludes that what is compared and relativized in this symposium are the methods of comparison and relativization themselves. He ventures that the contributors all hope that treating these terms in juxtaposition may allow for new configurations of inquiry. (shrink)
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)
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)