Original and penetrating, this book investigates of the notion of inference from signs, which played a central role in ancient philosophical and scientific method. It examines an important chapter in ancient epistemology: the debates about the nature of evidence and of the inferences based on it--or signs and sign-inferences as they were called in antiquity. As the first comprehensive treatment of this topic, it fills an important gap in the histories of science and philosophy.
Developments in the Academy from the time of Arcesilaus to that of Carneades and his successors tend to be classified under two heads: scepticism and probabilism. Carneades was principally responsible for the Academy's view of the latter subject, and our sources credit him with an elaborate discussion of it. The evidence furnished by those sources is, however, frequently confusing and sometimes self-contradictory. My aim in this paper is to extract a coherent account of Carneades' theory of probability from the testimony (...) with a further end in view, namely to understand better the uses to which that theory was put by the Academy in its debate with the Stoa. Though it is not its principal object, the investigation should also help make clear how the Academy's scepticism and its probabilism were related to each other as parts of a single consistent practice of philosophy. (shrink)
The articles examines how failure, especially in so-called 'stochastic' arts or sciences like medicine and navigation stimulated reflections about the nature of the knowledge required of a genuine art (techne) or science.
Community supported agriculture programs are transforming the way people relate to food and agriculture. Many researchers have considered the transformative potential of CSAs on economic, social, and environmental relations. They illustrate how participants are embedded in broader political economic transformations. The same focus, however, has not been given to CSAs’ transformative impact on individual shareholders—especially in terms of their relationship to food and health. We draw together literatures from behavioral economics, econometrics, and political ecology to evaluate the potential impacts of (...) CSA participation on food lifestyle behaviors. Using primary data drawn from a survey of four groups with distinct food acquisition environments, we compare respondents’ self-assessed food-related behaviors along three different categories: produce versus processed food consumption, food away from home consumption, and food acquisition and interest in nutrition. By documenting between-group differences, we confirm that shareholders display significant absolute differences to other groups along numerous indicators related to the above-stated categories and in general assessments of health. These differences correspond directionally to behaviors public health officials identify as correlated to beneficial health outcomes. We conclude by theorizing how the food environments delineated by a CSA exchange relationship provide unique reflexive opportunities for participants to develop diverse food-related skills and behaviors. (shrink)
Thousands of texts discuss Egytpain cosmology and cosmogony. James Allen has selected sixteen to translate and discuss in order to shed light on one of the questions that clearly preoccupied ancient intellectuals; the origins of the world.
David Bronstein’s book tackles Aristotle’s account, as presented in the Posterior Analytics, of knowledge, or rather a privileged form of it, ‘scientific knowledge’ or ‘understanding.’ We know in this way by grasping arguments of a certain kind, demonstrations, for which reason Aristotle devotes much of his attention in the Posterior Analytics to demonstrative argument. The subject is as important as anything in Aristotle, and it presents challenges as difficult as any confronting his interpreters elsewhere, which Bronstein’s book tackles skillfully and (...) to illuminating effect. The book is especially noteworthy for the high degree of systematic unity it attributes to the Posterior Analytics. The solutions... (shrink)
The historical use of literature poses a methodological challenge, used directly as a document, fiction is unreliable. Postformalist criticism and theory suggest approaches to the novel more appropriate than those historians have traditionally used. Historians should not conceive of the text as document but think of it instead as a structuralist system, discourse, or code. Reader-response criticism merits the historian's serious attention; by studying how readers in the past responded to fiction, the social historian may read the novel to understand (...) its audience and the socially significant conventions it preferred in the novel. The novel is a mental world with an actual historical context peopled by ordinary readers through which mentalities can be investigated. (shrink)
Of the many kinds of documents to have survived from ancient Egypt, only those concerning mathematical problems or medicine have usually been considered in studies of the history of science—probably because, unlike other Egyptian texts, they deal with their subject in relatively objective terms, an approach that has traditionally defined what is meant by “science.” Medical texts are more numerous than the mathematical documents. They are preserved on papyri and ostraca dating from the Middle Kingdom to the Roman Period ; (...) the most extensive and important of them were written during the New Kingdom and Ramesside Period, about 1550 to 1250 b.c.This corpus was published as a whole and extensively analyzed in a nine‐volume series entitled Grundriß der Medizin der Alten Ägypter . This series, the work of three successive authors, Hermann Grapow, Hildegard von Deines, and Wolfhart Westendorf, includes a hieroglyphic transcription of the texts together with translations, dictionaries, and a grammar, as well as studies of the documents themselves and what they reveal of ancient Egyptian medical knowledge and practice. Westendorf's recent publication is essentially a summary of this series. As such, it is a valuable resource for Egyptologists and historians of science alike, both because the original series is no longer generally available and because it incorporates advances in our knowledge of the Egyptian language and culture over the past quarter century.A short discussion of the character of Egyptian medicine serves as the introduction to the work, the body of which is divided into seven parts. Part 1 deals with the sources themselves and describes the history, contents, and publication of each document; a translation is also provided for some of the briefer texts. Although this section is essentially a catalogue, it contains one of the rare instances in which Westendorf's unparalleled knowledge of the genre can be questioned. Westendorf describes Papyrus Edwin Smith as containing “numerous” instances of Old Egyptian forms and spellings , thus perpetuating the notion that the document was originally composed during the Old Kingdom. In fact, the grammar of the text is that of early Middle Egyptian. Accordingly, although it is the oldest of the surviving medical texts, it is certainly no older than the very end of the Old Kingdom and probably at least a century younger.In Part 2 Westendorf examines the genre of medical documents as a whole. He divides the texts into several different categories: instructions, prognoses, prescriptions, magic, and miscellany. The third part contains an exhaustive analysis of the various ailments discussed in the medical texts, and the fourth deals both with the role of the physician in Egyptian society and, more extensively, with the methods and medicaments used in the treatment of illnesses and injuries. These two parts will be of particular interest to physicians and scholars of the history of medicine, along with Part 5 , in which Westendorf describes survivals of Egyptian medicine in the Christian period and its influence on Greek medicine.Parts 6 and 7 are presented in the second volume, paginated sequentially with the first. Part 6 contains a full translation of the two most important medical texts, Papyrus Ebers and Papyrus Edwin Smith. The final part is devoted to references and includes a bibliography, lists of abbreviations and citations, and several extensive indexes.Westendorf's “handbook” is not only the latest contribution to the study of ancient Egyptian medicine but also the most valuable to appear since the publication of the series on which it is based—and to which Westendorf himself contributed in no small part. As such it deserves a place in the libraries of Egyptologists and historians of science alike. (shrink)
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