Aristotle

Aristotle (/ˈærɪˌstɒtəl/;[3] Greek: Ἀριστοτέλης Aristotélēs, pronounced [aristotélɛːs]; 384–322 BC)[A] was a philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, the founder of the Lyceum and the Peripatetic school of philosophy and Aristotelian tradition. Along with his teacher Plato, he is considered the "Father of Western Philosophy". His writings cover many subjects – including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theatre, music, rhetoric, psychology, linguistics, economics, politics and government. Aristotle provided a complex synthesis of the various philosophies existing prior to him, and it was above all from his teachings that the West inherited its intellectual lexicon, as well as problems and methods of inquiry. As a result, his philosophy has exerted a unique influence on almost every form of knowledge in the West and it continues to be a subject of contemporary philosophical discussion.

Little is known about his life. Aristotle was born in the city of Stagira in Northern Greece. His father, Nicomachus, died when Aristotle was a child, and he was brought up by a guardian. At seventeen or eighteen years of age, he joined Plato's Academy in Athens and remained there until the age of thirty-seven (c. 347 BC).[4] Shortly after Plato died, Aristotle left Athens and, at the request of Philip II of Macedon, tutored Alexander the Great beginning in 343 BC.[5] He established a library in the Lyceum which helped him to produce many of his hundreds of books on papyrus scrolls. Though Aristotle wrote many elegant treatises and dialogues for publication, only around a third of his original output has survived, none of it intended for publication.[6]

The fact that Aristotle was a pupil of Plato contributed to his former views of Platonism, but, following Plato's death, Aristotle developed an increased interest in natural sciences and adopted the position of immanent realism. Aristotle's views on physical science profoundly shaped medieval scholarship. Their influence extended from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages into the Renaissance, and were not replaced systematically until the Enlightenment and theories such as classical mechanics. Some of Aristotle's zoological observations found in his biology, such as on the hectocotyl (reproductive) arm of the octopus, were disbelieved until the 19th century. His works contain the earliest known formal study of logic, studied by medieval scholars such as Peter Abelard and John Buridan. Aristotle's influence on logic also continued well into the 19th century

He influenced Islamic thought during the Middle Ages, as well as Christian theology, especially the Neoplatonism of the Early Church and the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church. Aristotle was revered among medieval Muslim scholars as "The First Teacher" and among medieval Christians like Thomas Aquinas as simply "The Philosopher". His ethics, though always influential, gained renewed interest with the modern advent of virtue ethics, such as in the thinking of Alasdair MacIntyre and Philippa Foot.

Aristotle
Aristotle Altemps Inv8575
Roman copy in marble of a Greek bronze bust of Aristotle by Lysippos, c. 330 BC, with modern alabaster mantle
Born384 BC
Died322 BC (aged approx. 62)
EraAncient philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
School
Main interests
Notable ideas

Life

20160518 092 mieza nympheum
School of Aristotle in Mieza, Macedonia, Greece

In general, the details of Aristotle's life are not well-established. The biographies written in ancient times are often speculative and historians only agree on a few salient points.[B]

Aristotle, whose name means "the best purpose" in Ancient Greek,[7] was born in 384 BC in Stagira, Chalcidice, about 55 km (34 miles) east of modern-day Thessaloniki.[8][9] His father Nicomachus was the personal physician to King Amyntas of Macedon. Both of Aristotle's parents died when he was about thirteen, and Proxenus of Atarneus became his guardian.[10] Although little information about Aristotle's childhood has survived, he probably spent some time within the Macedonian palace, making his first connections with the Macedonian monarchy.[11]

At the age of seventeen or eighteen, Aristotle moved to Athens to continue his education at Plato's Academy.[12] He remained there for nearly twenty years before leaving Athens in 348/47 BC. The traditional story about his departure records that he was disappointed with the Academy's direction after control passed to Plato's nephew Speusippus, although it is possible that he feared the anti-Macedonian sentiments in Athens at that time and left before Plato died.[13] Aristotle then accompanied Xenocrates to the court of his friend Hermias of Atarneus in Asia Minor. After the death of Hermias, Aristotle travelled with his pupil Theophrastus to the island of Lesbos, where together they researched the botany and zoology of the island and its sheltered lagoon. While in Lesbos, Aristotle married Pythias, either Hermias's adoptive daughter or niece. She bore him a daughter, whom they also named Pythias. In 343 BC, Aristotle was invited by Philip II of Macedon to become the tutor to his son Alexander.[14][5]

Aristoteles Louvre
Portrait bust of Aristotle; an Imperial Roman (1st or 2nd century AD) copy of a lost bronze sculpture made by Lysippos

Aristotle was appointed as the head of the royal academy of Macedon. During Aristotle's time in the Macedonian court, he gave lessons not only to Alexander, but also to two other future kings: Ptolemy and Cassander.[15] Aristotle encouraged Alexander toward eastern conquest and Aristotle's own attitude towards Persia was unabashedly ethnocentric. In one famous example, he counsels Alexander to be "a leader to the Greeks and a despot to the barbarians, to look after the former as after friends and relatives, and to deal with the latter as with beasts or plants".[15] By 335 BC, Aristotle had returned to Athens, establishing his own school there known as the Lyceum. Aristotle conducted courses at the school for the next twelve years. While in Athens, his wife Pythias died and Aristotle became involved with Herpyllis of Stagira, who bore him a son whom he named after his father, Nicomachus. According to the Suda, he also had an erômenos, Palaephatus of Abydus.[16]

This period in Athens, between 335 and 323 BC, is when Aristotle is believed to have composed many of his works.[5] He wrote many dialogues, of which only fragments have survived. Those works that have survived are in treatise form and were not, for the most part, intended for widespread publication; they are generally thought to be lecture aids for his students. His most important treatises include Physics, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, On the Soul and Poetics. Aristotle studied and made significant contributions to "logic, metaphysics, mathematics, physics, biology, botany, ethics, politics, agriculture, medicine, dance and theatre."[4]

Near the end of his life, Alexander and Aristotle became estranged over Alexander's relationship with Persia and Persians. A widespread tradition in antiquity suspected Aristotle of playing a role in Alexander's death, but the only evidence of this is an unlikely claim made some six years after the death.[17] Following Alexander's death, anti-Macedonian sentiment in Athens was rekindled. In 322 BC, Demophilus and Eurymedon the Hierophant reportedly denounced Aristotle for impiety,[18] prompting him to flee to his mother's family estate in Chalcis, on Euboea, at which occasion he was said to have stated: "I will not allow the Athenians to sin twice against philosophy"[19][20][21] – a reference to Athens's trial and execution of Socrates. He died on Euboea of natural causes later that same year, having named his student Antipater as his chief executor and leaving a will in which he asked to be buried next to his wife.[22]

Speculative philosophy

Logic

With the Prior Analytics, Aristotle is credited with the earliest study of formal logic,[23] and his conception of it was the dominant form of Western logic until 19th-century advances in mathematical logic.[24] Kant stated in the Critique of Pure Reason that with Aristotle logic reached its completion.[25]

Analytics and the Organon

One of Aristotle's types of syllogism[C]
In words In terms[D] In equations[E]
    All men are mortal.

    All Greeks are men.

All Greeks are mortal.
M a P

S a M

S a P
Modus Barbara Equations

What we today call Aristotelian logic with its types of syllogism (methods of logical argument),[26] Aristotle himself would have labelled "analytics". The term "logic" he reserved to mean dialectics. Most of Aristotle's work is probably not in its original form, because it was most likely edited by students and later lecturers. The logical works of Aristotle were compiled into a set of six books called the Organon around 40 BC by Andronicus of Rhodes or others among his followers.[28] The books are:

  1. Categories
  2. On Interpretation
  3. Prior Analytics
  4. Posterior Analytics
  5. Topics
  6. On Sophistical Refutations

The order of the books (or the teachings from which they are composed) is not certain, but this list was derived from analysis of Aristotle's writings. It goes from the basics, the analysis of simple terms in the Categories, the analysis of propositions and their elementary relations in On Interpretation, to the study of more complex forms, namely, syllogisms (in the Analytics)[29][30] and dialectics (in the Topics and Sophistical Refutations). The first three treatises form the core of the logical theory stricto sensu: the grammar of the language of logic and the correct rules of reasoning. The Rhetoric is not conventionally included, but it states that it relies on the Topics.[31]

Epistemology

Sanzio 01 Plato Aristotle
Plato (left) and Aristotle in Raphael's 1509 fresco, The School of Athens. Aristotle holds his Nicomachean Ethics and gestures to the earth, representing his view that knowledge comes from experience, whilst Plato gestures to the heavens, indicating his Theory of Forms, and holds his Timaeus.[32][33]

Like his teacher Plato, Aristotle's philosophy aims at the universal. Aristotle's ontology places the universal (katholou) in particulars (kath' hekaston), things in the world, whereas for Plato the universal is a separately existing form which actual things imitate. This means that Aristotle's epistemology is based on the study of things that exist or happen in the world, and rises to knowledge of the universal, whereas for Plato epistemology begins with knowledge of universal Forms (or ideas) and descends to knowledge of particular imitations of these.[31] For Aristotle, "form" is still what phenomena are based on, but is "instantiated" in a particular substance.[34] Aristotle uses induction from examples alongside deduction, whereas Plato relies on deduction from a priori principles.[31]

In Aristotle's terminology, "natural philosophy" is a branch of philosophy examining the phenomena of the natural world, and includes fields that would be regarded today as physics, biology and other natural sciences. Aristotle's work encompassed virtually all facets of intellectual inquiry. Aristotle makes philosophy in the broad sense coextensive with reasoning, which he also would describe as "science". Note, however, that his use of the term science carries a different meaning than that covered by the term "scientific method". For Aristotle, "all science (dianoia) is either practical, poetical or theoretical" (Metaphysics 1025b25). His practical science includes ethics and politics; his poetical science means the study of fine arts including poetry; his theoretical science covers physics, mathematics and metaphysics.[35]

Metaphysics

The word "metaphysics" appears to have been coined by the first century AD editor who assembled various small selections of Aristotle's works to the treatise we know by the name Metaphysics.[36] Aristotle called it "first philosophy", and distinguished it from mathematics and natural science (physics) as the contemplative (theoretikē) philosophy which is "theological" and studies the divine. He wrote in his Metaphysics (1026a16):

if there were no other independent things besides the composite natural ones, the study of nature would be the primary kind of knowledge; but if there is some motionless independent thing, the knowledge of this precedes it and is first philosophy, and it is universal in just this way, because it is first. And it belongs to this sort of philosophy to study being as being, both what it is and what belongs to it just by virtue of being.[37]

Substance, potentiality and actuality

Aristotle examines the concepts of substance (ousia) and essence (to ti ên einai, "the what it was to be") in his Metaphysics (Book VII), and he concludes that a particular substance is a combination of both matter and form, a philosophical theory called hylomorphism. In Book VIII, he distinguishes the matter of the substance as the substratum, or the stuff of which it is composed. For example, the matter of a house is the bricks, stones, timbers etc., or whatever constitutes the potential house, while the form of the substance is the actual house, namely 'covering for bodies and chattels' or any other differentia that let us define something as a house. The formula that gives the components is the account of the matter, and the formula that gives the differentia is the account of the form.[38][34]

With regard to the change (kinesis) and its causes now, as he defines in his Physics and On Generation and Corruption 319b–320a, he distinguishes the coming to be from:

  1. growth and diminution, which is change in quantity;
  2. locomotion, which is change in space; and
  3. alteration, which is change in quality.
Flute-player dolphin Alcesti Group MAN
Aristotle argued that a capability like playing the flute could be acquired – the potential made actual – by learning.

