Literature, most generically, is any body of written works. More restrictively, literature refers to writing considered to be an art form or any single writing deemed to have artistic or intellectual value due to deploying language in ways that differ from ordinary usage, its Latin root literatura/litteratura was used to refer to all written accounts. The concept has changed meaning over time to include texts that are spoken or sung, non-written verbal art forms. Developments in print technology have allowed an ever-growing distribution and proliferation of written works, culminating in electronic literature. Literature is classified according to whether it is fiction or non-fiction, whether it is poetry or prose, it can be further distinguished according to major forms such as short story or drama. Definitions of literature have varied over time: it is a "culturally relative definition". In Western Europe prior to the 18th century, literature denoted all writing. A more restricted sense of the term emerged during the Romantic period, in which it began to demarcate "imaginative" writing.
Contemporary debates over what constitutes literature can be seen as returning to older, more inclusive notions. The value judgment definition of literature considers it to cover those writings that possess high quality or distinction, forming part of the so-called belles-lettres tradition; this sort of definition is that used in the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition when it classifies literature as "the best expression of the best thought reduced to writing." Problematic in this view is that there is no objective definition of what constitutes "literature": anything can be literature, anything, universally regarded as literature has the potential to be excluded, since value judgments can change over time. The formalist definition is. Jim Meyer considers this a useful characteristic in explaining the use of the term to mean published material in a particular field, as such writing must use language according to particular standards; the problem with the formalist definition is that in order to say that literature deviates from ordinary uses of language, those uses must first be identified.
Etymologically, the term derives from Latin literatura/litteratura "learning, a writing, grammar," "writing formed with letters," from litera/littera "letter". In spite of this, the term has been applied to spoken or sung texts. Literary genre is a mode of categorizing literature. A French term for "a literary type or class". However, such classes are subject to change, have been used in different ways in different periods and traditions; the history of literature follows the development of civilization. When defined as written work, Ancient Egyptian literature, along with Sumerian literature, are considered the world's oldest literatures; the primary genres of the literature of Ancient Egypt—didactic texts and prayers, tales—were written entirely in verse. Most Sumerian literature is poetry, as it is written in left-justified lines, could contain line-based organization such as the couplet or the stanza, Different historical periods are reflected in literature. National and tribal sagas, accounts of the origin of the world and of customs, myths which sometimes carry moral or spiritual messages predominate in the pre-urban eras.
The epics of Homer, dating from the early to middle Iron age, the great Indian epics of a later period, have more evidence of deliberate literary authorship, surviving like the older myths through oral tradition for long periods before being written down. Literature in all its forms can be seen as written records, whether the literature itself be factual or fictional, it is still quite possible to decipher facts through things like characters' actions and words or the authors' style of writing and the intent behind the words; the plot is for more than just entertainment purposes. Studying and analyzing literature becomes important in terms of learning about human history. Literature provides insights about how society has evolved and about the societal norms during each of the different periods all throughout history. For instance, postmodern authors argue that history and fiction both constitute systems of signification by which we make sense of the past, it is asserted that both of these are "discourses, human constructs, signifying systems, both derive their major claim to truth from that identity."
Literature provides views of life, crucial in obtaining truth and in understanding human life throughout history and its periods. It explores the possibilities of living in terms of certain values under given social and historical circumstances. Literature helps us understand references made in more modern literature because authors reference mythology and other old religious texts to describe ancient civi
East Asian cultural sphere
The "East Asian cultural sphere" or "Sinosphere" are the countries and regions in East Asia that were influenced by the Chinese culture. Other names for the concept include the Sinic world, the Confucian world, the Taoist world, the Chinese cultural sphere, though the last is used to refer to the Sinophone world: the areas which speak varieties of Chinese; the East Asian cultural sphere shares a Confucian ethical philosophy, Taoism and a common writing system. The core regions of the East Asian cultural sphere are China, Korea and Vietnam; the terms East Asian cultural sphere and "Chinese character cultural sphere" are used interchangeably with "Sinosphere" but have different denotations. The British historian Arnold J. Toynbee listed the Far Eastern civilization as one of the main civilizations outlined in his book, A Study of History, he included Japan and Korea in his Far Eastern civilization, proposed that it grew out of the Sinic civilization that originated in the Yellow River basin. Toynbee compared the relationship between the Sinic and Far Eastern civilization with that of the Hellenic and Western civilizations.
