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For other uses, see Aristotle (disambiguation). Aristotle_sentence_0


BornAristotle_header_cell_0_1_0 384 BC

Stagira, Chalcidian LeagueAristotle_cell_0_1_1

DiedAristotle_header_cell_0_2_0 322 BC (aged 61–62)

Euboea, Macedonian EmpireAristotle_cell_0_2_1

Spouse(s)Aristotle_header_cell_0_3_0 PythiasAristotle_cell_0_3_1
EraAristotle_header_cell_0_4_0 Ancient Greek philosophyAristotle_cell_0_4_1
RegionAristotle_header_cell_0_5_0 Western philosophyAristotle_cell_0_5_1
SchoolAristotle_header_cell_0_6_0 Aristotle_cell_0_6_1
Notable studentsAristotle_header_cell_0_7_0 Alexander the Great, TheophrastusAristotle_cell_0_7_1
Main interestsAristotle_header_cell_0_8_0 Aristotle_cell_0_8_1
Notable ideasAristotle_header_cell_0_9_0 Aristotle_cell_0_9_1

Aristotle (/ærɪsˈtɒtəl/; Greek: Ἀριστοτέλης Aristotélēs, pronounced [aristotélɛːs; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. Aristotle_sentence_1

Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Lyceum, the Peripatetic school of philosophy, and the Aristotelian tradition. Aristotle_sentence_2

His writings cover many subjects including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theatre, music, rhetoric, psychology, linguistics, economics, politics, and government. Aristotle_sentence_3

Aristotle provided a complex synthesis of the various philosophies existing prior to him. Aristotle_sentence_4

It was above all from his teachings that the West inherited its intellectual lexicon, as well as problems and methods of inquiry. Aristotle_sentence_5

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. Aristotle_sentence_6

Little is known about his life. Aristotle_sentence_7

Aristotle was born in the city of Stagira in Northern Greece. Aristotle_sentence_8

His father, Nicomachus, died when Aristotle was a child, and he was brought up by a guardian. Aristotle_sentence_9

At seventeen or eighteen years of age he joined Plato's Academy in Athens and remained there until the age of thirty-seven (c. Aristotle_sentence_10

347 BC). Aristotle_sentence_11

Shortly after Plato died, Aristotle left Athens and, at the request of Philip II of Macedon, tutored Alexander the Great beginning in 343 BC. Aristotle_sentence_12

He established a library in the Lyceum which helped him to produce many of his hundreds of books on papyrus scrolls. Aristotle_sentence_13

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. Aristotle_sentence_14

Aristotle's views on physical science profoundly shaped medieval scholarship. Aristotle_sentence_15

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 were developed. Aristotle_sentence_16

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. Aristotle_sentence_17

His works contain the earliest known formal study of logic, studied by medieval scholars such as Peter Abelard and John Buridan. Aristotle_sentence_18

Aristotle's influence on logic also continued well into the 19th century. Aristotle_sentence_19

He influenced Judeo-Islamic philosophies (800–1400) 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_sentence_20

Aristotle was revered among medieval Muslim scholars as "The First Teacher" and among medieval Christians like Thomas Aquinas as simply "The Philosopher". Aristotle_sentence_21

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_sentence_22

Life Aristotle_section_0

In general, the details of Aristotle's life are not well-established. Aristotle_sentence_23

The biographies written in ancient times are often speculative and historians only agree on a few salient points. Aristotle_sentence_24

Aristotle, whose name means "the best purpose" in Ancient Greek, was born in 384 BC in Stagira, Chalcidice, about 55 km (34 miles) east of modern-day Thessaloniki. Aristotle_sentence_25

His father Nicomachus was the personal physician to King Amyntas of Macedon. Aristotle_sentence_26

Both of Aristotle's parents died when he was about thirteen, and Proxenus of Atarneus became his guardian. Aristotle_sentence_27

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. Aristotle_sentence_28

At the age of seventeen or eighteen, Aristotle moved to Athens to continue his education at Plato's Academy. Aristotle_sentence_29

He probably experienced the Eleusinian Mysteries as he wrote when describing the sights one viewed at the Eleusinian Mysteries, "to experience is to learn" [παθείν μαθεĩν]. Aristotle_sentence_30

Aristotle remained in Athens for nearly twenty years before leaving in 348/47 BC. Aristotle_sentence_31

