Nature - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics

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Nature and Reason

The English word nature is derived from the Latin word natura, which is related to the verb nasci (to be born) and the noun natus (birth). The Latin natura corresponds to the Greek phusis, of which the root is phu (growing, becoming, being). Nature is the original birth or coming into being of something. More generally, nature is concerned with the "first things," the origins of things.

The idea of nature seems to have been discovered or invented first by ancient Greek philosophers and scientists. Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.) identified the "first philosophers" as "humans who spoke about nature" in looking for the "principles" or "beginnings" of all things (Metaphysics 983b5–19). These Greek philosophers thought of phusis as the beginning or coming to be of something. But more often phusis meant the sort or kind or description of something—the essential character of...

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This section contains 2,672 words
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Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics
Nature from Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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