Cover: Aristotle to Zoos: A Philosophical Dictionary of Biology, from Harvard University PressCover: Aristotle to Zoos in PAPERBACK

Aristotle to Zoos

A Philosophical Dictionary of Biology

Add to Cart

Product Details

PAPERBACK

$45.50 • £36.95 • €41.00

ISBN 9780674045378

Publication Date: 03/15/1985

Short

320 pages

6 x 9 inches

2 tables, 5 line illustrations

World

In the spirit of Voltaire—and occasionally in the spirit of P. G. Wodehouse—P. B. and J. S. Medawar have crafted for the life sciences a source of reference that is meant for browsing, a book both authoritative and filled with delights. The authors’ breadth of knowledge is encyclopedic— arranged, appropriately enough, from A to Z—but more than that, they illuminate the ideas of biology with wit and intelligence and uncommon good sense. They bridge the chasm in our culture between the technically and the humanistically trained, breaking the code of jargon that limits access to scientific understanding. The Medawars’ special gift is to offer, at the same time, a pleasurable introduction for the layman and a source of new insight for the specialist.

In this book we can find a clear and meaningful definition of interferon, a useful explanation of the immune system, and thoughtful essays on sociobiology, eugenics, and aging. But we also find: “It is a popular fallacy that chewing gum regains its flavor if removed from the mouth and parked, say, under a chair.”

Whether in a serious discussion of cancer or a whimsical reflection on “chicken and egg” imagery in science, the Medawars’ blend of fact, literary allusion, historical anecdote, mythical and folk tradition, and even professional gossip is a rewarding exercise in biology as a humanistic endeavor.

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students, by Anthony Abraham Jack, from Harvard University Press

Book Club Spotlight: The Privileged Poor

As students around the world deliberate their options for further education, only made more challenging in a pandemic, we’re reminded that getting in is only half the battle. In The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students, Anthony Abraham Jack asks how—and why—do disadvantaged students struggle at elite colleges? What can schools can do differently if these students are to thrive? As back to school season begins, we spoke to two university book clubs that read and discussed The Privileged Poor this summer.