According to Toynbee, the Hellenic and Western civilizations had an "apparentation-affiliation" relationship, while the Far Eastern world was controlled by the "ghost" of the "Sinic universal state." The Japanese historian Nishijima Sadao conceived a Chinese or East Asian cultural sphere isolated from other cultures. According to Nishijima, this cultural sphere shared the philosophy of Confucianism, the religion of Buddhism, similar political and social structures, his cultural sphere includes China, Korea and areas between Mongolia and the Himalayas. The American Sinologist and historian Edwin O. Reischauer grouped China and Japan together into a cultural sphere that he called the Sinic world; these countries are centralized states. Reischauer states that this culture originated in Northern China, compared the relationship between Northern China and East Asia to that of Greco-Roman civilization and Europe; the elites of East Asia were tied together through a common written language based on Chinese characters, much in the way that Latin had functioned in Europe.
The American political scientist Samuel P. Huntington considered the Sinic world as one of many civilizations in his The Clash of Civilizations, he notes that "all scholars recognize the existence of either a single distinct Chinese civilization dating back to at least 1500 B. C. and a thousand years earlier, or of two Chinese civilizations one succeeding the other in the early centuries of the Christian epoch." He comments that he used the term "Confucian", but "Sinic" is more accurate because it describes "the common culture of China and the Chinese communities in Southeast Asia and elsewhere outside of China as well as the related cultures of Vietnam and Korea."Huntington's Sinic civilization includes China, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan and Chinese communities in Southeast Asia. Of the many civilizations that Huntington discusses, the Sinic world is the only one, based on a cultural, rather than religious, identity. Huntington's theory was that in a post-Cold War world, humanity "identify with cultural groups: tribes, ethnic groups, religious communities, at the broadest level, civilizations."
He portrayed the cultural sphere's political culture as one with "little room for social or political pluralism and the division of power" with "international politics as hierarchical because their domestic policies are." Huntington argued that the Sinic world would oppose the West's hegemony in Asia through forming an alliance with the Islamic world. Countries from the East Asian cultural sphere share a common architectural style stemming from the architecture of ancient China. Buddhism The countries of China, Korea and Vietnam share a history of Mahayana Buddhism. Taoism The countries of China, Korea and Vietnam have been influenced by Taoism; the countries of China, Korea and Vietnam share a Confucian philosophical worldview. Confucianism is a humanistic philosophy that believes that human beings are teachable and perfectible through personal and communal endeavour including self-cultivation and self-creation. Confucianism focuses on the cultivation of virtue and maintenance of ethics, the most basic of which are rén, yì, lǐ.
Ren is an obligation of altruism and humaneness for other individuals, yi is the upholding of righteousness and the moral disposition to do good, li is a system of norms and propriety that determines how a person should properly act in everyday life. Mid-Imperial Chinese philosophy is defined by the development of Neo-Confucianism. During the Tang dynasty, Buddhism from Nepal became a prominent philosophical and religious discipline. Neo-Confucianism has its origins in the Tang dynasty; the Song dynasty philosopher Zhou Dunyi is seen as the first true "pioneer" of Neo-Confucianism, using Daoist metaphysics as a framework for his ethical philosophy. Elsewhere in East Asia, Japanese philosophy began to develop as indigenous Shinto beliefs fused with Buddhism and other schools of Chinese philosophy. Similar to Japan, in Korean philosophy elements of Shamanism were integrated into the Neo-Confucianism imported from China. In Vietnam, neo-Confucianism was developed into Vietnamese own Tam giáo as well, along with indigenous Vietnamese beliefs and Mahayana Buddhism.