The coming to be is a change where nothing persists of which the resultant is a property. In that particular change he introduces the concept of potentiality (dynamis) and actuality (entelecheia) in association with the matter and the form. Referring to potentiality, this is what a thing is capable of doing, or being acted upon, if the conditions are right and it is not prevented by something else. For example, the seed of a plant in the soil is potentially (dynamei) plant, and if it is not prevented by something, it will become a plant. Potentially beings can either 'act' (poiein) or 'be acted upon' (paschein), which can be either innate or learned. For example, the eyes possess the potentiality of sight (innate – being acted upon), while the capability of playing the flute can be possessed by learning (exercise – acting). Actuality is the fulfilment of the end of the potentiality. Because the end (telos) is the principle of every change, and for the sake of the end exists potentiality, therefore actuality is the end. Referring then to our previous example, we could say that an actuality is when a plant does one of the activities that plants do.[34]

For that for the sake of which (to hou heneka) a thing is, is its principle, and the becoming is for the sake of the end; and the actuality is the end, and it is for the sake of this that the potentiality is acquired. For animals do not see in order that they may have sight, but they have sight that they may see.[39]

In summary, the matter used to make a house has potentiality to be a house and both the activity of building and the form of the final house are actualities, which is also a final cause or end. Then Aristotle proceeds and concludes that the actuality is prior to potentiality in formula, in time and in substantiality. With this definition of the particular substance (i.e., matter and form), Aristotle tries to solve the problem of the unity of the beings, for example, "what is it that makes a man one"? Since, according to Plato there are two Ideas: animal and biped, how then is man a unity? However, according to Aristotle, the potential being (matter) and the actual one (form) are one and the same.[34][40]

Universals and particulars

Platonic and Aristotelian Forms
Plato's forms exist as universals, like the ideal form of an apple. For Aristotle, both matter and form belong to the individual thing (hylomorphism).

Plato argued that all things have a universal form, which could be either a property or a relation to other things. When we look at an apple, for example, we see an apple, and we can also analyse a form of an apple. In this distinction, there is a particular apple and a universal form of an apple. Moreover, we can place an apple next to a book, so that we can speak of both the book and apple as being next to each other. Plato argued that there are some universal forms that are not a part of particular things. For example, it is possible that there is no particular good in existence, but "good" is still a proper universal form. Aristotle disagreed with Plato on this point, arguing that all universals are instantiated at some period of time, and that there are no universals that are unattached to existing things. In addition, Aristotle disagreed with Plato about the location of universals. Where Plato spoke of the world of forms, a place where all universal forms subsist, Aristotle maintained that universals exist within each thing on which each universal is predicated. So, according to Aristotle, the form of apple exists within each apple, rather than in the world of the forms.[34][41]

Natural philosophy

Aristotle's "natural philosophy" spans a wide range of natural phenomena including those now covered by physics, biology and other natural sciences.[35]

Physics

Four Classical Elements in Burning Log
The four classical elements (fire, air, water, earth) of Empedocles and Aristotle illustrated with a burning log. The log releases all four elements as it is destroyed.

Five elements

In his On Generation and Corruption, Aristotle related each of the four elements proposed earlier by Empedocles, Earth, Water, Air, and Fire, to two of the four sensible qualities, hot, cold, wet, and dry. In the Empedoclean scheme, all matter was made of the four elements, in differing proportions. Aristotle's scheme added the heavenly Aether, the divine substance of the heavenly spheres, stars and planets.[42]

Aristotle's elements[42]
Element Hot/Cold Wet/Dry Motion Modern state
of matter
Earth Cold Dry Down Solid
Water Cold Wet Down Liquid
Air Hot Wet Up Gas
Fire Hot Dry Up Plasma
Aether (divine
substance)
Circular
(in heavens)

Motion

Aristotle describes two kinds of motion: "violent" or "unnatural motion", such as that of a thrown stone, in the Physics (254b10), and "natural motion", such as of a falling object, in On the Heavens (300a20). In violent motion, as soon as the agent stops causing it, the motion stops also; in other words, the natural state of an object is to be at rest,[43][F] since Aristotle does not address friction.[44] With this understanding, it can be observed that, as Aristotle stated, heavy objects (on the ground, say) require more force to make them move; and objects pushed with greater force move faster.[45][G] This would imply the equation[45]

,

incorrect in modern physics.[45]

Natural motion depends on the element concerned: the aether naturally moves in a circle around the heavens,[H] while the 4 Empedoclean elements move vertically up (like fire, as is observed) or down (like earth) towards their natural resting places.[46][44][I]

Aristotle's laws of motion
Aristotle's laws of motion. In Physics he states that objects fall at a speed proportional to their weight and inversely proportional to the density of the fluid they are immersed in.[44] This is a correct approximation for objects in Earth's gravitational field moving in air or water.[46]

In the Physics (215a25), Aristotle effectively states a quantitative law, that the speed, v, of a falling body is proportional (say, with constant c) to its weight, W, and inversely proportional to the density,[J] ρ, of the fluid in which it is falling:[46][44]

Aristotle implies that in a vacuum the speed of fall would become infinite, and concludes from this apparent absurdity that a vacuum is not possible.[46][44] Opinions have varied on whether Aristotle intended to state quantitative laws. Henri Carteron held the "extreme view"[44] that Aristotle's concept of force was basically qualitative,[47] but other authors reject this.[44]

Archimedes corrected Aristotle's theory that bodies move towards their natural resting places; metal boats can float if they displace enough water; floating depends in Archimedes' scheme on the mass and volume of the object, not as Aristotle thought its elementary composition.[46]

Aristotle's writings on motion remained influential until the Early Modern period. John Philoponus (in the Middle Ages) and Galileo are said to have shown by experiment that Aristotle's claim that a heavier object falls faster than a lighter object is incorrect.[35] A contrary opinion is given by Carlo Rovelli, who argues that Aristotle's physics of motion is correct within its domain of validity, that of objects in the Earth's gravitational field immersed in a fluid such as air. In this system, heavy bodies in steady fall indeed travel faster than light ones (whether friction is ignored, or not[46]), and they do fall more slowly in a denser medium.[45][K]

Newton's "forced" motion corresponds to Aristotle's "violent" motion with its external agent, but Aristotle's assumption that the agent's effect stops immediately it stops acting (e.g., the ball leaves the thrower's hand) has awkward consequences: he has to suppose that surrounding fluid helps to push the ball along to make it continue to rise even though the hand is no longer acting on it, resulting in the Medieval theory of impetus.[46]

Four causes

Aristotle's Four Causes of a Table
Aristotle argued by analogy with woodwork that a thing takes its form from four causes: in the case of a table, the wood used (material cause), its design (formal cause), the tools and techniques used (efficient cause), and its decorative or practical purpose (final cause).[48]

Aristotle suggested that the reason for anything coming about can be attributed to four different types of simultaneously active factors. His term aitia is traditionally translated as "cause", but it does not always refer to temporal sequence; it might be better translated as "explanation", but the traditional rendering will be employed here.[49][50]

  • Material cause describes the material out of which something is composed. Thus the material cause of a table is wood. It is not about action. It does not mean that one domino knocks over another domino.[49]
  • The formal cause is its form, i.e., the arrangement of that matter. It tells us what a thing is, that a thing is determined by the definition, form, pattern, essence, whole, synthesis or archetype. It embraces the account of causes in terms of fundamental principles or general laws, as the whole (i.e., macrostructure) is the cause of its parts, a relationship known as the whole-part causation. Plainly put, the formal cause is the idea in the mind of the sculptor that brings the sculpture into being. A simple example of the formal cause is the mental image or idea that allows an artist, architect, or engineer to create a drawing.[49]
  • The efficient cause is "the primary source", or that from which the change under consideration proceeds. It identifies 'what makes of what is made and what causes change of what is changed' and so suggests all sorts of agents, nonliving or living, acting as the sources of change or movement or rest. Representing the current understanding of causality as the relation of cause and effect, this covers the modern definitions of "cause" as either the agent or agency or particular events or states of affairs. In the case of two dominoes, when the first is knocked over it causes the second also to fall over.[49] In the case of animals, this agency is a combination of how it develops from the egg, and how its body functions.[51]
  • The final cause (telos) is its purpose, the reason why a thing exists or is done, including both purposeful and instrumental actions and activities. The final cause is the purpose or function that something is supposed to serve. This covers modern ideas of motivating causes, such as volition.[49] In the case of living things, it implies adaptation to a particular way of life.[51]

Optics

Aristotle describes experiments in optics using a camera obscura in Problems, book 15. The apparatus consisted of a dark chamber with a small aperture that let light in. With it, he saw that whatever shape he made the hole, the sun's image always remained circular. He also noted that increasing the distance between the aperture and the image surface magnified the image.[52]

Chance and spontaneity

According to Aristotle, spontaneity and chance are causes of some things, distinguishable from other types of cause such as simple necessity. Chance as an incidental cause lies in the realm of accidental things, "from what is spontaneous". There is also more a specific kind of chance, which Aristotle names "luck", that only applies to people's moral choices.[53][54]

Astronomy

In astronomy, Aristotle refuted Democritus's claim that the Milky Way was made up of "those stars which are shaded by the earth from the sun's rays," pointing out correctly that if "the size of the sun is greater than that of the earth and the distance of the stars from the earth many times greater than that of the sun, then... the sun shines on all the stars and the earth screens none of them."[55]

DenglerSW-Stromboli-20040928-1230x800
Aristotle noted that the ground level of the Aeolian islands changed before a volcanic eruption.

Geology

Aristotle was one of the first people to record any geological observations. He stated that geological change was too slow to be observed in one person's lifetime.[56][57] The geologist Charles Lyell noted that Aristotle described such change, including "lakes that had dried up" and "deserts that had become watered by rivers", giving as examples the growth of the Nile delta since the time of Homer, and "the upheaving of one of the Aeolian islands, previous to a volcanic eruption."'[58]

Biology

Tremoctopus violaceus5
Among many pioneering zoological observations, Aristotle described the reproductive hectocotyl arm of the octopus (bottom left).

Empirical research

Aristotle was the first person to study biology systematically,[59] and biology forms a large part of his writings. He spent two years observing and describing the zoology of Lesbos and the surrounding seas, including in particular the Pyrrha lagoon in the centre of Lesbos.[60][61] His data in History of Animals, Generation of Animals, Movement of Animals, and Parts of Animals are assembled from his own observations, statements given by people with specialised knowledge such as beekeepers and fishermen, and less accurate accounts provided by travellers from overseas.[62] His apparent emphasis on animals rather than plants is a historical accident: his works on botany have been lost, but two books on plants by his pupil Theophrastus have survived.[63]

Aristotle reports on the sea-life visible from observation on Lesbos and the catches of fishermen. He describes the catfish, electric ray, and frogfish in detail, as well as cephalopods such as the octopus and paper nautilus. His description of the hectocotyl arm of cephalopods, used in sexual reproduction, was widely disbelieved until the 19th century.[64] He gives accurate descriptions of the four-chambered fore-stomachs of ruminants,[65] and of the ovoviviparous embryological development of the hound shark.[66]

He notes that an animal's structure is well matched to function, so, among birds, the heron, which lives in marshes with soft mud and lives by catching fish, has a long neck and long legs, and a sharp spear-like beak, whereas ducks that swim have short legs and webbed feet.[67] Darwin, too, noted these sorts of differences between similar kinds of animal, but unlike Aristotle used the data to come to the theory of evolution.[68] Aristotle's writings can seem to modern readers close to implying evolution, but while Aristotle was aware that new mutations or hybridisations could occur, he saw these as rare accidents. For Aristotle, accidents, like heat waves in winter, must be considered distinct from natural causes. He was thus critical of Empedocles's materialist theory of a "survival of the fittest" origin of living things and their organs, and ridiculed the idea that accidents could lead to orderly results.[69] To put his views into modern terms, he nowhere says that different species can have a common ancestor, or that one kind can change into another, or that kinds can become extinct.[70]

Scientific style

Two of Aristotle's Growth Laws
Aristotle inferred growth laws from his observations on animals, including that brood size decreases with body mass, whereas gestation period increases. He was correct in these predictions, at least for mammals: data are shown for mouse and elephant.