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. Aristotle_sentence_32

Aristotle then accompanied Xenocrates to the court of his friend Hermias of Atarneus in Asia Minor. Aristotle_sentence_33

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. Aristotle_sentence_34

While in Lesbos, Aristotle married Pythias, either Hermias's adoptive daughter or niece. Aristotle_sentence_35

She bore him a daughter, whom they also named Pythias. Aristotle_sentence_36

In 343 BC, Aristotle was invited by Philip II of Macedon to become the tutor to his son Alexander. Aristotle_sentence_37

Aristotle was appointed as the head of the royal academy of Macedon. Aristotle_sentence_38

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. Aristotle_sentence_39

Aristotle encouraged Alexander toward eastern conquest, and Aristotle's own attitude towards Persia was unabashedly ethnocentric. Aristotle_sentence_40

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". Aristotle_sentence_41

By 335 BC, Aristotle had returned to Athens, establishing his own school there known as the Lyceum. Aristotle_sentence_42

Aristotle conducted courses at the school for the next twelve years. Aristotle_sentence_43

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. Aristotle_sentence_44

If we believed the Suda (an uncritical compilation from the Middle Ages) he may also had an erômenos, Palaephatus of Abydus. Aristotle_sentence_45

This period in Athens, between 335 and 323 BC, is when Aristotle is believed to have composed many of his works. Aristotle_sentence_46

He wrote many dialogues, of which only fragments have survived. Aristotle_sentence_47

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. Aristotle_sentence_48

His most important treatises include Physics, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, On the Soul and Poetics. Aristotle_sentence_49

Aristotle studied and made significant contributions to "logic, metaphysics, mathematics, physics, biology, botany, ethics, politics, agriculture, medicine, dance and theatre." Aristotle_sentence_50

Near the end of his life, Alexander and Aristotle became estranged over Alexander's relationship with Persia and Persians. Aristotle_sentence_51

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. Aristotle_sentence_52

Following Alexander's death, anti-Macedonian sentiment in Athens was rekindled. Aristotle_sentence_53

In 322 BC, Demophilus and Eurymedon the Hierophant reportedly denounced Aristotle for impiety, 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" – a reference to Athens's trial and execution of Socrates. Aristotle_sentence_54

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. Aristotle_sentence_55

Speculative philosophy Aristotle_section_1

Logic Aristotle_section_2

Main article: Term logic Aristotle_sentence_56

Further information: Non-Aristotelian logic Aristotle_sentence_57

With the Prior Analytics, Aristotle is credited with the earliest study of formal logic, and his conception of it was the dominant form of Western logic until 19th-century advances in mathematical logic. Aristotle_sentence_58

Kant stated in the Critique of Pure Reason that with Aristotle logic reached its completion. Aristotle_sentence_59

Organon Aristotle_section_3

Main article: Organon Aristotle_sentence_60


One of Aristotle's types of syllogismAristotle_table_caption_1
In wordsAristotle_header_cell_1_0_0 In termsAristotle_header_cell_1_0_1 In equationsAristotle_header_cell_1_0_2
All men are mortal.

    All Greeks are men.

All Greeks are mortal.Aristotle_cell_1_1_0

M a P

S a M

S a PAristotle_cell_1_1_1


What we today call Aristotelian logic with its types of syllogism (methods of logical argument), Aristotle himself would have labelled "analytics". Aristotle_sentence_61

The term "logic" he reserved to mean dialectics. Aristotle_sentence_62

Most of Aristotle's work is probably not in its original form, because it was most likely edited by students and later lecturers. Aristotle_sentence_63

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. Aristotle_sentence_64

The books are: Aristotle_sentence_65


  1. CategoriesAristotle_item_0_0
  2. On InterpretationAristotle_item_0_1
  3. Prior AnalyticsAristotle_item_0_2
  4. Posterior AnalyticsAristotle_item_0_3
  5. TopicsAristotle_item_0_4
  6. On Sophistical RefutationsAristotle_item_0_5

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. Aristotle_sentence_66

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) and dialectics (in the Topics and Sophistical Refutations). Aristotle_sentence_67

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. Aristotle_sentence_68

The Rhetoric is not conventionally included, but it states that it relies on the Topics. Aristotle_sentence_69