East Asian literary culture was based on the use of Literary
Liberal arts education
Liberal arts education can claim to be the oldest programme of higher education in Western history. It has its origin in the attempt to discover first principles –'those universal principles which are the condition of the possibility of the existence of anything and everything'; the liberal arts known as the seven liberal arts, are those subjects or skills that in classical antiquity were considered essential for a free person to know in order to take an active part in civic life, something that included participating in public debate, defending oneself in court, serving on juries, most military service. Grammar and rhetoric were the core liberal arts, while arithmetic, the theory of music, astronomy were the following stage of education. Liberal arts today can refer to academic subjects such as literature, philosophy and social and physical sciences. For both interpretations, the term refers to matters not relating to the professional, vocational, or technical curriculum. Rooted in the basic curriculum – the enkuklios paideia or "education in a circle" – of late Classical and Hellenistic Greece, the "liberal arts" or "liberal pursuits" were so called in formal education during the Roman Empire.
The first recorded use of the term "liberal arts" occurs in De Inventione by Marcus Tullius Cicero, but it is unclear if he created the term. Seneca the Younger discusses liberal arts in education from a critical Stoic point of view in Moral Epistles; the exact classification of the liberal arts varied however in Roman times, it was only after Martianus Capella in the 5th century AD influentially brought the seven liberal arts as bridesmaids to the Marriage of Mercury and Philology, that they took on canonical form. The four'scientific' artes – music, arithmetic and astronomy – were known from the time of Boethius onwards as the quadrivium. After the 9th century, the remaining three arts of the'humanities' – grammar and rhetoric – were grouped as the trivium, it was in that two-fold form that the seven liberal arts were studied in the medieval Western university. During the Middle Ages, logic came to take predominance over the other parts of the trivium. In the Renaissance, the Italian humanists and their Northern counterparts, despite in many respects continuing the traditions of the Middle Ages, reversed that process.
Re-christening the old trivium with a new and more ambitious name: Studia humanitatis, increasing its scope, they downplayed logic as opposed to the traditional Latin grammar and rhetoric, added to them history and moral philosophy, with a new emphasis on poetry as well. The educational curriculum of humanism spread throughout Europe during the sixteenth century and became the educational foundation for the schooling of European elites, the functionaries of political administration, the clergy of the various recognized churches, the learned professions of law and medicine; the ideal of a liberal arts, or humanistic education grounded in classical languages and literature, persisted until the middle of the twentieth century. Some subsections of the liberal arts are in the trivium – the verbal arts of grammar and rhetoric – and other parts are in the quadrivium – the numerical arts of music and arithmetic, the graphical and mathematical art of Geometry; each subsection includes the interpretation of information.
Academic areas that are associated with the term liberal arts include: Arts Philosophy Religious studies Social science Mathematics Natural Sciences For example, the core courses for Georgetown University's Doctor of Liberal Studies program cover philosophy, history, art and the social sciences. Wesleyan University's Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program includes courses in visual arts, art history and professional writing, history, film, education, biology and astronomy; the liberal arts education at the secondary school level prepares the student for higher education at a university. They are thus meant for the more academically minded students. In addition to the usual curriculum, students of a liberal arts education study Latin and Ancient Greek; some liberal arts education provide general education, others have a specific focus. The four traditional branches are: humanities education modern languages lower level mathematical-scientific education economical and social-scientific education Curricula differ from school to school, but include language, informatics, chemistry, geography, music, philosophy, civics / citizenship, social sciences, several foreign languages.
Schools concentrate not only on academic subjects, but on producing well-rounded individuals, so physical education and religion or ethics are compulsory in non-denominational schools which are prevalent. For example, the German constitution guarantees the separ
Geography is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the word γεωγραφία was Eratosthenes. Geography is an all-encompassing discipline that seeks an understanding of Earth and its human and natural complexities—not where objects are, but how they have changed and come to be. Geography is defined in terms of two branches: human geography and physical geography. Human geography deals with the study of people and their communities, cultures and interactions with the environment by studying their relations with and across space and place. Physical geography deals with the study of processes and patterns in the natural environment like the atmosphere, hydrosphere and geosphere; the four historical traditions in geographical research are: spatial analyses of natural and the human phenomena, area studies of places and regions, studies of human-land relationships, the Earth sciences. Geography has been called "the world discipline" and "the bridge between the human and the physical sciences".
