Greek Philosophical Science of Categorization was Aesthetic
It is not meant that the Greeks had more respect for the function of perception through the senses than has modern science, but that, judged from present practice, they had altogether too mucfy respect for the material of direct, unanalyzed sense-perception.
They were aware of its defects from the standpoint of knowledge. But they supposed that they could correct these defects and supplement their lack by purely logical or "rational" means. They supposed that thought could take the material supplied by ordinary perception, eliminate varying and hence contingent qualities, and thus finally reach the fixed and immutable form which makes particulars have the character they havej define this form as the essence or true reality of the particular things in question, and then gather a group of perceived objects into a species which is as eternal as its particular exemplifications are perishable. The passage from ordinary perception to scientific knowledge did not therefore demand the introduction of actual, overt and observed changes into the material of sense perception. Modern science, with its changes in the subject-matter of direct perception effected by the use of apparatus, gets away not from observed material as such, but from the qualitative characteristics of things as they are originally and "naturally" observed.
It may thus be fairly asserted that the "categories" of Greek description and explanation of natural phenomena were esthetic in character j for perception of the esthetic sort is interested in things in their immediate qualitative traits. The logical features they depended upon to confer scientific form upon the material of observation were harmony, proportion or measure, symmetry: these constitute the "logos" that renders phenomena capable of report in rational discourse. In virtue of these properties, superimposed upon phenomena but thought to be elicited from them, natural objects are knowable. Thus the Greeks employed thinking not as a means of changing given objects of observation so as to get at the conditions and effects of their occurrence, but to impose upon them certain static properties not found in them in their changeable occurrence. The essence of the static properties conferred upon them was harmony of form and pattern. Craftsmen, architects, sculptors, gymnasts, poets had taken raw material and converted it into finished forms marked by symmetry and proportion j they accomplished this task without the prior disintegrative reduction which characterizes modern making in the factory. Greek thinkers performed a like task for nature as a whole. Instead, however, of employing the material tools of the crafts, they depended upon thought alone. They borrowed the form provided them in Greek art in abstraction from its material appliances. They aimed at constructing out of nature, as observed, an artistic whole for the eye of the soul to behold. Thus for science nature was a cosmos. It was composed, but it was not a composite of elements. That is, it was a qualitative whole, a whole as is a drama, a statue or a temple, in virtue of a pervading and dominant qualitative unity j it was not an aggregate of homogenous units externally arranged in different modes. Design was the form and pattern intrinsically characteristic of things in their fixed kinds, not something first formed in a designing mind and then imposed from without.
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Science (0.974452): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Perception (0.825435): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Scientific method (0.748671): dbpedia | freebase
Nature (0.737819): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Aesthetics (0.608666): dbpedia | freebase
Observation (0.552985): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Cognition (0.546881): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Sense (0.543523): dbpedia | freebase