Metaphysics Aristotle_section_4

Main article: Metaphysics (Aristotle) Aristotle_sentence_70

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. Aristotle_sentence_71

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. Aristotle_sentence_72

He wrote in his Metaphysics (1026a16): Aristotle_sentence_73

Substance Aristotle_section_5

Further information: Hylomorphism Aristotle_sentence_74

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. Aristotle_sentence_75

In Book VIII, he distinguishes the matter of the substance as the substratum, or the stuff of which it is composed. Aristotle_sentence_76

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. Aristotle_sentence_77

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. Aristotle_sentence_78

Immanent realism Aristotle_section_6

Main article: Aristotle's theory of universals Aristotle_sentence_79

Like his teacher Plato, Aristotle's philosophy aims at the universal. Aristotle_sentence_80

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. Aristotle_sentence_81

For Aristotle, "form" is still what phenomena are based on, but is "instantiated" in a particular substance. Aristotle_sentence_82

Plato argued that all things have a universal form, which could be either a property or a relation to other things. Aristotle_sentence_83

When we look at an apple, for example, we see an apple, and we can also analyse a form of an apple. Aristotle_sentence_84

In this distinction, there is a particular apple and a universal form of an apple. Aristotle_sentence_85

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. Aristotle_sentence_86

Plato argued that there are some universal forms that are not a part of particular things. Aristotle_sentence_87

For example, it is possible that there is no particular good in existence, but "good" is still a proper universal form. Aristotle_sentence_88

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. Aristotle_sentence_89

In addition, Aristotle disagreed with Plato about the location of universals. Aristotle_sentence_90

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. Aristotle_sentence_91

So, according to Aristotle, the form of apple exists within each apple, rather than in the world of the forms. Aristotle_sentence_92

Potentiality and actuality Aristotle_section_7

Further information: Potentiality and actuality (Aristotle) Aristotle_sentence_93

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: Aristotle_sentence_94


  1. growth and diminution, which is change in quantity;Aristotle_item_1_6
  2. locomotion, which is change in space; andAristotle_item_1_7
  3. alteration, which is change in quality.Aristotle_item_1_8

The coming to be is a change where nothing persists of which the resultant is a property. Aristotle_sentence_95

In that particular change he introduces the concept of potentiality (dynamis) and actuality (entelecheia) in association with the matter and the form. Aristotle_sentence_96

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. Aristotle_sentence_97

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. Aristotle_sentence_98

Potentially beings can either 'act' (poiein) or 'be acted upon' (paschein), which can be either innate or learned. Aristotle_sentence_99

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). Aristotle_sentence_100

Actuality is the fulfilment of the end of the potentiality. Aristotle_sentence_101

Because the end (telos) is the principle of every change, and for the sake of the end exists potentiality, therefore actuality is the end. Aristotle_sentence_102

Referring then to our previous example, we could say that an actuality is when a plant does one of the activities that plants do. Aristotle_sentence_103

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. Aristotle_sentence_104

Then Aristotle proceeds and concludes that the actuality is prior to potentiality in formula, in time and in substantiality. Aristotle_sentence_105

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"? Aristotle_sentence_106

Since, according to Plato there are two Ideas: animal and biped, how then is man a unity? Aristotle_sentence_107

However, according to Aristotle, the potential being (matter) and the actual one (form) are one and the same. Aristotle_sentence_108

Epistemology Aristotle_section_8

Aristotle's immanent realism means his 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. Aristotle_sentence_109

Aristotle uses induction from examples alongside deduction, whereas Plato relies on deduction from a priori principles. Aristotle_sentence_110

Natural philosophy Aristotle_section_9

Aristotle's "natural philosophy" spans a wide range of natural phenomena including those now covered by physics, biology and other natural sciences. Aristotle_sentence_111

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_sentence_112

Aristotle's work encompassed virtually all facets of intellectual inquiry. Aristotle_sentence_113

Aristotle makes philosophy in the broad sense coextensive with reasoning, which he also would describe as "science". Aristotle_sentence_114

Note, however, that his use of the term science carries a different meaning than that covered by the term "scientific method". Aristotle_sentence_115

For Aristotle, "all science (dianoia) is either practical, poetical or theoretical" (Metaphysics 1025b25). Aristotle_sentence_116

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. Aristotle_sentence_117

Physics Aristotle_section_10

Main article: Aristotelian physics Aristotle_sentence_118

Five elements Aristotle_section_11

Main article: Classical element Aristotle_sentence_119

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. Aristotle_sentence_120

In the Empedoclean scheme, all matter was made of the four elements, in differing proportions. Aristotle_sentence_121