Geography is a systematic study of its features. Traditionally, geography has been associated with place names. Although many geographers are trained in toponymy and cartology, this is not their main preoccupation. Geographers study the space and the temporal database distribution of phenomena and features as well as the interaction of humans and their environment; because space and place affect a variety of topics, such as economics, climate and animals, geography is interdisciplinary. The interdisciplinary nature of the geographical approach depends on an attentiveness to the relationship between physical and human phenomena and its spatial patterns. Names of places...are not geography...know by heart a whole gazetteer full of them would not, in itself, constitute anyone a geographer. Geography has higher aims than this: it seeks to classify phenomena, to compare, to generalize, to ascend from effects to causes, and, in doing so, to trace out the laws of nature and to mark their influences upon man.
This is ` a description of the world' --. In a word Geography is a Science—a thing not of mere names but of argument and reason, of cause and effect. Just as all phenomena exist in time and thus have a history, they exist in space and have a geography. Geography as a discipline can be split broadly into two main subsidiary fields: human geography and physical geography; the former focuses on the built environment and how humans create, view and influence space. The latter examines the natural environment, how organisms, soil and landforms produce and interact; the difference between these approaches led to a third field, environmental geography, which combines physical and human geography and concerns the interactions between the environment and humans. Physical geography focuses on geography as an Earth science, it aims to understand the physical problems and the issues of lithosphere, atmosphere and global flora and fauna patterns. Physical geography can be divided into many broad categories, including: Human geography is a branch of geography that focuses on the study of patterns and processes that shape the human society.
It encompasses the human, cultural and economic aspects. Human geography can be divided into many broad categories, such as: Various approaches to the study of human geography have arisen through time and include: Behavioral geography Feminist geography Culture theory Geosophy Environmental geography is concerned with the description of the spatial interactions between humans and the natural world, it requires an understanding of the traditional aspects of physical and human geography, as well as the ways that human societies conceptualize the environment. Environmental geography has emerged as a bridge between the human and the physical geography, as a result of the increasing specialisation of the two sub-fields. Furthermore, as human relationship with the environment has changed as a result of globalization and technological change, a new approach was needed to understand the changing and dynamic relationship. Examples of areas of research in the environmental geography include: emergency management, environmental management and political ecology.
Geomatics is concerned with the application of computers to the traditional spatial techniques used in cartography and topography. Geomatics emerged from the quantitative revolution in geography in the mid-1950s. Today, geomatics methods include spatial analysis, geographic information systems, remote sensing, global positioning systems. Geomatics has led to a revitalization of some geography departments in Northern America where the subject had a declining status during the 1950s. Regional geography is concerned with the description of the unique characteristics of a particular region such as its natural or human elements; the main aim is to understand, or define the uniqueness, or character of a particular region that consists of natural as well as human elements. Attention is paid to regionalization, which covers the proper techniques of space delimitation into regions. Urban planning, regional planning, spatial planning: Use the science of geography to assist in determining how to develop the land to meet particular criteria, such as safety, economic opportunities, the preservation of the built or natural heritage, so on.
The planning of towns, c
Anthropology is the scientific study of humans and human behavior and societies in the past and present. Social anthropology and cultural anthropology study the values of societies. Linguistic anthropology studies. Biological or physical anthropology studies the biological development of humans. Archaeology, which studies past human cultures through investigation of physical evidence, is thought of as a branch of anthropology in the United States and Canada, while in Europe, it is viewed as a discipline in its own right or grouped under other related disciplines, such as history; the abstract noun anthropology is first attested in reference to history. Its present use first appeared in Renaissance Germany in the works of Otto Casmann, their New Latin anthropologia derived from the combining forms of the Greek words ánthrōpos and lógos. It began to be used in English via French Anthropologie, by the early 18th century. In 1647, the Bartholins, founders of the University of Copenhagen, defined l'anthropologie as follows: Anthropology, to say the science that treats of man, is divided ordinarily and with reason into Anatomy, which considers the body and the parts, Psychology, which speaks of the soul.
