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Nature, Natural philosophy
(3,656 words)

I. Greece

[German version]

A. Terminology

In ancient Greek, the term phýsis (φύσις, ‘nature’) is a nomen actionis derived from the root *bhu- (which probably implies the idea of coming into being, growth and development). It first of all denotes the state that results from the spontaneous development of a living being: hence the meanings of ‘size’, ‘stature’, or ‘appearance’, all of which point towards the more general meaning of ‘innate bodily characteristics’. Phýsis is thus opposed to téchnē (τέχνη, art), which refers to any competenc…

Cite this page
Brisson, Luc (Paris), “Nature, Natural philosophy”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 06 May 2021 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1574-9347_bnp_e817430>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510



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