Aristotle's scheme added the heavenly Aether, the divine substance of the heavenly spheres, stars and planets. Aristotle_sentence_122


Aristotle's elementsAristotle_table_caption_2
ElementAristotle_header_cell_2_0_0 Hot/ColdAristotle_header_cell_2_0_1 Wet/DryAristotle_header_cell_2_0_2 MotionAristotle_header_cell_2_0_3 Modern state of matterAristotle_header_cell_2_0_4
EarthAristotle_cell_2_1_0 ColdAristotle_cell_2_1_1 DryAristotle_cell_2_1_2 DownAristotle_cell_2_1_3 SolidAristotle_cell_2_1_4
WaterAristotle_cell_2_2_0 ColdAristotle_cell_2_2_1 WetAristotle_cell_2_2_2 DownAristotle_cell_2_2_3 LiquidAristotle_cell_2_2_4
AirAristotle_cell_2_3_0 HotAristotle_cell_2_3_1 WetAristotle_cell_2_3_2 UpAristotle_cell_2_3_3 GasAristotle_cell_2_3_4
FireAristotle_cell_2_4_0 HotAristotle_cell_2_4_1 DryAristotle_cell_2_4_2 UpAristotle_cell_2_4_3 PlasmaAristotle_cell_2_4_4
AetherAristotle_cell_2_5_0 (divine


Aristotle_cell_2_5_2 Circular

(in heavens)Aristotle_cell_2_5_3


Motion Aristotle_section_12

Further information: History of classical mechanics Aristotle_sentence_123

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). Aristotle_sentence_124

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, since Aristotle does not address friction. Aristotle_sentence_125

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. Aristotle_sentence_126

This would imply the equation Aristotle_sentence_127

incorrect in modern physics. Aristotle_sentence_128

Natural motion depends on the element concerned: the aether naturally moves in a circle around the heavens, while the 4 Empedoclean elements move vertically up (like fire, as is observed) or down (like earth) towards their natural resting places. Aristotle_sentence_129

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, ρ, of the fluid in which it is falling: Aristotle_sentence_130

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. Aristotle_sentence_131

Opinions have varied on whether Aristotle intended to state quantitative laws. Aristotle_sentence_132

Henri Carteron held the "extreme view" that Aristotle's concept of force was basically qualitative, but other authors reject this. Aristotle_sentence_133

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. Aristotle_sentence_134

Aristotle's writings on motion remained influential until the Early Modern period. Aristotle_sentence_135

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. Aristotle_sentence_136

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. Aristotle_sentence_137

In this system, heavy bodies in steady fall indeed travel faster than light ones (whether friction is ignored, or not), and they do fall more slowly in a denser medium. Aristotle_sentence_138

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. Aristotle_sentence_139

Four causes Aristotle_section_13

Main article: Four causes Aristotle_sentence_140

Aristotle suggested that the reason for anything coming about can be attributed to four different types of simultaneously active factors. Aristotle_sentence_141

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. Aristotle_sentence_142


  • 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.Aristotle_item_2_9
  • 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.Aristotle_item_2_10
  • 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. In the case of animals, this agency is a combination of how it develops from the egg, and how its body functions.Aristotle_item_2_11
  • 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. In the case of living things, it implies adaptation to a particular way of life.Aristotle_item_2_12

Optics Aristotle_section_14

Further information: History of optics Aristotle_sentence_143

Aristotle describes experiments in optics using a camera obscura in Problems, book 15. Aristotle_sentence_144

The apparatus consisted of a dark chamber with a small aperture that let light in. Aristotle_sentence_145

With it, he saw that whatever shape he made the hole, the sun's image always remained circular. Aristotle_sentence_146

He also noted that increasing the distance between the aperture and the image surface magnified the image. Aristotle_sentence_147

Chance and spontaneity Aristotle_section_15

Further information: Accident (philosophy) Aristotle_sentence_148

According to Aristotle, spontaneity and chance are causes of some things, distinguishable from other types of cause such as simple necessity. Aristotle_sentence_149

Chance as an incidental cause lies in the realm of accidental things, "from what is spontaneous". Aristotle_sentence_150

There is also more a specific kind of chance, which Aristotle names "luck", that only applies to people's moral choices. Aristotle_sentence_151