Sporadic use of the term for some of the subject matter occurred subsequently, such as the use by Étienne Serres in 1839 to describe the natural history, or paleontology, of man, based on comparative anatomy, the creation of a chair in anthropology and ethnography in 1850 at the National Museum of Natural History by Jean Louis Armand de Quatrefages de Bréau. Various short-lived organizations of anthropologists had been formed; the Société Ethnologique de Paris, the first to use Ethnology, was formed in 1839. Its members were anti-slavery activists; when slavery was abolished in France in 1848 the Société was abandoned. Meanwhile, the Ethnological Society of New York the American Ethnological Society, was founded on its model in 1842, as well as the Ethnological Society of London in 1843, a break-away group of the Aborigines' Protection Society; these anthropologists of the times were liberal, anti-slavery, pro-human-rights activists. They maintained international connections. Anthropology and many other current fields are the intellectual results of the comparative methods developed in the earlier 19th century.
Theorists in such diverse fields as anatomy and Ethnology, making feature-by-feature comparisons of their subject matters, were beginning to suspect that similarities between animals and folkways were the result of processes or laws unknown to them then. For them, the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species was the epiphany of everything they had begun to suspect. Darwin himself arrived at his conclusions through comparison of species he had seen in agronomy and in the wild. Darwin and Wallace unveiled evolution in the late 1850s. There was an immediate rush to bring it into the social sciences. Paul Broca in Paris was in the process of breaking away from the Société de biologie to form the first of the explicitly anthropological societies, the Société d'Anthropologie de Paris, meeting for the first time in Paris in 1859; when he read Darwin, he became an immediate convert to Transformisme, as the French called evolutionism. His definition now became "the study of the human group, considered as a whole, in its details, in relation to the rest of nature".
Broca, being what today would be called a neurosurgeon, had taken an interest in the pathology of speech. He wanted to localize the difference between man and the other animals, which appeared to reside in speech, he discovered the speech center of the human brain, today called Broca's area after him. His interest was in Biological anthropology, but a German philosopher specializing in psychology, Theodor Waitz, took up the theme of general and social anthropology in his six-volume work, entitled Die Anthropologie der Naturvölker, 1859–1864; the title was soon translated as "The Anthropology of Primitive Peoples". The last two volumes were published posthumously. Waitz defined anthropology as "the science of the nature of man". By nature he meant matter animated by "the Divine breath". Following Broca's lead, Waitz points out that anthropology is a new field, which would gather material from other fields, but would differ from them in the use of comparative anatomy and psychology to differentiate man from "the animals nearest to him".
He stresses. The history of civilization, as well as ethnology, are to be brought into the comparison, it is to be presumed fundamentally that the species, man, is a unity, that "the same laws of thought are applicable to all men". Waitz was influential among the British ethnologists. In 1863 the explorer Richard Francis Burton and the speech therapist James Hunt broke away from the Ethnological Society of London to form the Anthropological Society of London, which henceforward would follow the path of the new anthropology rather than just ethnology, it was the 2nd society dedicated to general anthropology in existence. Representatives from the French Société were present. In his keynote address, printed in the first volume of its new publication, The Anthropological Review, Hunt stressed the work of Waitz, adopting his definitions as a standard. Among the first associates were the young Edward Burnett Tylor, inventor of cultural anthropology, his brother Alfred Tylor, a geologist. Edward had referred to himself as an ethnologist.
