On Aggression, by Konrad Lorenz
Konrad Lorenz is a student of the world of living nature, its infinite variety and its astounding regularities, its grandeur and its harshness. He describes himself as a comparative ethologist and simply as a scientist, but thereby he does himself an injustice; it is better to refer to him by an older, more venerable term and to call him as he is called on the dust jacket of this book, “one of the outstanding naturalists of our day.” The old-fashioned word “naturalist” conveys some of the flavor of his scientific enterprise, which reminds one of an age gone by. Lorenz does, to be sure, conduct complex and ingenious experiments in the style of modern scientists; he does take a methodologist’s pride in statistical evidence; and he is inordinately fond of hypotheses, which he constructs, tests, verifies, or discards with the proper zest. But in large measure, and when he is at his best, he is content to observe, to look at the world about him with a patience and a precision that put our more untutored eyes to shame. In this, he differs from the typical modern scientist, who is apt to concentrate on controlling nature or even “torturing” her to reveal her secrets. In marked contrast, Lorenz conceives of his own activity as “a sort of dialogue” with nature.
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