Astronomy Aristotle_section_16

Further information: History of astronomy Aristotle_sentence_152

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." Aristotle_sentence_153

Geology Aristotle_section_17

Further information: History of geology Aristotle_sentence_154

Aristotle was one of the first people to record any geological observations. Aristotle_sentence_155

He stated that geological change was too slow to be observed in one person's lifetime. Aristotle_sentence_156

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."' Aristotle_sentence_157

Biology Aristotle_section_18

Main article: Aristotle's biology Aristotle_sentence_158

Empirical research Aristotle_section_19

Aristotle was the first person to study biology systematically, and biology forms a large part of his writings. Aristotle_sentence_159

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. Aristotle_sentence_160

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 specialized knowledge such as beekeepers and fishermen, and less accurate accounts provided by travellers from overseas. Aristotle_sentence_161

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. Aristotle_sentence_162

Aristotle reports on the sea-life visible from observation on Lesbos and the catches of fishermen. Aristotle_sentence_163

He describes the catfish, electric ray, and frogfish in detail, as well as cephalopods such as the octopus and paper nautilus. Aristotle_sentence_164

His description of the hectocotyl arm of cephalopods, used in sexual reproduction, was widely disbelieved until the 19th century. Aristotle_sentence_165

He gives accurate descriptions of the four-chambered fore-stomachs of ruminants, and of the ovoviviparous embryological development of the hound shark. Aristotle_sentence_166

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. Aristotle_sentence_167

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. Aristotle_sentence_168

Aristotle's writings can seem to modern readers close to implying evolution, but while Aristotle was aware that new mutations or hybridizations could occur, he saw these as rare accidents. Aristotle_sentence_169

For Aristotle, accidents, like heat waves in winter, must be considered distinct from natural causes. Aristotle_sentence_170

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. Aristotle_sentence_171

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. Aristotle_sentence_172

Scientific style Aristotle_section_20

Aristotle did not do experiments in the modern sense. Aristotle_sentence_173

He used the ancient Greek term pepeiramenoi to mean observations, or at most investigative procedures like dissection. Aristotle_sentence_174

In Generation of Animals, he finds a fertilized hen's egg of a suitable stage and opens it to see the embryo's heart beating inside. Aristotle_sentence_175

Instead, he practiced a different style of science: systematically gathering data, discovering patterns common to whole groups of animals, and inferring possible causal explanations from these. Aristotle_sentence_176

This style is common in modern biology when large amounts of data become available in a new field, such as genomics. Aristotle_sentence_177

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. Aristotle_sentence_178

In this sense, Aristotle's biology is scientific. Aristotle_sentence_179

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. Aristotle_sentence_180

Among these correct predictions are the following. Aristotle_sentence_181

Brood size decreases with (adult) body mass, so that an elephant has fewer young (usually just one) per brood than a mouse. Aristotle_sentence_182

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. Aristotle_sentence_183

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. Aristotle_sentence_184

Classification of living things Aristotle_section_21

Further information: Scala naturae Aristotle_sentence_185

Aristotle distinguished about 500 species of animals, arranging these in the History of Animals in a graded scale of perfection, a scala naturae, with man at the top. Aristotle_sentence_186

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. Aristotle_sentence_187

Animals came above plants, and these in turn were above minerals. Aristotle_sentence_188

see also: 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". Aristotle_sentence_189

Those with blood were divided into the live-bearing (mammals), and the egg-laying (birds, reptiles, fish). Aristotle_sentence_190

Those without blood were insects, crustacea (non-shelled – cephalopods, and shelled) and the hard-shelled molluscs (bivalves and gastropods). Aristotle_sentence_191

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. Aristotle_sentence_192

To a modern biologist, the explanation, not available to Aristotle, is convergent evolution. Aristotle_sentence_193

He believed that purposive final causes guided all natural processes; this teleological view justified his observed data as an expression of formal design. Aristotle_sentence_194


Aristotle's Scala naturae (highest to lowest)Aristotle_table_caption_3
GroupAristotle_header_cell_3_0_0 Examples