Aristotle did not do experiments in the modern sense.[71] He used the ancient Greek term pepeiramenoi to mean observations, or at most investigative procedures like dissection.[72] In Generation of Animals, he finds a fertilised hen's egg of a suitable stage and opens it to see the embryo's heart beating inside.[73][74]

Instead, he practised a different style of science: systematically gathering data, discovering patterns common to whole groups of animals, and inferring possible causal explanations from these.[75][76] This style is common in modern biology when large amounts of data become available in a new field, such as genomics. It does not result in the same certainty as experimental science, but it sets out testable hypotheses and constructs a narrative explanation of what is observed. In this sense, Aristotle's biology is scientific.[75]

From the data he collected and documented, Aristotle inferred quite a number of rules relating the life-history features of the live-bearing tetrapods (terrestrial placental mammals) that he studied. Among these correct predictions are the following. Brood size decreases with (adult) body mass, so that an elephant has fewer young (usually just one) per brood than a mouse. Lifespan increases with gestation period, and also with body mass, so that elephants live longer than mice, have a longer period of gestation, and are heavier. As a final example, fecundity decreases with lifespan, so long-lived kinds like elephants have fewer young in total than short-lived kinds like mice.[77]

Classification of living things

Scyliorhinus retifer embryo
Aristotle recorded that the embryo of a dogfish was attached by a cord to a kind of placenta (the yolk sac), like a higher animal; this formed an exception to the linear scale from highest to lowest.[78]

Aristotle distinguished about 500 species of animals,[79][80] arranging these in the History of Animals in a graded scale of perfection, a scala naturae, with man at the top. His system had eleven grades of animal, from highest potential to lowest, expressed in their form at birth: the highest gave live birth to hot and wet creatures, the lowest laid cold, dry mineral-like eggs. Animals came above plants, and these in turn were above minerals.[81] see also:[82] He grouped what the modern zoologist would call vertebrates as the hotter "animals with blood", and below them the colder invertebrates as "animals without blood". Those with blood were divided into the live-bearing (mammals), and the egg-laying (birds, reptiles, fish). Those without blood were insects, crustacea (non-shelled – cephalopods, and shelled) and the hard-shelled molluscs (bivalves and gastropods). He recognised that animals did not exactly fit into a linear scale, and noted various exceptions, such as that sharks had a placenta like the tetrapods. To a modern biologist, the explanation, not available to Aristotle, is convergent evolution.[83] He believed that purposive final causes guided all natural processes; this teleological view justified his observed data as an expression of formal design.[84]

Aristotle's Scala naturae (highest to lowest)
Group Examples
(given by Aristotle)
Blood Legs Souls
(Rational,
Sensitive,
Vegetative)
Qualities
(HotCold,
WetDry)
Man Man with blood 2 legs R, S, V Hot, Wet
Live-bearing tetrapods Cat, hare with blood 4 legs S, V Hot, Wet
Cetaceans Dolphin, whale with blood none S, V Hot, Wet
Birds Bee-eater, nightjar with blood 2 legs S, V Hot, Wet, except Dry eggs
Egg-laying tetrapods Chameleon, crocodile with blood 4 legs S, V Cold, Wet except scales, eggs
Snakes Water snake, Ottoman viper with blood none S, V Cold, Wet except scales, eggs
Egg-laying fishes Sea bass, parrotfish with blood none S, V Cold, Wet, including eggs
(Among the egg-laying fishes):
placental selachians
Shark, skate with blood none S, V Cold, Wet, but placenta like tetrapods
Crustaceans Shrimp, crab without many legs S, V Cold, Wet except shell
Cephalopods Squid, octopus without tentacles S, V Cold, Wet
Hard-shelled animals Cockle, trumpet snail without none S, V Cold, Dry (mineral shell)
Larva-bearing insects Ant, cicada without 6 legs S, V Cold, Dry
Spontaneously-generating Sponges, worms without none S, V Cold, Wet or Dry, from earth
Plants Fig without none V Cold, Dry
Minerals Iron without none none Cold, Dry

Psychology

Soul

Aristotelian Soul
Aristotle proposed a three-part structure for souls of plants, animals, and humans, making humans unique in having all three types of soul.

Aristotle's psychology, given in his treatise On the Soul (peri psychēs), posits three kinds of soul ("psyches"): the vegetative soul, the sensitive soul, and the rational soul. Humans have a rational soul. The human soul incorporates the powers of the other kinds: Like the vegetative soul it can grow and nourish itself; like the sensitive soul it can experience sensations and move locally. The unique part of the human, rational soul is its ability to receive forms of other things and to compare them using the nous (intellect) and logos (reason).[85]

For Aristotle, the soul is the form of a living being. Because all beings are composites of form and matter, the form of living beings is that which endows them with what is specific to living beings, e.g. the ability to initiate movement (or in the case of plants, growth and chemical transformations, which Aristotle considers types of movement).[14] In contrast to earlier philosophers, but in accordance with the Egyptians, he placed the rational soul in the heart, rather than the brain.[86] Notable is Aristotle's division of sensation and thought, which generally differed from the concepts of previous philosophers, with the exception of Alcmaeon.[87]

Memory

According to Aristotle in On the Soul, memory is the ability to hold a perceived experience in the mind and to distinguish between the internal "appearance" and an occurrence in the past.[88] In other words, a memory is a mental picture (phantasm) that can be recovered. Aristotle believed an impression is left on a semi-fluid bodily organ that undergoes several changes in order to make a memory. A memory occurs when stimuli such as sights or sounds are so complex that the nervous system cannot receive all the impressions at once. These changes are the same as those involved in the operations of sensation, Aristotelian 'common sense', and thinking.[89][90]

Aristotle uses the term 'memory' for the actual retaining of an experience in the impression that can develop from sensation, and for the intellectual anxiety that comes with the impression because it is formed at a particular time and processing specific contents. Memory is of the past, prediction is of the future, and sensation is of the present. Retrieval of impressions cannot be performed suddenly. A transitional channel is needed and located in our past experiences, both for our previous experience and present experience.[91]

Because Aristotle believes people receive all kinds of sense perceptions and perceive them as impressions, people are continually weaving together new impressions of experiences. To search for these impressions, people search the memory itself.[92] Within the memory, if one experience is offered instead of a specific memory, that person will reject this experience until they find what they are looking for. Recollection occurs when one retrieved experience naturally follows another. If the chain of "images" is needed, one memory will stimulate the next. When people recall experiences, they stimulate certain previous experiences until they reach the one that is needed.[93] Recollection is thus the self-directed activity of retrieving the information stored in a memory impression.[94] Only humans can remember impressions of intellectual activity, such as numbers and words. Animals that have perception of time can retrieve memories of their past observations. Remembering involves only perception of the things remembered and of the time passed.[95]

Aristotle Senses Perception Memory Dreams Action
Senses, perception, memory, dreams, action in Aristotle's psychology. Impressions are stored in the seat of perception, linked by his Laws of Association (similarity, contrast, and contiguity).

Aristotle believed the chain of thought, which ends in recollection of certain impressions, was connected systematically in relationships such as similarity, contrast, and contiguity, described in his Laws of Association. Aristotle believed that past experiences are hidden within the mind. A force operates to awaken the hidden material to bring up the actual experience. According to Aristotle, association is the power innate in a mental state, which operates upon the unexpressed remains of former experiences, allowing them to rise and be recalled.[96]

Dreams

Aristotle describes sleep in On Sleep and Wakefulness.[97] Sleep takes place as a result of overuse of the senses[98] or of digestion,[97] so it is vital to the body.[98] While a person is asleep, the critical activities, which include thinking, sensing, recalling and remembering, do not function as they do during wakefulness. Since a person cannot sense during sleep they can not have desire, which is the result of sensation. However, the senses are able to work during sleep,[98] albeit differently,[97] unless they are weary.[98]

Dreams do not involve actually sensing a stimulus. In dreams, sensation is still involved, but in an altered manner.[98] Aristotle explains that when a person stares at a moving stimulus such as the waves in a body of water, and then look away, the next thing they look at appears to have a wavelike motion. When a person perceives a stimulus and the stimulus is no longer the focus of their attention, it leaves an impression.[97] When the body is awake and the senses are functioning properly, a person constantly encounters new stimuli to sense and so the impressions of previously perceived stimuli are ignored.[98] However, during sleep the impressions made throughout the day are noticed as there are no new distracting sensory experiences.[97] So, dreams result from these lasting impressions. Since impressions are all that are left and not the exact stimuli, dreams do not resemble the actual waking experience.[99] During sleep, a person is in an altered state of mind. Aristotle compares a sleeping person to a person who is overtaken by strong feelings toward a stimulus. For example, a person who has a strong infatuation with someone may begin to think they see that person everywhere because they are so overtaken by their feelings. Since a person sleeping is in a suggestible state and unable to make judgements, they become easily deceived by what appears in their dreams, like the infatuated person.[97] This leads the person to believe the dream is real, even when the dreams are absurd in nature.[97]

One component of Aristotle's theory of dreams disagrees with previously held beliefs. He claimed that dreams are not foretelling and not sent by a divine being. Aristotle reasoned naturalistically that instances in which dreams do resemble future events are simply coincidences.[100] Aristotle claimed that a dream is first established by the fact that the person is asleep when they experience it. If a person had an image appear for a moment after waking up or if they see something in the dark it is not considered a dream because they were awake when it occurred. Secondly, any sensory experience that is perceived while a person is asleep does not qualify as part of a dream. For example, if, while a person is sleeping, a door shuts and in their dream they hear a door is shut, this sensory experience is not part of the dream. Lastly, the images of dreams must be a result of lasting impressions of waking sensory experiences.[99]

Practical philosophy

Aristotle's practical philosophy covers areas such as ethics, politics, economics, and rhetoric.[35]

Virtues and their accompanying vices[4]
Too little Virtuous mean Too much
Humbleness High-mindedness Vainglory
Lack of purpose Right ambition Over-ambition
Spiritlessness Good temper Irascibility
Rudeness Civility Obsequiousness
Cowardice Courage Rashness
Insensibility Self-control Intemperance
Sarcasm Sincerity Boastfulness
Boorishness Wit Buffoonery
Shamelessness Modesty Shyness
Callousness Just resentment Spitefulness
Pettiness Generosity Vulgarity
Meanness Liberality Wastefulness

Just war theory

Aristotelian just war theory is not well regarded in the present day, especially his view that warfare was justified to enslave "natural slaves". In Aristotelian philosophy, the abolition of what he considers "natural slavery" would undermine civic freedom. The pusuit of freedom is inseparable from pursuing mastery over "those who deserve to be slaves". According to The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle's Politics the targets of this aggressive warfare were non-Greeks, noting Aristotle's view that "our poets say 'it is proper for Greeks to rule non-Greeks'".[101]

Aristotle generally has a favorable opinion of war, extolling it as a chance for virtue and writing that "the leisure that accompanies peace" tends to make people "arrogant". War to "avoid becoming enslaved to others" is justified as self-defense. He writes that war "compels people to be just and temperate", however, in order to be just "war must be chosen for the sake of peace" (with the exception of wars of aggression discussed above).[101]

Ethics

Aristotle considered ethics to be a practical rather than theoretical study, i.e., one aimed at becoming good and doing good rather than knowing for its own sake. He wrote several treatises on ethics, including most notably, the Nicomachean Ethics.[102]

Aristotle taught that virtue has to do with the proper function (ergon) of a thing. An eye is only a good eye in so much as it can see, because the proper function of an eye is sight. Aristotle reasoned that humans must have a function specific to humans, and that this function must be an activity of the psuchē (soul) in accordance with reason (logos). Aristotle identified such an optimum activity (the virtuous mean, between the accompanying vices of excess or deficiency[4]) of the soul as the aim of all human deliberate action, eudaimonia, generally translated as "happiness" or sometimes "well being". To have the potential of ever being happy in this way necessarily requires a good character (ēthikē aretē), often translated as moral or ethical virtue or excellence.[103]

Aristotle taught that to achieve a virtuous and potentially happy character requires a first stage of having the fortune to be habituated not deliberately, but by teachers, and experience, leading to a later stage in which one consciously chooses to do the best things. When the best people come to live life this way their practical wisdom (phronesis) and their intellect (nous) can develop with each other towards the highest possible human virtue, the wisdom of an accomplished theoretical or speculative thinker, or in other words, a philosopher.[104]

Politics

In addition to his works on ethics, which address the individual, Aristotle addressed the city in his work titled Politics. Aristotle considered the city to be a natural community. Moreover, he considered the city to be prior in importance to the family which in turn is prior to the individual, "for the whole must of necessity be prior to the part".[105] He also famously stated that "man is by nature a political animal" and also arguing that humanity's defining factor among others in the animal kingdom is its rationality.[106] Aristotle conceived of politics as being like an organism rather than like a machine, and as a collection of parts none of which can exist without the others. Aristotle's conception of the city is organic, and he is considered one of the first to conceive of the city in this manner.[107]

Aristotle's constitutions
Aristotle's classifications of political constitutions

The common modern understanding of a political community as a modern state is quite different from Aristotle's understanding. Although he was aware of the existence and potential of larger empires, the natural community according to Aristotle was the city (polis) which functions as a political "community" or "partnership" (koinōnia). The aim of the city is not just to avoid injustice or for economic stability, but rather to allow at least some citizens the possibility to live a good life, and to perform beautiful acts: "The political partnership must be regarded, therefore, as being for the sake of noble actions, not for the sake of living together." This is distinguished from modern approaches, beginning with social contract theory, according to which individuals leave the state of nature because of "fear of violent death" or its "inconveniences."[L]

In Protrepticus, the character 'Aristotle' states:[108]

