ClassicBiology

14 yrs and up - $175 – 14 week course – Prerequisite: Introductory Great Books 

In this course, students will learn and appreciate the ancient approach of the study of the natural world in the context of living things. This course will discuss the methods and fundamental questions of classic natural science. How do we come to know about the natural world? What are the principles of nature? What kind of knowing is instinct? What does it mean to be “alive”?

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Reading List

Week 1: The Insect World by Jean Henri Fabre, Ch. 1–3

Chapter 1 (which corresponds to the first four paragraphs of Chapter IX in The Glow Worm, and Chapter I of The Life of the Fly)
Chapter 2 (which corresponds to Chapter I and Chapter III of The Life of the Caterpillar)
Chapter 3 (which corresponds to Chapter V of The Life of the Fly)

Week 2: The Insect World, Ch. 4–6

Chapter 4 (which corresponds to Chapter VIII in The Hunting Wasps)
Chapter 5 (which corresponds to Chapter IX in The Hunting Wasps)
Chapter 6 (which corresponds to Chapter X in The Hunting Wasps)

Week 3: The Insect World, Ch. 7–8, 11

Chapter 7 (which corresponds to the first 4 paragraphs of Chapter XVII of The Sacred Beetle and Others)
Chapter 8 (which corresponds to the last paragraph on p. 117 to  the end of the first paragraph on p. 131 of The Mason-Wasps)
Chapter 11 (which corresponds to the beginning of Chapter I to the end of the first paragraph on p. 36 of The Sacred Beetle and Others)

Week 4: The Insect World, Ch. 9, 17, 23

Chapter 9 (which corresponds to Chapter XI of The Life of the Caterpillar)
Chapter 17 (which corresponds to the second-to-last paragraph on p. 76 to p. 81 in The Life of the Grasshopper)
Chapter 23 (which corresponds to the 12th paragraph to the paragraph beginning "Here, of a surety" in Chapter VI of The Mason-Bees)

Week 5: Microscopical Researches into the Structure and Growth of Animals & Plants by Theodor Schwann, pg. 161 - 166

Week 6: Microscopical Researches…, pg. 186 - 199

Week 7: Cellular Pathology by Rudolf Virchow, pg. 3 - 12

Week 8: Cellular Pathology, pg. 12 - 23

Week 9: The Lifeless World of Biology by Charles De Koninck

Week 10: The Lifeless World of Biology

Week 11: De Anima” - Book III Part 12 434a23–435a10 & “Commentary on De Anima” - Book III Lecture 17 by Aristotle & Thomas Aquinas

(NOTE: both readings are at the same location. The Aristotle begins “All living things have the vegetative soul;” and is followed by Lecture 17 of Thomas Aquinas.)

Week 12: On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, Introduction & Ch. 1-4

Week 13: On the Origin of Species, Ch. 6, 7, 9, 13

Week 14: Experiments in Plant Hybridization by Gregor Mendel (This web page has helpful graphics to accompany the reading.)