(given by Aristotle)Aristotle_header_cell_3_0_1

BloodAristotle_header_cell_3_0_2 LegsAristotle_header_cell_3_0_3 Souls

(Rational, Sensitive, Vegetative)Aristotle_header_cell_3_0_4


(Hot–Cold, Wet–Dry)Aristotle_header_cell_3_0_5

ManAristotle_cell_3_1_0 ManAristotle_cell_3_1_1 with bloodAristotle_cell_3_1_2 2 legsAristotle_cell_3_1_3 R, S, VAristotle_cell_3_1_4 Hot, WetAristotle_cell_3_1_5
Live-bearing tetrapodsAristotle_cell_3_2_0 Cat, hareAristotle_cell_3_2_1 with bloodAristotle_cell_3_2_2 4 legsAristotle_cell_3_2_3 S, VAristotle_cell_3_2_4 Hot, WetAristotle_cell_3_2_5
CetaceansAristotle_cell_3_3_0 Dolphin, whaleAristotle_cell_3_3_1 with bloodAristotle_cell_3_3_2 noneAristotle_cell_3_3_3 S, VAristotle_cell_3_3_4 Hot, WetAristotle_cell_3_3_5
BirdsAristotle_cell_3_4_0 Bee-eater, nightjarAristotle_cell_3_4_1 with bloodAristotle_cell_3_4_2 2 legsAristotle_cell_3_4_3 S, VAristotle_cell_3_4_4 Hot, Wet, except Dry eggsAristotle_cell_3_4_5
Egg-laying tetrapodsAristotle_cell_3_5_0 Chameleon, crocodileAristotle_cell_3_5_1 with bloodAristotle_cell_3_5_2 4 legsAristotle_cell_3_5_3 S, VAristotle_cell_3_5_4 Cold, Wet except scales, eggsAristotle_cell_3_5_5
SnakesAristotle_cell_3_6_0 Water snake, Ottoman viperAristotle_cell_3_6_1 with bloodAristotle_cell_3_6_2 noneAristotle_cell_3_6_3 S, VAristotle_cell_3_6_4 Cold, Wet except scales, eggsAristotle_cell_3_6_5
Egg-laying fishesAristotle_cell_3_7_0 Sea bass, parrotfishAristotle_cell_3_7_1 with bloodAristotle_cell_3_7_2 noneAristotle_cell_3_7_3 S, VAristotle_cell_3_7_4 Cold, Wet, including eggsAristotle_cell_3_7_5
(Among the egg-laying fishes):

placental selachiansAristotle_cell_3_8_0

Shark, skateAristotle_cell_3_8_1 with bloodAristotle_cell_3_8_2 noneAristotle_cell_3_8_3 S, VAristotle_cell_3_8_4 Cold, Wet, but placenta like tetrapodsAristotle_cell_3_8_5
CrustaceansAristotle_cell_3_9_0 Shrimp, crabAristotle_cell_3_9_1 withoutAristotle_cell_3_9_2 many legsAristotle_cell_3_9_3 S, VAristotle_cell_3_9_4 Cold, Wet except shellAristotle_cell_3_9_5
CephalopodsAristotle_cell_3_10_0 Squid, octopusAristotle_cell_3_10_1 withoutAristotle_cell_3_10_2 tentaclesAristotle_cell_3_10_3 S, VAristotle_cell_3_10_4 Cold, WetAristotle_cell_3_10_5
Hard-shelled animalsAristotle_cell_3_11_0 Cockle, trumpet snailAristotle_cell_3_11_1 withoutAristotle_cell_3_11_2 noneAristotle_cell_3_11_3 S, VAristotle_cell_3_11_4 Cold, Dry (mineral shell)Aristotle_cell_3_11_5
Larva-bearing insectsAristotle_cell_3_12_0 Ant, cicadaAristotle_cell_3_12_1 withoutAristotle_cell_3_12_2 6 legsAristotle_cell_3_12_3 S, VAristotle_cell_3_12_4 Cold, DryAristotle_cell_3_12_5
Spontaneously-generatingAristotle_cell_3_13_0 Sponges, wormsAristotle_cell_3_13_1 withoutAristotle_cell_3_13_2 noneAristotle_cell_3_13_3 S, VAristotle_cell_3_13_4 Cold, Wet or Dry, from earthAristotle_cell_3_13_5
PlantsAristotle_cell_3_14_0 FigAristotle_cell_3_14_1 withoutAristotle_cell_3_14_2 noneAristotle_cell_3_14_3 VAristotle_cell_3_14_4 Cold, DryAristotle_cell_3_14_5
MineralsAristotle_cell_3_15_0 IronAristotle_cell_3_15_1 withoutAristotle_cell_3_15_2 noneAristotle_cell_3_15_3 noneAristotle_cell_3_15_4 Cold, DryAristotle_cell_3_15_5