For we all agree that the most excellent man should rule, i.e., the supreme by nature, and that the law rules and alone is authoritative; but the law is a kind of intelligence, i.e. a discourse based on intelligence. And again, what standard do we have, what criterion of good things, that is more precise than the intelligent man? For all that this man will choose, if the choice is based on his knowledge, are good things and their contraries are bad. And since everybody chooses most of all what conforms to their own proper dispositions (a just man choosing to live justly, a man with bravery to live bravely, likewise a self-controlled man to live with self-control), it is clear that the intelligent man will choose most of all to be intelligent; for this is the function of that capacity. Hence it's evident that, according to the most authoritative judgment, intelligence is supreme among goods.[108]

Economics

Aristotle made substantial contributions to economic thought, especially to thought in the Middle Ages.[109] In Politics, Aristotle addresses the city, property, and trade. His response to criticisms of private property, in Lionel Robbins's view, anticipated later proponents of private property among philosophers and economists, as it related to the overall utility of social arrangements.[109] Aristotle believed that although communal arrangements may seem beneficial to society, and that although private property is often blamed for social strife, such evils in fact come from human nature. In Politics, Aristotle offers one of the earliest accounts of the origin of money.[109] Money came into use because people became dependent on one another, importing what they needed and exporting the surplus. For the sake of convenience, people then agreed to deal in something that is intrinsically useful and easily applicable, such as iron or silver.[110]

Aristotle's discussions on retail and interest was a major influence on economic thought in the Middle Ages. He had a low opinion of retail, believing that contrary to using money to procure things one needs in managing the household, retail trade seeks to make a profit. It thus uses goods as a means to an end, rather than as an end unto itself. He believed that retail trade was in this way unnatural. Similarly, Aristotle considered making a profit through interest unnatural, as it makes a gain out of the money itself, and not from its use.[110]

Aristotle gave a summary of the function of money that was perhaps remarkably precocious for his time. He wrote that because it is impossible to determine the value of every good through a count of the number of other goods it is worth, the necessity arises of a single universal standard of measurement. Money thus allows for the association of different goods and makes them "commensurable".[110] He goes to on state that money is also useful for future exchange, making it a sort of security. That is, "if we do not want a thing now, we shall be able to get it when we do want it".[110]

Rhetoric and poetics

Bénigne Gagneraux, The Blind Oedipus Commending his Children to the Gods
The Blind Oedipus Commending his Children to the Gods (1784) by Bénigne Gagneraux. In his Poetics, Aristotle uses the tragedy Oedipus Tyrannus by Sophocles as an example of how the perfect tragedy should be structured, with a generally good protagonist who starts the play prosperous, but loses everything through some hamartia (fault).[111]

Aristotle's Rhetoric proposes that a speaker can use three basic kinds of appeals to persuade his audience: ethos (an appeal to the speaker's character), pathos (an appeal to the audience's emotion), and logos (an appeal to logical reasoning).[112] He also categorises rhetoric into three genres: epideictic (ceremonial speeches dealing with praise or blame), forensic (judicial speeches over guilt or innocence), and deliberative (speeches calling on an audience to make a decision on an issue).[113] Aristotle also outlines two kinds of rhetorical proofs: enthymeme (proof by syllogism) and paradeigma (proof by example).[114]

Aristotle writes in his Poetics that epic poetry, tragedy, comedy, dithyrambic poetry, painting, sculpture, music, and dance are all fundamentally acts of mimesis ("imitation"), each varying in imitation by medium, object, and manner.[115][116] He applies the term mimesis both as a property of a work of art and also as the product of the artist's intention[115] and contends that the audience's realisation of the mimesis is vital to understanding the work itself.[115] Aristotle states that mimesis is a natural instinct of humanity that separates humans from animals[115][117] and that all human artistry "follows the pattern of nature".[115] Because of this, Aristotle believed that each of the mimetic arts possesses what Stephen Halliwell calls "highly structured procedures for the achievement of their purposes."[115] For example, music imitates with the media of rhythm and harmony, whereas dance imitates with rhythm alone, and poetry with language. The forms also differ in their object of imitation. Comedy, for instance, is a dramatic imitation of men worse than average; whereas tragedy imitates men slightly better than average. Lastly, the forms differ in their manner of imitation – through narrative or character, through change or no change, and through drama or no drama.[118]

While it is believed that Aristotle's Poetics originally comprised two books – one on comedy and one on tragedy – only the portion that focuses on tragedy has survived. Aristotle taught that tragedy is composed of six elements: plot-structure, character, style, thought, spectacle, and lyric poetry.[119] The characters in a tragedy are merely a means of driving the story; and the plot, not the characters, is the chief focus of tragedy. Tragedy is the imitation of action arousing pity and fear, and is meant to effect the catharsis of those same emotions. Aristotle concludes Poetics with a discussion on which, if either, is superior: epic or tragic mimesis. He suggests that because tragedy possesses all the attributes of an epic, possibly possesses additional attributes such as spectacle and music, is more unified, and achieves the aim of its mimesis in shorter scope, it can be considered superior to epic.[120] Aristotle was a keen systematic collector of riddles, folklore, and proverbs; he and his school had a special interest in the riddles of the Delphic Oracle and studied the fables of Aesop.[121]

Views on women

Aristotle's analysis of procreation describes an active, ensouling masculine element bringing life to an inert, passive female element. On this ground, proponents of feminist metaphysics have accused Aristotle of misogyny[122] and sexism.[123] However, Aristotle gave equal weight to women's happiness as he did to men's, and commented in his Rhetoric that the things that lead to happiness need to be in women as well as men.[M]

Influence

More than 2300 years after his death, Aristotle remains one of the most influential people who ever lived.[125][126] He contributed to almost every field of human knowledge then in existence, and he was the founder of many new fields. According to the philosopher Bryan Magee, "it is doubtful whether any human being has ever known as much as he did".[127] Among countless other achievements, Aristotle was the founder of formal logic,[128] pioneered the study of zoology, and left every future scientist and philosopher in his debt through his contributions to the scientific method.[129][130][131] Taneli Kukkonen, writing in The Classical Tradition, observes that his achievement in founding two sciences is unmatched, and his reach in influencing "every branch of intellectual enterprise" including Western ethical and political theory, theology, rhetoric and literary analysis is equally long. As a result, Kukkonen argues, any analysis of reality today "will almost certainly carry Aristotelian overtones ... evidence of an exceptionally forceful mind."[131] Jonathan Barnes wrote that "an account of Aristotle's intellectual afterlife would be little less than a history of European thought".[132]

On his successor, Theophrastus

161Theophrastus 161 frontespizio
Frontispiece to a 1644 version of Theophrastus's Historia Plantarum, originally written around 300 BC

Aristotle's pupil and successor, Theophrastus, wrote the History of Plants, a pioneering work in botany. Some of his technical terms remain in use, such as carpel from carpos, fruit, and pericarp, from pericarpion, seed chamber.[133] Theophrastus was much less concerned with formal causes than Aristotle was, instead pragmatically describing how plants functioned.[134][135]

On later Greek philosophers

The immediate influence of Aristotle's work was felt as the Lyceum grew into the Peripatetic school. Aristotle's notable students included Aristoxenus, Dicaearchus, Demetrius of Phalerum, Eudemos of Rhodes, Harpalus, Hephaestion, Mnason of Phocis, Nicomachus, and Theophrastus. Aristotle's influence over Alexander the Great is seen in the latter's bringing with him on his expedition a host of zoologists, botanists, and researchers. He had also learned a great deal about Persian customs and traditions from his teacher. Although his respect for Aristotle was diminished as his travels made it clear that much of Aristotle's geography was clearly wrong, when the old philosopher released his works to the public, Alexander complained "Thou hast not done well to publish thy acroamatic doctrines; for in what shall I surpass other men if those doctrines wherein I have been trained are to be all men's common property?"[136]

On Hellenistic science

After Theophrastus, the Lyceum failed to produce any original work. Though interest in Aristotle's ideas survived, they were generally taken unquestioningly.[137] It is not until the age of Alexandria under the Ptolemies that advances in biology can be again found.

The first medical teacher at Alexandria, Herophilus of Chalcedon, corrected Aristotle, placing intelligence in the brain, and connected the nervous system to motion and sensation. Herophilus also distinguished between veins and arteries, noting that the latter pulse while the former do not.[138] Though a few ancient atomists such as Lucretius challenged the teleological viewpoint of Aristotelian ideas about life, teleology (and after the rise of Christianity, natural theology) would remain central to biological thought essentially until the 18th and 19th centuries. Ernst Mayr states that there was "nothing of any real consequence in biology after Lucretius and Galen until the Renaissance."[139]

On Byzantine scholars

Greek Christian scribes played a crucial role in the preservation of Aristotle by copying all the extant Greek language manuscripts of the corpus. The first Greek Christians to comment extensively on Aristotle were Philoponus, Elias, and David in the sixth century, and Stephen of Alexandria in the early seventh century.[140] John Philoponus stands out for having attempted a fundamental critique of Aristotle's views on the eternity of the world, movement, and other elements of Aristotelian thought.[141] Philoponus questioned Aristotle's teaching of physics, noting its flaws and introducing the theory of impetus to explain his observations.[142]

After a hiatus of several centuries, formal commentary by Eustratius and Michael of Ephesus reappeared in the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries, apparently sponsored by Anna Comnena.[143]

On the medieval Islamic world

Arabic aristotle
Islamic portrayal of Aristotle, c. 1220

Aristotle was one of the most revered Western thinkers in early Islamic theology. Most of the still extant works of Aristotle,[144] as well as a number of the original Greek commentaries, were translated into Arabic and studied by Muslim philosophers, scientists and scholars. Averroes, Avicenna and Alpharabius, who wrote on Aristotle in great depth, also influenced Thomas Aquinas and other Western Christian scholastic philosophers. Alkindus greatly admired Aristotle's philosophy,[145] and Averroes spoke of Aristotle as the "exemplar" for all future philosophers.[146] Medieval Muslim scholars regularly described Aristotle as the "First Teacher".[144] The title "teacher" was first given to Aristotle by Muslim scholars, and was later used by Western philosophers (as in the famous poem of Dante) who were influenced by the tradition of Islamic philosophy.[147]

On medieval Europe

With the loss of the study of ancient Greek in the early medieval Latin West, Aristotle was practically unknown there from c. AD 600 to c. 1100 except through the Latin translation of the Organon made by Boethius. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, interest in Aristotle revived and Latin Christians had translations made, both from Arabic translations, such as those by Gerard of Cremona,[149] and from the original Greek, such as those by James of Venice and William of Moerbeke. After the Scholastic Thomas Aquinas wrote his Summa Theologica, working from Moerbeke's translations and calling Aristotle "The Philosopher",[150] the demand for Aristotle's writings grew, and the Greek manuscripts returned to the West, stimulating a revival of Aristotelianism in Europe that continued into the Renaissance.[151] These thinkers blended Aristotelian philosophy with Christianity, bringing the thought of Ancient Greece into the Middle Ages. Scholars such as Boethius, Peter Abelard, and John Buridan worked on Aristotelian logic.[152]

The medieval English poet Chaucer describes his student as being happy by having

at his beddes heed
Twenty bookes, clad in blak or reed,
Of aristotle and his philosophie,[153]

A cautionary medieval tale held that Aristotle advised his pupil Alexander to avoid the king's seductive mistress, Phyllis, but was himself captivated by her, and allowed her to ride him. Phyllis had secretly told Alexander what to expect, and he witnessed Phyllis proving that a woman's charms could overcome even the greatest philosopher's male intellect. Artists such as Hans Baldung produced a series of illustrations of the popular theme.[154][148]

The Italian poet Dante says of Aristotle in The Divine Comedy:

Dante
L'Inferno, Canto IV. 131–135
Translation
Hell

vidi 'l maestro di color che sanno
seder tra filosofica famiglia.
Tutti lo miran, tutti onor li fanno:
quivi vid'ïo Socrate e Platone
che 'nnanzi a li altri più presso li stanno;

I saw the Master there of those who know,
Amid the philosophic family,
By all admired, and by all reverenced;
There Plato too I saw, and Socrates,
Who stood beside him closer than the rest.

On Early Modern scientists

William Harvey (1578-1657) Venenbild
William Harvey's De Motu Cordis, 1628, showed that the blood circulated, contrary to classical era thinking.