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Psychology is the science of behavior and mind. Psychology includes the study of conscious and unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought, it is an academic discipline of immense scope. Psychologists seek an understanding of the emergent properties of brains, all the variety of phenomena linked to those emergent properties; as a social science it aims to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases. In this field, a professional practitioner or researcher is called a psychologist and can be classified as a social, behavioral, or cognitive scientist. Psychologists attempt to understand the role of mental functions in individual and social behavior, while exploring the physiological and biological processes that underlie cognitive functions and behaviors. Psychologists explore behavior and mental processes, including perception, attention, intelligence, motivation, brain functioning, personality; this extends to interaction between people, such as interpersonal relationships, including psychological resilience, family resilience, other areas.
Psychologists of diverse orientations consider the unconscious mind. Psychologists employ empirical methods to infer causal and correlational relationships between psychosocial variables. In addition, or in opposition, to employing empirical and deductive methods, some—especially clinical and counseling psychologists—at times rely upon symbolic interpretation and other inductive techniques. Psychology has been described as a "hub science" in that medicine tends to draw psychological research via neurology and psychiatry, whereas social sciences most draws directly from sub-disciplines within psychology. While psychological knowledge is applied to the assessment and treatment of mental health problems, it is directed towards understanding and solving problems in several spheres of human activity. By many accounts psychology aims to benefit society; the majority of psychologists are involved in some kind of therapeutic role, practicing in clinical, counseling, or school settings. Many do scientific research on a wide range of topics related to mental processes and behavior, work in university psychology departments or teach in other academic settings.
Some are employed in industrial and organizational settings, or in other areas such as human development and aging, sports and the media, as well as in forensic investigation and other aspects of law. The word psychology derives from Greek roots meaning study of soul; the Latin word psychologia was first used by the Croatian humanist and Latinist Marko Marulić in his book, Psichiologia de ratione animae humanae in the late 15th century or early 16th century. The earliest known reference to the word psychology in English was by Steven Blankaart in 1694 in The Physical Dictionary which refers to "Anatomy, which treats the Body, Psychology, which treats of the Soul."In 1890, William James defined psychology as "the science of mental life, both of its phenomena and their conditions". This definition enjoyed widespread currency for decades. However, this meaning was contested, notably by radical behaviorists such as John B. Watson, who in his 1913 manifesto defined the discipline of psychology as the acquisition of information useful to the control of behavior.
Since James defined it, the term more connotes techniques of scientific experimentation. Folk psychology refers to the understanding of ordinary people, as contrasted with that of psychology professionals; the ancient civilizations of Egypt, China and Persia all engaged in the philosophical study of psychology. In Ancient Egypt the Ebers Papyrus mentioned thought disorders. Historians note that Greek philosophers, including Thales and Aristotle, addressed the workings of the mind; as early as the 4th century BC, Greek physician Hippocrates theorized that mental disorders had physical rather than supernatural causes. In China, psychological understanding grew from the philosophical works of Laozi and Confucius, from the doctrines of Buddhism; this body of knowledge involves insights drawn from introspection and observation, as well as techniques for focused thinking and acting. It frames the universe as a division of, interaction between, physical reality and mental reality, with an emphasis on purifying the mind in order to increase virtue and power.
An ancient text known as The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine identifies the brain as the nexus of wisdom and sensation, includes theories of personality based on yin–yang balance, analyzes mental disorder in terms of physiological and social disequilibria. Chinese scholarship focused on the brain advanced in the Qing Dynasty with the work of Western-educated Fang Yizhi, Liu Zhi, Wang Qingren. Wang Qingren emphasized the importance of the brain as the center of the nervous system, linked mental disorder with brain diseases, investigated the causes of dreams and insomnia, advanced a theory of hemispheric lateralization in brain function. Distinctions in types of awareness appear in the ancient thought of India, influenced by Hinduism. A central idea of the Upanishads is the distinction between a person's transient mundane self and their eternal unchanging soul. Divergent Hindu doctrines, Buddhism, have challenged this hierarchy of selves, but have all emphasized the importance of reaching higher
Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their physical structure, chemical processes, molecular interactions, physiological mechanisms and evolution. Despite the complexity of the science, there are certain unifying concepts that consolidate it into a single, coherent field. Biology recognizes the cell as the basic unit of life, genes as the basic unit of heredity, evolution as the engine that propels the creation and extinction of species. Living organisms are open systems that survive by transforming energy and decreasing their local entropy to maintain a stable and vital condition defined as homeostasis. Sub-disciplines of biology are defined by the research methods employed and the kind of system studied: theoretical biology uses mathematical methods to formulate quantitative models while experimental biology performs empirical experiments to test the validity of proposed theories and understand the mechanisms underlying life and how it appeared and evolved from non-living matter about 4 billion years ago through a gradual increase in the complexity of the system.
