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By Harry Fawcett Buckley
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Additional resources for A short history of physics,
Hyman and Walsh 1983: 183) Abstraction consists in the selective attention to some subset of features of an individual thing. In individual humans, the form can be attended to without attention to the matter. And the faculty of reason can be considered apart from the animal nature.
Jaeger argued that Aristotle was a Platonist while he was at Plato’s Academy, but became more empirical after leaving the Academy (Barnes 1995: 16–17). The logical works of the Organon – the Categories and Posterior Analytics in particular – would then represent his earlier a priori approach, while the biological works – the Parts of Animals and the History of Animals – would represent his later, more empirical approach. The earlier works might then plausibly endorse the use of division to classify, based on a lingering Platonism, while the later works might reject this use, based on the difficulties made apparent by empirical study.
Many groups, as already noticed, present common attributes, that is to say, in some cases, absolutely identical – feet, feathers, scales, and the like; while in other groups the affections and organs are analogous. For instance, some groups have lungs, others have no lung, but an organ analogous to a lung in its place; some have blood, others have no blood, but a fluid analogous to blood, and with the same office. To treat of the common attributes separately in connexion with each individual groups would involve, as already suggested, useless iteration.