In the Early Modern period, scientists such as William Harvey in England and Galileo Galilei in Italy reacted against the theories of Aristotle and other classical era thinkers like Galen, establishing new theories based to some degree on observation and experiment. Harvey demonstrated the circulation of the blood, establishing that the heart functioned as a pump rather than being the seat of the soul and the controller of the body's heat, as Aristotle thought.[155] Galileo used more doubtful arguments to displace Aristotle's physics, proposing that bodies all fall at the same speed whatever their weight.[156]

On 19th-century thinkers

The 19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche has been said to have taken nearly all of his political philosophy from Aristotle.[157] Aristotle rigidly separated action from production, and argued for the deserved subservience of some people ("natural slaves"), and the natural superiority (virtue, arete) of others. It was Martin Heidegger, not Nietzsche, who elaborated a new interpretation of Aristotle, intended to warrant his deconstruction of scholastic and philosophical tradition.[158]

The English mathematician George Boole fully accepted Aristotle's logic, but decided "to go under, over, and beyond" it with his system of algebraic logic in his 1854 book The Laws of Thought. This gives logic a mathematical foundation with equations, enables it to solve equations as well as check validity, and allows it to handle a wider class of problems by expanding propositions of any number of terms, not just two.[159]

Modern rejection and rehabilitation

Alexander and Aristotle
"That most enduring of romantic images, Aristotle tutoring the future conqueror Alexander".[131] Illustration by Charles Laplante, 1866

During the 20th century, Aristotle's work was widely criticised. The philosopher Bertrand Russell argued that "almost every serious intellectual advance has had to begin with an attack on some Aristotelian doctrine". Russell called Aristotle's ethics "repulsive", and labelled his logic "as definitely antiquated as Ptolemaic astronomy". Russell stated that these errors made it difficult to do historical justice to Aristotle, until one remembered what an advance he made upon all of his predecessors.[5]

The Dutch historian of science Eduard Jan Dijksterhuis wrote that Aristotle and his predecessors showed the difficulty of science by "proceed[ing] so readily to frame a theory of such a general character" on limited evidence from their senses.[160] In 1985, the biologist Peter Medawar could still state in "pure seventeenth century"[161] tones that Aristotle had assembled "a strange and generally speaking rather tiresome farrago of hearsay, imperfect observation, wishful thinking and credulity amounting to downright gullibility".[161][162]

By the start of the 21st century, however, Aristotle was taken more seriously: Kukkonen noted that "In the best 20th-century scholarship Aristotle comes alive as a thinker wrestling with the full weight of the Greek philosophical tradition."[131] Ayn Rand accredited Aristotle as "the greatest philosopher in history" and cited him as a major influence on her thinking.[163] More recently, Alasdair MacIntyre has attempted to reform what he calls the Aristotelian tradition in a way that is anti-elitist and capable of disputing the claims of both liberals and Nietzscheans.[164] Kukkonen observed, too, that "that most enduring of romantic images, Aristotle tutoring the future conqueror Alexander" remained current, as in the 2004 film Alexander, while the "firm rules" of Aristotle's theory of drama have ensured a role for the Poetics in Hollywood.[131]

Biologists continue to be interested in Aristotle's thinking. Armand Marie Leroi has reconstructed Aristotle's biology,[165] while Niko Tinbergen's four questions, based on Aristotle's four causes, are used to analyse animal behaviour; they examine function, phylogeny, mechanism, and ontogeny.[166][167]

Surviving works

Corpus Aristotelicum

Aristotelis De Moribus ad Nicomachum
First page of a 1566 edition of the Nicomachean Ethics in Greek and Latin

The works of Aristotle that have survived from antiquity through medieval manuscript transmission are collected in the Corpus Aristotelicum. These texts, as opposed to Aristotle's lost works, are technical philosophical treatises from within Aristotle's school. Reference to them is made according to the organisation of Immanuel Bekker's Royal Prussian Academy edition (Aristotelis Opera edidit Academia Regia Borussica, Berlin, 1831–1870), which in turn is based on ancient classifications of these works.[168]

Loss and preservation

Aristotle wrote his works on papyrus scrolls, the common writing medium of that era.[N] His writings are divisible into two groups: the "exoteric", intended for the public, and the "esoteric", for use within the Lyceum school.[170][O][171] Aristotle's "lost" works stray considerably in characterisation from the surviving Aristotelian corpus. Whereas the lost works appear to have been originally written with a view to subsequent publication, the surviving works mostly resemble lecture notes not intended for publication.[172][170] Cicero's description of Aristotle's literary style as "a river of gold" must have applied to the published works, not the surviving notes.[P] A major question in the history of Aristotle's works is how the exoteric writings were all lost, and how the ones we now possess came to us.[174] The consensus is that Andronicus of Rhodes collected the esoteric works of Aristotle's school which existed in the form of smaller, separate works, distinguished them from those of Theophrastus and other Peripatetics, edited them, and finally compiled them into the more cohesive, larger works as they are known today.[175][176]

Legacy

Depictions

Aristotle has been depicted by major artists including Lucas Cranach the Elder,[177] Justus van Gent, Raphael, Paolo Veronese, Jusepe de Ribera,[178] Rembrandt,[179] and Francesco Hayez over the centuries. Among the best-known is Raphael's fresco The School of Athens, in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, where the figures of Plato and Aristotle are central to the image, at the architectural vanishing point, reflecting their importance.[180] Rembrandt's Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, too, is a celebrated work, showing the knowing philosopher and the blind Homer from an earlier age: as the art critic Jonathan Jones writes, "this painting will remain one of the greatest and most mysterious in the world, ensnaring us in its musty, glowing, pitch-black, terrible knowledge of time."[181][182]

Aristotle in Nuremberg Chronicle

Nuremberg Chronicle anachronistically shows Aristotle in a medieval scholar's clothing. Ink and watercolour on paper, 1493

Gent, Justus van - Aristotle - c. 1476

Aristotle by Justus van Gent. Oil on panel, c. 1476

Lucas Cranach d.Ä. - Phyllis und Aristotle (1530)

Phyllis and Aristotle by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Oil on panel, 1530

Biblioteka Marciana, Aristotel

Aristotle by Paolo Veronese, Biblioteka Marciana. Oil on canvas, 1560s

Turchi-AristoteIMG 1713

Aristotle and Campaspe,[Q] Alessandro Turchi (attrib.) Oil on canvas, 1713

Aristotle by Jusepe de Ribera

Aristotle by Jusepe de Ribera. Oil on canvas, 1637

Rembrandt - Aristotle with a Bust of Homer - WGA19232

Aristotle with a Bust of Homer by Rembrandt. Oil on canvas, 1653

Johann Jakob Dorner d Ä (attr) Aristoteles

Aristotle by Johann Jakob Dorner the Elder. Oil on canvas, by 1813

Francesco Hayez 001

Aristotle by Francesco Hayez. Oil on canvas, 1811

Eponyms

The Aristotle Mountains in Antarctica are named after Aristotle. He was the first person known to conjecture, in his book Meteorology, the existence of a landmass in the southern high-latitude region and called it Antarctica.[183] Aristoteles is a crater on the Moon bearing the classical form of Aristotle's name.[184]

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ That these dates (the first half of the Olympiad year 384/383 BC, and in 322 shortly before the death of Demosthenes) are correct was shown by August Boeckh (Kleine Schriften VI 195); for further discussion, see Felix Jacoby on FGrHist 244 F 38. Ingemar Düring, Aristotle in the Ancient Biographical Tradition, Göteborg, 1957,p. 253
  2. ^ See(Shields 2012, pp. 3–16);(Düring 1957) covers ancient biographies of Aristotle.
  3. ^ This type of syllogism, with all three terms in 'a', is known by the traditional (medieval) mnemonic Barbara.[26]
  4. ^ M is the Middle (here, Men), S is the Subject (Greeks), P is the Predicate (mortal).[26]
  5. ^ The first equation can be read as 'It is not true that there exists an x such that x is a man and that x is not mortal.'[27]
  6. ^ Rhett Allain notes that Newton's First Law is "essentially a direct reply to Aristotle, that the natural state is not to change motion.[43]
  7. ^ Leonard Susskind comments that Aristotle had clearly never gone ice skating or he would have seen that it takes force to stop an object.[45]
  8. ^ For heavenly bodies like the Sun, Moon, and stars, the observed motions are "to a very good approximation" circular around the Earth's centre, (for example, the apparent rotation of the sky because of the rotation of the Earth, and the rotation of the moon around the Earth) as Aristotle stated.[46]
  9. ^ Drabkin quotes numerous passages from Physics and On the Heavens (De Caelo) which state Aristotle's laws of motion.[44]
  10. ^ Drabkin agrees that density is treated quantitatively in this passage, but without a sharp definition of density as weight per unit volume.[44]
  11. ^ Philoponus and Galileo correctly objected that for the transient phase (still increasing in speed) with heavy objects falling a short distance, the law does not apply: Galileo used balls on a short incline to show this. Rovelli notes that "Two heavy balls with the same shape and different weight do fall at different speeds from an aeroplane, confirming Aristotle's theory, not Galileo's."[46]
  12. ^ For a different reading of social and economic processes in the Nicomachean Ethics and Politics see Polanyi, Karl (1957) "Aristotle Discovers the Economy" in Primitive, Archaic and Modern Economies: Essays of Karl Polanyi ed. G. Dalton, Boston 1971, 78–115
  13. ^ "Where, as among the Lacedaemonians, the state of women is bad, almost half of human life is spoilt."[124]
  14. ^ "When the Roman dictator Sulla invaded Athens in 86 BC, he brought back to Rome a fantastic prize – Aristotle's library. Books then were papyrus rolls, from 10 to 20 feet long, and since Aristotle's death in 322 BC, worms and damp had done their worst. The rolls needed repairing, and the texts clarifying and copying on to new papyrus (imported from Egypt – Moses' bulrushes). The man in Rome who put Aristotle's library in order was a Greek scholar, Tyrannio."[169]
  15. ^ Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics 1102a26–27. Aristotle himself never uses the term "esoteric" or "acroamatic". For other passages where Aristotle speaks of exōterikoi logoi, see W.D. Ross, Aristotle's Metaphysics (1953), vol. 2 pp= 408–10. Ross defends an interpretation according to which the phrase, at least in Aristotle's own works, usually refers generally to "discussions not peculiar to the Peripatetic school", rather than to specific works of Aristotle's own.
  16. ^ "veniet flumen orationis aureum fundens Aristoteles", (Google translation: "Aristotle will come pouring forth a golden stream of eloquence").[173]
  17. ^ Compare the medieval tale of Phyllis and Alexander above.

