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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/816

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the use of intoxicating liquor are placed where they belong—that is to say, on those who undertake to make a profit from supplying it; and they are under inducements to reduce such burdens and expenses to a minimum. It may be that no one will be willing to take the risk of engaging in the business with these liabilities, but for this I care not, for we should then have an unobjectionable form of prohibition.

 

ARISTOTLE AS A ZOÖLOGIST.
By FREDERIK A. FERNALD.

FOR over twenty centuries the philosophical writings of Aristotle have sustained his reputation as one of the greatest thinkers that the world has ever seen. Although he is generally thought of as a metaphysician and a logician, these names by no means denote the whole field of his labors. It was common for scholars in his age to take all knowledge for their province, and the limited attainments of the time allowed one writer to produce exhaustive treatises on every branch. To discover and state the laws of deduction with a completeness and accuracy which have left nothing to be added or taken away since would seem to be a sufficient labor for one man; but, besides doing this, Aristotle wrote considerable works on ethics, politics, rhetoric, physics, astronomy, physiology, and zoology. There is not the same unanimity, however, in estimating his scientific achievements as in the opinion of his writings on logic and speculative philosophy.

Aristotle's "History of Animals," says Buffon, "is, perhaps, even now the best work of its kind; he probably knew animals better, and under more general views, than we do now. Although the moderns have added their discoveries to those of the ancients, I do not believe that we have many works on natural history that we can place above those of Aristotle and Pliny." The laudatory language of the illustrious Cuvier is equally strong. Of the "History of Animals" he writes: "I can not read this book without being ravished with astonishment. Indeed, it is impossible to conceive how a single man was able to collect and compare the multitude of particular facts implied in the numerous general rules and aphorisms contained in this work, and of which his predecessors never had any idea." Again, "Not only did he know a great number of species, but he studied and described them after a vast and luminous plan which, perhaps, none of his successors have approached. . . . Everywhere Aristotle observes facts with attention." On the other hand, Lewes, in his essay on Aristotle, says: "It is difficult to speak of Aristotle without exaggeration—he is felt to be so mighty, and is known to be so wrong. History, surveying the whole scope of his pretensions, gazes on him with