See branches of biology. The term biology is derived from the Greek word βίος, bios, "life" and the suffix -λογία, -logia, "study of." The Latin-language form of the term first appeared in 1736 when Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus used biologi in his Bibliotheca botanica. It was used again in 1766 in a work entitled Philosophiae naturalis sive physicae: tomus III, continens geologian, phytologian generalis, by Michael Christoph Hanov, a disciple of Christian Wolff; the first German use, was in a 1771 translation of Linnaeus' work. In 1797, Theodor Georg August Roose used the term in the preface of a book, Grundzüge der Lehre van der Lebenskraft. Karl Friedrich Burdach used the term in 1800 in a more restricted sense of the study of human beings from a morphological and psychological perspective; the term came into its modern usage with the six-volume treatise Biologie, oder Philosophie der lebenden Natur by Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus, who announced: The objects of our research will be the different forms and manifestations of life, the conditions and laws under which these phenomena occur, the causes through which they have been effected.
The science that concerns itself with these objects we will indicate by the name biology or the doctrine of life. Although modern biology is a recent development, sciences related to and included within it have been studied since ancient times. Natural philosophy was studied as early as the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, the Indian subcontinent, China. However, the origins of modern biology and its approach to the study of nature are most traced back to ancient Greece. While the formal study of medicine dates back to Hippocrates, it was Aristotle who contributed most extensively to the development of biology. Important are his History of Animals and other works where he showed naturalist leanings, more empirical works that focused on biological causation and the diversity of life. Aristotle's successor at the Lyceum, wrote a series of books on botany that survived as the most important contribution of antiquity to the plant sciences into the Middle Ages. Scholars of the medieval Islamic world who wrote on biology included al-Jahiz, Al-Dīnawarī, who wrote on botany, Rhazes who wrote on anatomy and physiology.
Medicine was well studied by Islamic scholars working in Greek philosopher traditions, while natural history drew on Aristotelian thought in upholding a fixed hierarchy of life. Biology began to develop and grow with Anton van Leeuwenhoek's dramatic improvement of the microscope, it was that scholars discovered spermatozoa, bacteria and the diversity of microscopic life. Investigations by Jan Swammerdam led to new interest in entomology and helped to develop the basic techniques of microscopic dissection and staining. Advances in microscopy had a profound impact on biological thinking. In the early 19th century, a number of biologists pointed to the central importance of the cell. In 1838, Schleiden and Schwann began promoting the now universal ideas that the basic unit of organisms is the cell and that individual cells have all the characteristics of life, although they opposed the idea that all cells come from the division of other cells. Thanks to the work of Robert Remak and Rudolf Virchow, however, by the 1860s most biologists accepted all three tenets of what came to be known as cell theory.
Meanwhile and classification became the focus of natural historians. Carl Linnaeus published a basic taxonomy for the natural world in 1735, in the 1750s introduced scientific names for all his species. Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, treated species as artificial categories and living forms as malleable—even suggesting the possibility of common descent. Although he was opposed to evolution, Buffon is a key figure in the history of evolutionary thought. Serious evolutionary thinking originated with the works of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, the first to present a coherent theory of evolution, he posited that evolution was the result of environmental stress on properties of animals, meaning that the more and rigorously an organ was used, the more complex and efficient it would become, thus adapting the animal to its environment. Lamarck believed that these acquired traits could be passed on to the animal's offspring, who would