Citations

  1. ^ Kantor 1963, p. 116.
  2. ^ On the Soul.
  3. ^ Collins English Dictionary.
  4. ^ a b c d Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.).
  5. ^ a b c d Russell 1972.
  6. ^ Barnes 1995, p. 9.
  7. ^ Campbell.
  8. ^ McLeisch 1999, p. 5.
  9. ^ Aristoteles-Park in Stagira.
  10. ^ Hall 2018, p. 14.
  11. ^ Anagnostopoulos 2013, p. 4.
  12. ^ Blits 1999, pp. 58–63.
  13. ^ Aristotle 1984, pp. Introduction.
  14. ^ a b Shields 2016.
  15. ^ a b Green 1991, pp. 58–59.
  16. ^ Smith 2007.
  17. ^ Green 1991, p. 460.
  18. ^ Filonik 2013, pp. 72–73.
  19. ^ Jones 1980, p. 216.
  20. ^ Gigon 2017, p. 41.
  21. ^ Düring 1957, p. T44a-e..
  22. ^ Haase 1992, p. 3862.
  23. ^ Degnan 1994, pp. 81–89.
  24. ^ Corcoran 2009, pp. 1–20.
  25. ^ Kant 1787, pp. Preface.
  26. ^ a b c Lagerlund 2016.
  27. ^ Predicate Logic.
  28. ^ Pickover 2009, p. 52.
  29. ^ Prior Analytics, pp. 24b18–20.
  30. ^ Bobzien 2015.
  31. ^ a b c Smith 2017.
  32. ^ School of Athens.
  33. ^ Stewart 2019.
  34. ^ a b c d e Cohen 2016.
  35. ^ a b c d Wildberg 2016.
  36. ^ Cohen 2000.
  37. ^ Aristotle 1999, p. 111.
  38. ^ Metaphysics, p. VIII 1043a 10–30.
  39. ^ Metaphysics, p. IX 1050a 5–10.
  40. ^ Metaphysics, p. VIII 1045a–b.
  41. ^ Lloyd 1968, pp. 43–47.
  42. ^ a b Lloyd 1968, pp. 133–39, 166–69.
  43. ^ a b Allain 2016.
  44. ^ a b c d e f g h i Drabkin 1938, pp. 60–84.
  45. ^ a b c d e Susskind 2011.
  46. ^ a b c d e f g h i Rovelli 2015, pp. 23–40.
  47. ^ Carteron 1923, pp. 1–32 and passim.
  48. ^ Leroi 2015, pp. 88–90.
  49. ^ a b c d e Lloyd 1996, pp. 96–100, 106–07.
  50. ^ Hankinson 1998, p. 159.
  51. ^ a b Leroi 2015, pp. 91–92, 369–73.
  52. ^ Lahanas.
  53. ^ Physics, p. 2.6.
  54. ^ Miller 1973, pp. 204–13.
  55. ^ Meteorology, p. 1. 8.
  56. ^ Moore 1956, p. 13.
  57. ^ Meteorology, p. Book 1, Part 14.
  58. ^ Lyell 1832, p. 17.
  59. ^ Leroi 2015, p. 7.
  60. ^ Leroi 2015, p. 14.
  61. ^ Thompson 1910, p. Prefatory Note.
  62. ^ Leroi 2015, pp. 196, 248.
  63. ^ Day 2013, pp. 5805–16.
  64. ^ Leroi 2015, pp. 66–74, 137.
  65. ^ Leroi 2015, pp. 118–19.
  66. ^ Leroi 2015, p. 73.
  67. ^ Leroi 2015, pp. 135–36.
  68. ^ Leroi 2015, p. 206.
  69. ^ Sedley 2007, p. 189.
  70. ^ Leroi 2015, p. 273.
  71. ^ Taylor 1922, p. 42.
  72. ^ Leroi 2015, pp. 361–65.
  73. ^ Leroi 2011.
  74. ^ Leroi 2015, pp. 197–200.
  75. ^ a b Leroi 2015, pp. 365–68.
  76. ^ Taylor 1922, p. 49.
  77. ^ Leroi 2015, p. 408.
  78. ^ Leroi 2015, pp. 72–74.
  79. ^ Bergstrom & Dugatkin 2012, p. 35.
  80. ^ Rhodes 1974, p. 7.
  81. ^ Mayr 1982, pp. 201–02.
  82. ^ Lovejoy 1976.
  83. ^ Leroi 2015, pp. 111–19.
  84. ^ Mason 1979, pp. 43–44.
  85. ^ Leroi 2015, pp. 156–63.
  86. ^ Mason 1979, p. 45.
  87. ^ Guthrie 2010, p. 348.
  88. ^ Bloch 2007, p. 12.
  89. ^ Bloch 2007, p. 61.
  90. ^ Carruthers 2007, p. 16.
  91. ^ Bloch 2007, p. 25.
  92. ^ Warren 1921, p. 30.
  93. ^ Warren 1921, p. 25.
  94. ^ Carruthers 2007, p. 19.
  95. ^ Warren 1921, p. 296.
  96. ^ Warren 1921, p. 259.
  97. ^ a b c d e f g Holowchak 1996, pp. 405–23.
  98. ^ a b c d e f Shute 1941, pp. 115–18.
  99. ^ a b Modrak 2009, pp. 169–81.
  100. ^ Webb 1990, pp. 174–84.
  101. ^ a b Deslauriers & Destrée 2013, pp. 157-162.
  102. ^ Kraut 2001.
  103. ^ Nicomachean Ethics Book I. See for example chapter 7.
  104. ^ Nicomachean Ethics, p. Book VI.
  105. ^ Politics, pp. 1253a19–24.
  106. ^ Aristotle 2009, pp. 320–21.
  107. ^ Ebenstein & Ebenstein 2002, p. 59.
  108. ^ a b Hutchinson & Johnson 2015, p. 22.
  109. ^ a b c Robbins 2000, pp. 20–24.
  110. ^ a b c d Aristotle 1948, pp. 16–28.
  111. ^ Kaufmann 1968, pp. 56–60.
  112. ^ Garver 1994, pp. 109–10.
  113. ^ Rorty 1996, pp. 3–7.
  114. ^ Grimaldi 1998, p. 71.
  115. ^ a b c d e f Halliwell 2002, pp. 152–59.
  116. ^ Poetics, p. I 1447a.
  117. ^ Poetics, p. IV.
  118. ^ Poetics, p. III.
  119. ^ Poetics, p. VI.
  120. ^ Poetics, p. XXVI.
  121. ^ Aesop 1998, pp. Introduction, xi–xii.
  122. ^ Freeland 1998.
  123. ^ Morsink 1979, pp. 83–112.
  124. ^ Rhetoric, p. Book I, Chapter 5.
  125. ^ Leroi 2015, p. 8.
  126. ^ Aristotle's Influence 2018.
  127. ^ Magee 2010, p. 34.
  128. ^ Guthrie 1990, p. 156.
  129. ^ Aristotle (Greek philosopher).
  130. ^ Durant 2006, p. 92.
  131. ^ a b c d e Kukkonen 2010, pp. 70–77.
  132. ^ Barnes 1982, p. 86.
  133. ^ Hooker 1831, p. 219.
  134. ^ Mayr 1982, pp. 90–91.
  135. ^ Mason 1979, p. 46.
  136. ^ Plutarch 1919, p. Part 1, 7:7.
  137. ^ Annas 2001, p. 252.
  138. ^ Mason 1979, p. 56.
  139. ^ Mayr 1985, pp. 90–94.
  140. ^ Sorabji 1990, pp. 20, 28, 35–36.
  141. ^ Sorabji 1990, pp. 233–74.
  142. ^ Lindberg 1992, p. 162.
  143. ^ Sorabji 1990, pp. 20–21, 28–29, 393–406, 407–08.
  144. ^ a b Kennedy-Day 1998.
  145. ^ Staley 1989.
  146. ^ Averroes 1953, p. III, 2, 43.
  147. ^ Nasr 1996, pp. 59–60.
  148. ^ a b Phyllis and Aristotle.
  149. ^ Hasse 2014.
  150. ^ Aquinas 2013.
  151. ^ Kuhn 2018.
  152. ^ Lagerlund.
  153. ^ Allen & Fisher 2011, p. 17.
  154. ^ Aristotle Phyllis.
  155. ^ Aird 2011, pp. 118–29.
  156. ^ Machamer 2017.
  157. ^ Durant 2006, p. 86.
  158. ^ Sikka 1997, p. 265.
  159. ^ Boole 2003.
  160. ^ Dijksterhuis 1969, p. 72.
  161. ^ a b Leroi 2015, p. 353.
  162. ^ Medawar & Medawar 1984, p. 28.
  163. ^ Mayhew.
  164. ^ Knight 2007, pp. passim.
  165. ^ Leroi 2015.
  166. ^ MacDougall-Shackleton 2011, pp. 2076–85.
  167. ^ Hladký & Havlíček 2013.
  168. ^ Aristotelis Opera.
  169. ^ When libraries were 2001.
  170. ^ a b Barnes 1995, p. 12.
  171. ^ House 1956, p. 35.
  172. ^ Irwin & Fine 1996, pp. xi–xii.
  173. ^ Cicero 1874.
  174. ^ Barnes & Griffin 1999, pp. 1–69.
  175. ^ Anagnostopoulos 2013, p. 16.
  176. ^ Barnes 1995, pp. 10–15.
  177. ^ Lucas Cranach the Elder.
  178. ^ Lee & Robinson 2005.
  179. ^ Aristotle with Bust 2002.
  180. ^ Phelan 2002.
  181. ^ Held 1969.
  182. ^ Jones 2002.
  183. ^ Aristotle Mountains.
  184. ^ Aristoteles.

Sources

Further reading

The secondary literature on Aristotle is vast. The following is only a small selection.

  • Ackrill, J. L. (1997). Essays on Plato and Aristotle, Oxford University Press.
  • Ackrill, J.L. (1981). Aristotle the Philosopher. Oxford University Press.
  • Adler, Mortimer J. (1978). Aristotle for Everybody. Macmillan.
  • Ammonius (1991). Cohen, S. Marc; Matthews, Gareth B (eds.). On Aristotle's Categories. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-2688-9.
  • Aristotle (1908–1952). The Works of Aristotle Translated into English Under the Editorship of W.D. Ross, 12 vols. Clarendon Press. These translations are available in several places online; see External links.
  • Bakalis, Nikolaos. (2005). Handbook of Greek Philosophy: From Thales to the Stoics Analysis and Fragments, Trafford PublishingISBN 978-1412048439
  • Bocheński, I. M. (1951). Ancient Formal Logic. North-Holland.
  • Bolotin, David (1998). An Approach to Aristotle's Physics: With Particular Attention to the Role of His Manner of Writing. Albany: SUNY Press. A contribution to our understanding of how to read Aristotle's scientific works.
  • Burnyeat, Myles F. et al. (1979). Notes on Book Zeta of Aristotle's Metaphysics. Oxford: Sub-faculty of Philosophy.
  • Cantor, Norman F.; Klein, Peter L., eds. (1969). Ancient Thought: Plato and Aristotle. Monuments of Western Thought. 1. Blaisdell.
  • Chappell, V. (1973). "Aristotle's Conception of Matter". Journal of Philosophy. 70 (19): 679–96. doi:10.2307/2025076. JSTOR 2025076.
  • Code, Alan (1995). Potentiality in Aristotle's Science and Metaphysics, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 76.
  • Ferguson, John (1972). Aristotle. Twayne Publishers.
  • De Groot, Jean (2014). Aristotle's Empiricism: Experience and Mechanics in the 4th Century BC, Parmenides Publishing,ISBN 978-1930972834
  • Frede, Michael (1987). Essays in Ancient Philosophy. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Fuller, B.A.G. (1923). Aristotle. History of Greek Philosophy. 3. Cape.
  • Gendlin, Eugene T. (2012). Line by Line Commentary on Aristotle's De Anima, Volume 1: Books I & II; Volume 2: Book III. The Focusing Institute.
  • Gill, Mary Louise (1989). Aristotle on Substance: The Paradox of Unity. Princeton University Press.
  • Guthrie, W.K.C. (1981). A History of Greek Philosophy. 6. Cambridge University Press.
  • Halper, Edward C. (2009). One and Many in Aristotle's Metaphysics, Volume 1: Books Alpha – Delta, Parmenides Publishing,ISBN 978-1930972216.
  • Halper, Edward C. (2005). One and Many in Aristotle's Metaphysics, Volume 2: The Central Books, Parmenides Publishing,ISBN 978-1930972056.
  • Irwin, Terence H. (1988). Aristotle's First Principles. Oxford: Clarendon Press,ISBN 0198242905.
  • Jaeger, Werner (1948). Robinson, Richard (ed.). Aristotle: Fundamentals of the History of His Development (2nd ed.). Clarendon Press.
  • Jori, Alberto (2003). Aristotele, Bruno Mondadori (Prize 2003 of the "International Academy of the History of Science")ISBN 978-8842497370.
  • Kiernan, Thomas P., ed. (1962). Aristotle Dictionary. Philosophical Library.
  • Knight, Kelvin (2007). Aristotelian Philosophy: Ethics and Politics from Aristotle to MacIntyre, Polity Press.
  • Lewis, Frank A. (1991). Substance and Predication in Aristotle. Cambridge University Press.
  • Lord, Carnes (1984). Introduction to The Politics, by Aristotle. Chicago University Press.
  • Loux, Michael J. (1991). Primary Ousia: An Essay on Aristotle's Metaphysics Ζ and Η. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
  • Maso, Stefano (Ed.), Natali, Carlo (Ed.), Seel, Gerhard (Ed.) (2012) Reading Aristotle: Physics VII. 3: What is Alteration? Proceedings of the International ESAP-HYELE Conference, Parmenides Publishing.ISBN 978-1930972735
  • McKeon, Richard (1973). Introduction to Aristotle (2nd ed.). University of Chicago Press.
  • Owen, G. E. L. (1965c). "The Platonism of Aristotle". Proceedings of the British Academy. 50: 125–50. [Reprinted in J. Barnes, M. Schofield, and R.R.K. Sorabji, eds.(1975). Articles on Aristotle Vol 1. Science. London: Duckworth 14–34.]
  • Pangle, Lorraine Smith (2003). Aristotle and the Philosophy of Friendship. Cambridge University Press.
  • Plato (1979). Allen, Harold Joseph; Wilbur, James B (eds.). The Worlds of Plato and Aristotle. Prometheus Books.
  • Reeve, C. D. C. (2000). Substantial Knowledge: Aristotle's Metaphysics. Hackett.
  • Rose, Lynn E. (1968). Aristotle's Syllogistic. Charles C Thomas.
  • Ross, Sir David (1995). Aristotle (6th ed.). Routledge.
  • Scaltsas, T. (1994). Substances and Universals in Aristotle's Metaphysics. Cornell University Press.
  • Strauss, Leo (1964). "On Aristotle's Politics", in The City and Man, Rand McNally.
  • Swanson, Judith (1992). The Public and the Private in Aristotle's Political Philosophy. Cornell University Press.
  • Veatch, Henry B. (1974). Aristotle: A Contemporary Appreciation. Indiana University Press.
  • Woods, M. J. (1991b). "Universals and Particular Forms in Aristotle's Metaphysics". Aristotle and the Later Tradition. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy. Suppl. pp. 41–56.

External links

Collections of works
Aristotelianism

Aristotelianism ( ARR-i-stə-TEE-lee-ə-niz-əm) is a tradition of philosophy that takes its defining inspiration from the work of Aristotle. This school of thought, in the modern sense of philosophy, covers existence, ethics, mind and related subjects. In Aristotle's time, philosophy included natural philosophy, which preceded the advent of modern science during the Scientific Revolution. The works of Aristotle were initially defended by the members of the Peripatetic school and later on by the Neoplatonists, who produced many commentaries on Aristotle's writings. In the Islamic Golden Age, Avicenna and Averroes translated the works of Aristotle into Arabic and under them, along with philosophers such as Al-Kindi and Al-Farabi, Aristotelianism became a major part of early Islamic philosophy.

Moses Maimonides adopted Aristotelianism from the Islamic scholars and based his famous Guide for the Perplexed on it and that became the basis of Jewish scholastic philosophy. Although some of Aristotle's logical works were known to western Europe, it was not until the Latin translations of the 12th century that the works of Aristotle and his Arabic commentators became widely available. Scholars such as Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas interpreted and systematized Aristotle's works in accordance with Christian theology.

After retreating under criticism from modern natural philosophers, the distinctively Aristotelian idea of teleology was transmitted through Wolff and Kant to Hegel, who applied it to history as a totality. Although this project was criticized by Trendelenburg and Brentano as non-Aristotelian, Hegel's influence is now often said to be responsible for an important Aristotelian influence upon Marx. Postmodernists, in contrast, reject Aristotelianism's claim to reveal important theoretical truths. In this, they follow Heidegger's critique of Aristotle as the greatest source of the entire tradition of Western philosophy.

Recent Aristotelian ethical and "practical" philosophy, such as that of Gadamer and McDowell, is often premissed upon a rejection of Aristotelianism's traditional metaphysical or theoretical philosophy. From this viewpoint, the early modern tradition of political republicanism, which views the res publica, public sphere or state as constituted by its citizens' virtuous activity, can appear thoroughly Aristotelian.

The most famous contemporary Aristotelian philosopher is Alasdair MacIntyre. Especially famous for helping to revive virtue ethics in his book After Virtue, MacIntyre revises Aristotelianism with the argument that the highest temporal goods, which are internal to human beings, are actualized through participation in social practices. He juxtaposes Aristotelianism with the managerial institutions of capitalism and its state, and with rival traditions — including the philosophies of Hume and Nietzsche — that reject Aristotle's idea of essentially human goods and virtues and instead legitimate capitalism. Therefore, on MacIntyre's account, Aristotelianism is not identical with Western philosophy as a whole; rather, it is "the best theory so far, [including] the best theory so far about what makes a particular theory the best one." Politically and socially, it has been characterized as a newly "revolutionary Aristotelianism". This may be contrasted with the more conventional, apolitical and effectively conservative uses of Aristotle by, for example, Gadamer and McDowell. Other important contemporary Aristotelian theorists include Fred D. Miller, Jr. in politics and Rosalind Hursthouse in ethics.

Aristotle's biology

Aristotle's biology is the theory of biology, grounded in systematic observation and collection of data, mainly zoological, embodied in Aristotle's books on the science. Many of his observations were made during his stay on the island of Lesbos, including especially his descriptions of the marine biology of the Pyrrha lagoon, now the Gulf of Kalloni. His theory is based on his concept of form, which derives from but is markedly unlike Plato's theory of Forms.

The theory describes five major biological processes, namely metabolism, temperature regulation, information processing, embryogenesis, and inheritance. Each was defined in some detail, in some cases sufficient to enable modern biologists to create mathematical models of the mechanisms described. Aristotle's method, too, resembled the style of science used by modern biologists when exploring a new area, with systematic data collection, discovery of patterns, and inference of possible causal explanations from these. He did not perform experiments in the modern sense, but made observations of living animals and carried out dissections. He names some 500 species of bird, mammal, and fish; and he distinguishes dozens of insects and other invertebrates. He describes the internal anatomy of over a hundred animals, and dissected around 35 of these.

Aristotle's writings on biology, the first in the history of science, are scattered across several books, forming about a quarter of his writings that have survived. The main biology texts were the History of Animals, Generation of Animals, Movement of Animals, Progression of Animals, Parts of Animals, and On the Soul, as well as the lost drawings of The Anatomies which accompanied the History.

Apart from his pupil, Theophrastus, who wrote a matching Enquiry into Plants, no research of comparable scope was carried out in ancient Greece, though Hellenistic medicine in Egypt continued Aristotle's inquiry into the mechanisms of the human body. Aristotle's biology was influential in the medieval Islamic world. Translation of Arabic versions and commentaries into Latin brought knowledge of Aristotle back into Western Europe, but the only biological work widely taught in medieval universities was On the Soul. The association of his work with medieval scholasticism, as well as errors in his theories, caused Early Modern scientists such as Galileo and William Harvey to reject Aristotle. Criticism of his errors and secondhand reports continued for centuries. He has found better acceptance among zoologists, and some of his long-derided observations in marine biology have been found in modern times to be true.

Aristotle Onassis

Aristotle Socrates Onassis (; Greek: Αριστοτέλης Ωνάσης, Aristotelis Onasis; 20 January 1906 – 15 March 1975), commonly called Ari or Aristo Onassis, was a Greek shipping magnate who amassed the world's largest privately owned shipping fleet and was one of the world's richest men. He was known for his business success, his great wealth and also his personal life, including his marriage to Athina Mary Livanos (daughter of shipping tycoon Stavros G. Livanos); his affair with famous opera singer Maria Callas; and his 1968 marriage to Jacqueline Kennedy, the widow of American President John F. Kennedy.Onassis was born in Smyrna (modern day İzmir in Turkey) and fled the city with his family to Greece in 1922 in the wake of the Greco-Turkish War. He moved to Argentina in 1923 and established himself as a tobacco trader and later a shipping owner during the Second World War. Moving to Monaco, Onassis fought Prince Rainer III for economic control of the country through his ownership of SBM and its Monte Carlo Casino. In the mid 1950s he sought to secure an oil shipping arrangement with Saudi Arabia, and engaged in whaling expeditions. In the 1960s Onassis attempted to establish a large investment contract, Project Omega, with the Greek military junta, and sold Olympic Airways which he had founded in 1957. Onassis was greatly affected by the death of his 24-year-old son, Alexander, in a plane crash in 1973, and died two years later.

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (A.U.Th.; often called the Aristotelian University or University of Thessaloniki; Greek: Αριστοτέλειο Πανεπιστήμιο Θεσσαλονίκης) is the sixth oldest and among the most highly ranked tertiary education institutions in Greece. It is named after the philosopher Aristotle, who was born in Stageira, about 55 km (34 miles) east of Thessaloniki.

It is the largest university in Greece and in the Balkans. Its campus covers 230,000 square metres in the centre of Thessaloniki, with additional educational and administrative facilities elsewhere.

As of 2014, there is a student population of approximately 40,000 active students enrolled at the university (31,000 at the undergraduate level and 9,000 in postgraduate programmes of which 3,952 at Doctoral level) and 2,366 faculty members. There are additionally 248 members of the Special Laboratory Teaching Personnel, 213 members of the Special Technical Laboratory Personnel. The administrative staff consists of 400 permanent employees and 528 subcontractor employees that are contracted by the university.The language of instruction is Greek, although there are programs in foreign languages and courses for international students, which are carried out in English, French, German, and Italian.

Averroes

Ibn Rushd (Arabic: ابن رشد‎; full name Arabic: أبو الوليد محمد ابن احمد ابن رشد‎, translit. Abū l-Walīd Muḥammad Ibn ʾAḥmad Ibn Rušd; 1126 – 11 December 1198), often Latinized as Averroes (English pronunciation: ), was a Muslim Andalusian philosopher and thinker who wrote about many subjects, including philosophy, theology, medicine, astronomy, physics, Islamic jurisprudence and law, and linguistics. His philosophical works include numerous commentaries on Aristotle, for which he was known in the West as The Commentator. He also served as a judge and a court physician for the Almohad caliphate.

He was born in Córdoba in 1126 to a family of prominent judges—his grandfather was the chief judge of the city. In 1169 he was introduced to the caliph Abu Yaqub Yusuf, who was impressed with his knowledge, became his patron and commissioned many of Averroes' commentaries. Averroes later served multiple terms as a judge in Seville and Córdoba. In 1182, he was appointed as court physician and the chief judge of Córdoba. After Abu Yusuf's death in 1184, he remained in royal favor until he fell into disgrace in 1195. He was targeted on various charges—likely for political reasons—and was exiled to nearby Lucena. He returned to royal favor shortly before his death on 11 December 1198.

Averroes was a strong proponent of Aristotelianism; he attempted to restore what he considered the original teachings of Aristotle and opposed the Neoplatonist tendencies of earlier Muslim thinkers, such as Al-Farabi and Avicenna. He also defended the pursuit of philosophy against criticism by Ashari theologians such as Al-Ghazali. Averroes argued that philosophy was permissible in Islam and even compulsory among certain elites. He also argued scriptural text should be interpreted allegorically if it appeared to contradict conclusions reached by reason and philosophy. His legacy in the Islamic world was modest for geographical and intellectual reasons.

In the West, Averroes was known for his extensive commentaries on Aristotle, many of which were translated into Latin and Hebrew. The translations of his work reawakened Western European interest in Aristotle and Greek thinkers, an area of study that had been widely abandoned after the fall of the Roman Empire. His thoughts generated controversies in Latin Christendom and triggered a philosophical movement called Averroism based on his writings. His unity of the intellect thesis, proposing that all humans share the same intellect, became one of the most well-known and controversial Averroist doctrines in the West. His works were condemned by the Catholic Church in 1270 and 1277. Although weakened by the condemnations and sustained critique by Thomas Aquinas, Latin Averroism continued to attract followers up to the sixteenth century.

Catharsis

Catharsis (from Greek κάθαρσις katharsis meaning "purification" or "cleansing" or "clarification") is, e.g., the purification and purgation of emotions—particularly pity and fear—through art or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration. It is a metaphor originally used by Aristotle in the Poetics, comparing the effects of tragedy on the mind of a spectator to the effect of a cathartic on the body. New work shows that metaphor is not allowed in definitions for Aristotle and thus, for a number of other reasons, too, Aristotle could not have written himself the word katharsis in that location, which helps explain why no one in 1000 years has been able to translate it to the satisfaction of the specialists in Aristotle.

Four causes

The "four causes" are elements of an influential principle in Aristotelian thought whereby explanations of change or movement are classified into four fundamental types of answer to the question "why?". Aristotle wrote that "we do not have knowledge of a thing until we have grasped its why, that is to say, its cause." While there are cases where identifying a "cause" is difficult, or in which "causes" might merge, Aristotle held that his four "causes" provided an analytical scheme of general applicability.Aitia, from Greek αἰτία, was the word that Aristotle used to refer to the causal explanation that has traditionally been translated as "cause", but this specialized, technical, philosophical usage of the word "cause" does not correspond exactly to its most usual applications in everyday English language. The translation of Aristotle's αἰτία that is nearest to current ordinary language could be "question" or "causal explanation", although any such terms may mask the fact that Aristotelians consider the four causes to be more fundamental in nature than mere explanations. In this article, the peculiar philosophical usage of the word "cause" will be employed, for tradition's sake, but the reader should not be misled by confusing this technical usage with current ordinary language.

Aristotle held that there were four kinds of answers to "why" questions (in Physics II, 3, and Metaphysics V, 2):

Matter: a change or movement's material cause, is the aspect of the change or movement which is determined by the material that composes the moving or changing things. For a table, that might be wood; for a statue, that might be bronze or marble.

Form: a change or movement's formal cause, is a change or movement caused by the arrangement, shape or appearance of the thing changing or moving. Aristotle says for example that the ratio 2:1, and number in general, is the cause of the octave.

Agent: a change or movement's efficient or moving cause, consists of things apart from the thing being changed or moved, which interact so as to be an agency of the change or movement. For example, the efficient cause of a table is a carpenter, or a person working as one, and according to Aristotle the efficient cause of a boy is a father.

End or purpose: a change or movement's final cause, is that for the sake of which a thing is what it is. For a seed, it might be an adult plant. For a sailboat, it might be sailing. For a ball at the top of a ramp, it might be coming to rest at the bottom.The four "causes" are not mutually exclusive. For Aristotle, several answers to the question "why" have to be given to explain a phenomenon and especially the actual configuration of an object. For example, if asking why a table is such and such, a complete explanation, taking into account the four causes, would sound like this: This table is solid and brown because it is made of wood (matter), it does not collapse because it has four legs of equal length (form), it is as such because a carpenter made it starting from a tree (agent), it has these dimensions because it is to be used by men and women (end).

Nicomachean Ethics

The Nicomachean Ethics (; Ancient Greek: Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια) is the name normally given to Aristotle's best-known work on ethics. The work, which plays a pre-eminent role in defining Aristotelian ethics, consists of ten books, originally separate scrolls, and is understood to be based on notes from his lectures at the Lyceum. The title is often assumed to refer to his son Nicomachus, to whom the work was dedicated or who may have edited it (although his young age makes this less likely). Alternatively, the work may have been dedicated to his father, who was also called Nicomachus.

The theme of the work is a Socratic question previously explored in the works of Plato, Aristotle's friend and teacher, of how men should best live. In his Metaphysics, Aristotle described how Socrates, the friend and teacher of Plato, had turned philosophy to human questions, whereas pre-Socratic philosophy had only been theoretical. Ethics, as now separated out for discussion by Aristotle, is practical rather than theoretical, in the original Aristotelian senses of these terms. In other words, it is not only a contemplation about good living, because it also aims to create good living. It is therefore connected to Aristotle's other practical work, the Politics, which similarly aims at people becoming good. Ethics is about how individuals should best live, while the study of politics is from the perspective of a law-giver, looking at the good of a whole community.

The Nicomachean Ethics is widely considered one of the most important historical philosophical works, and had an important impact upon the European Middle Ages, becoming one of the core works of medieval philosophy. It therefore indirectly became critical in the development of all modern philosophy as well as European law and theology. Many parts of the Nicomachean Ethics are well known in their own right, within different fields. In the Middle Ages, a synthesis between Aristotelian ethics and Christian theology became widespread, in Europe as introduced by Albertus Magnus. While various philosophers had influenced Christendom since its earliest times, in Western Europe Aristotle became "the Philosopher". The most important version of this synthesis was that of Thomas Aquinas. Other more "Averroist" Aristotelians such as Marsilius of Padua were controversial but also influential. (Marsilius is for example sometimes said to have influenced the controversial English political reformer Thomas Cromwell.)

A critical period in the history of this work's influence is at the end of the Middle Ages, and beginning of modernity, when several authors such as Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes, argued forcefully and largely successfully that the medieval Aristotelian tradition in practical thinking had become a great impediment to philosophy in their time. However, in more recent generations, Aristotle's original works (if not those of his medieval followers) have once again become an important source. More recent authors influenced by this work include Alasdair MacIntyre, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Martha Nussbaum and Avital Ronell.

Pathos

Pathos (, US: ; plural: pathea; Greek: πάθος, for "suffering" or "experience"; adjectival form: pathetic from παθητικός) appeals to the emotions of the audience and elicits feelings that already reside in them. Pathos is a communication technique used most often in rhetoric (in which it is considered one of the three modes of persuasion, alongside ethos and logos), as well as in literature, film, and other narrative art.

Emotional appeal can be accomplished in many ways, such as the following:

by a metaphor or storytelling, commonly known as a hook;

by passion in the delivery of the speech or writing, as determined by the audience; and

by personal anecdote.

Peripatetic school

The Peripatetic school was a school of philosophy in Ancient Greece. Its teachings derived from its founder, Aristotle (384–322 BC), and peripatetic is an adjective ascribed to his followers.

The school dates from around 335 BC when Aristotle began teaching in the Lyceum. It was an informal institution whose members conducted philosophical and scientific inquiries. After the middle of the 3rd century BC, the school fell into a decline, and it was not until the Roman era that there was a revival. Later members of the school concentrated on preserving and commenting on Aristotle's works rather than extending them; it died out in the 3rd century.

The study of Aristotle's works continued by scholars who were called Peripatetics through Late Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the works of the Peripatetic school were lost to the Latin West, but in the East they were rediscovered and incorporated into early Islamic philosophy, which would play a fundamental role in the revival of Aristotelian philosophy in Europe through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Poetics (Aristotle)

Aristotle's Poetics (Greek: Περὶ ποιητικῆς; Latin: De Poetica; c. 335 BC) is the earliest surviving work of dramatic theory and first extant philosophical treatise to focus on literary theory in the West. This has been the traditional view for centuries. However, recent work is now challenging whether Aristotle focuses on literary theory per se (given that not one poem exists in the treatise) or whether he focuses instead on dramatic musical theory that only has language as one of the elements.In it, Aristotle offers an account of what he calls "poetry" (a term that derives from a classical Greek term, ποιητής, that means "poet; author; maker" and in this context includes verse drama – comedy, tragedy, and the satyr play – as well as lyric poetry and epic poetry). They are similar in the fact that they are all imitations but different in the three ways that Aristotle describes:

Differences in music rhythm, harmony, meter and melody.

Difference of goodness in the characters.

Difference in how the narrative is presented: telling a story or acting it out.In examining its "first principles", Aristotle finds two: 1) imitation and 2) genres and other concepts by which that of truth is applied/revealed in the poesis. His analysis of tragedy constitutes the core of the discussion. Although Aristotle's Poetics is universally acknowledged in the Western critical tradition, "almost every detail about his seminal work has aroused divergent opinions".The work was lost to the Western world for a long time. It was available in the Middle Ages and early Renaissance only through a Latin translation of an Arabic version written by Averroes.

Politics (Aristotle)

Politics (Greek: Πολιτικά, Politiká) is a work of political philosophy by Aristotle, a 4th-century BC Greek philosopher.

The end of the Nicomachean Ethics declared that the inquiry into ethics necessarily follows into politics, and the two works are frequently considered to be parts of a larger treatise, or perhaps connected lectures, dealing with the "philosophy of human affairs". The title of the Politics literally means "the things concerning the polis".

Potentiality and actuality

In philosophy, potentiality and actuality are a pair of closely connected principles which Aristotle used to analyze motion, causality, ethics, and physiology in his Physics, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics and De Anima, which is about the human psyche.The concept of potentiality, in this context, generally refers to any "possibility" that a thing can be said to have. Aristotle did not consider all possibilities the same, and emphasized the importance of those that become real of their own accord when conditions are right and nothing stops them.

Actuality, in contrast to potentiality, is the motion, change or activity that represents an exercise or fulfillment of a possibility, when a possibility becomes real in the fullest sense.These concepts, in modified forms, remained very important into the Middle Ages, influencing the development of medieval theology in several ways. Going further into modern times, while the understanding of nature, and according to some interpretations deity, implied by the dichotomy lost importance, the terminology has found new uses, developing indirectly from the old. This is most obvious in words like "energy" and "dynamic"--words first used in modern physics by the German scientist and philosopher, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. Another example is the highly controversial biological concept of an "entelechy".

Rhetoric (Aristotle)

Aristotle's Rhetoric (Ancient Greek: Ῥητορική, translit. Rhētorikḗ; Latin: Ars Rhetorica) is an ancient Greek treatise on the art of persuasion, dating from the 4th century BC. The English title varies: typically it is titled Rhetoric, the Art of Rhetoric, On Rhetoric, or a Treatise on Rhetoric.

Soul

The soul, in many religious, philosophical, and mythological traditions, is the incorporeal essence of a living being. Soul or psyche (Ancient Greek: ψυχή psūkhḗ, of ψύχειν psū́khein, "to breathe") are the mental abilities of a living being: reason, character, feeling, consciousness, memory, perception, thinking, etc. Depending on the philosophical system, a soul can either be mortal or immortal. In Judeo-Christianity, only human beings have immortal souls (although immortality is disputed within Judaism and may have been influenced by Plato). For example, the Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas attributed "soul" (anima) to all organisms but argued that only human souls are immortal.Other religions (most notably Hinduism and Jainism) hold that all living things from the smallest bacterium to the largest of mammals are the souls themselves (Atman, jiva) and have their physical representative (the body) in the world. The actual self is the soul, while the body is only a mechanism to experience the karma of that life. Thus if we see a tiger then there is a self-conscious identity residing in it (the soul), and a physical representative (the whole body of the tiger, which is observable) in the world. Some teach that even non-biological entities (such as rivers and mountains) possess souls. This belief is called animism. Greek philosophers, such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, understood that the soul (ψυχή psūchê) must have a logical faculty, the exercise of which was the most divine of human actions. At his defense trial, Socrates even summarized his teaching as nothing other than an exhortation for his fellow Athenians to excel in matters of the psyche since all bodily goods are dependent on such excellence (Apology 30a–b).

The current consensus of modern science is that there is no evidence to support the existence of the soul when traditionally defined as the spiritual breath of the body. In metaphysics, the concept of "Soul" may be equated with that of "Mind" in order to refer to the consciousness and intellect of the individual.

The School of Athens

The School of Athens (Italian: Scuola di Atene) is a fresco by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. It was painted between 1509 and 1511 as a part of Raphael's commission to decorate the rooms now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. The Stanza della Segnatura was the first of the rooms to be decorated, and The School of Athens, representing Philosophy, was probably the third painting to be finished there, after La Disputa (Theology) on the opposite wall, and the Parnassus (Literature). The picture has long been seen as "Raphael's masterpiece and the perfect embodiment of the classical spirit of the Renaissance".

Theophrastus

Theophrastus (; Greek: Θεόφραστος Theόphrastos; c. 371 – c. 287 BC), a Greek native of Eresos in Lesbos, was the successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic school. He came to Athens at a young age and initially studied in Plato's school. After Plato's death, he attached himself to Aristotle who took to Theophrastus his writings. When Aristotle fled Athens, Theophrastus took over as head of the Lyceum. Theophrastus presided over the Peripatetic school for thirty-six years, during which time the school flourished greatly. He is often considered the father of botany for his works on plants. After his death, the Athenians honoured him with a public funeral. His successor as head of the school was Strato of Lampsacus.

The interests of Theophrastus were wide ranging, extending from biology and physics to ethics and metaphysics. His two surviving botanical works, Enquiry into Plants (Historia Plantarum) and On the Causes of Plants, were an important influence on Renaissance science. There are also surviving works On Moral Characters, On Sense Perception, On Stones, and fragments on Physics and Metaphysics. In philosophy, he studied grammar and language and continued Aristotle's work on logic. He also regarded space as the mere arrangement and position of bodies, time as an accident of motion, and motion as a necessary consequence of all activity. In ethics, he regarded happiness as depending on external influences as well as on virtue.

Tragic hero

A tragic hero is the protagonist of a tragedy in dramas. In his Poetics, Aristotle records the descriptions of the tragic hero to the playwright and strictly defines the place that the tragic hero must play and the kind of man he must be. Aristotle based his observations on previous dramas. Many of the most famous instances of tragic heroes appear in Greek literature, most notably the works of Sophocles and Euripides.

Unmoved mover

The unmoved mover (Ancient Greek: ὃ οὐ κινούμενον κινεῖ, translit. ho ou kinoúmenon kineî, lit. 'that which moves without being moved') or prime mover (Latin: primum movens) is a concept advanced by Aristotle as a primary cause (or first uncaused cause) or "mover" of all the motion in the universe. As is implicit in the name, the "unmoved mover" moves other things, but is not itself moved by any prior action. In Book 12 (Greek: Λ) of his Metaphysics, Aristotle describes the unmoved mover as being perfectly beautiful, indivisible, and contemplating only the perfect contemplation: self-contemplation. He equates this concept also with the active intellect. This Aristotelian concept had its roots in cosmological speculations of the earliest Greek pre-Socratic philosophers and became highly influential and widely drawn upon in medieval philosophy and theology. St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, elaborated on the unmoved mover in the Quinque viae.

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