Psychology Aristotle_section_22

Soul Aristotle_section_23

Further information: On the Soul Aristotle_sentence_195

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. Aristotle_sentence_196

Humans have a rational soul. Aristotle_sentence_197

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. Aristotle_sentence_198

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). Aristotle_sentence_199

For Aristotle, the soul is the form of a living being. Aristotle_sentence_200

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). Aristotle_sentence_201

In contrast to earlier philosophers, but in accordance with the Egyptians, he placed the rational soul in the heart, rather than the brain. Aristotle_sentence_202

Notable is Aristotle's division of sensation and thought, which generally differed from the concepts of previous philosophers, with the exception of Alcmaeon. Aristotle_sentence_203

Memory Aristotle_section_24

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. Aristotle_sentence_204

In other words, a memory is a mental picture () that can be recovered. Aristotle_sentence_205

Aristotle believed an impression is left on a semi-fluid bodily organ that undergoes several changes in order to make a memory. Aristotle_sentence_206

A memory occurs when stimuli such as sights or sounds are so complex that the nervous system cannot receive all the impressions at once. Aristotle_sentence_207

These changes are the same as those involved in the operations of sensation, Aristotelian 'common sense', and thinking. Aristotle_sentence_208

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. Aristotle_sentence_209

Memory is of the past, prediction is of the future, and sensation is of the present. Aristotle_sentence_210

Retrieval of impressions cannot be performed suddenly. Aristotle_sentence_211

A transitional channel is needed and located in our past experiences, both for our previous experience and present experience. Aristotle_sentence_212

Because Aristotle believes people receive all kinds of sense perceptions and perceive them as impressions, people are continually weaving together new impressions of experiences. Aristotle_sentence_213

To search for these impressions, people search the memory itself. Aristotle_sentence_214

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. Aristotle_sentence_215

Recollection occurs when one retrieved experience naturally follows another. Aristotle_sentence_216

If the chain of "images" is needed, one memory will stimulate the next. Aristotle_sentence_217

When people recall experiences, they stimulate certain previous experiences until they reach the one that is needed. Aristotle_sentence_218

Recollection is thus the self-directed activity of retrieving the information stored in a memory impression. Aristotle_sentence_219

Only humans can remember impressions of intellectual activity, such as numbers and words. Aristotle_sentence_220

Animals that have perception of time can retrieve memories of their past observations. Aristotle_sentence_221

Remembering involves only perception of the things remembered and of the time passed. Aristotle_sentence_222

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_sentence_223

Aristotle believed that past experiences are hidden within the mind. Aristotle_sentence_224

A force operates to awaken the hidden material to bring up the actual experience. Aristotle_sentence_225

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. Aristotle_sentence_226

Dreams Aristotle_section_25

Further information: Dream § Classical history Aristotle_sentence_227

Aristotle describes sleep in On Sleep and Wakefulness. Aristotle_sentence_228

Sleep takes place as a result of overuse of the senses or of digestion, so it is vital to the body. Aristotle_sentence_229

While a person is asleep, the critical activities, which include thinking, sensing, recalling and remembering, do not function as they do during wakefulness. Aristotle_sentence_230

Since a person cannot sense during sleep they can not have desire, which is the result of sensation. Aristotle_sentence_231

However, the senses are able to work during sleep, albeit differently, unless they are weary. Aristotle_sentence_232

Dreams do not involve actually sensing a stimulus. Aristotle_sentence_233

In dreams, sensation is still involved, but in an altered manner. Aristotle_sentence_234

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. Aristotle_sentence_235

When a person perceives a stimulus and the stimulus is no longer the focus of their attention, it leaves an impression. Aristotle_sentence_236

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. Aristotle_sentence_237

However, during sleep the impressions made throughout the day are noticed as there are no new distracting sensory experiences. Aristotle_sentence_238

So, dreams result from these lasting impressions. Aristotle_sentence_239

Since impressions are all that are left and not the exact stimuli, dreams do not resemble the actual waking experience. Aristotle_sentence_240

During sleep, a person is in an altered state of mind. Aristotle_sentence_241

Aristotle compares a sleeping person to a person who is overtaken by strong feelings toward a stimulus. Aristotle_sentence_242

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. Aristotle_sentence_243

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. Aristotle_sentence_244

This leads the person to believe the dream is real, even when the dreams are absurd in nature. Aristotle_sentence_245

In De Anima iii 3, Aristotle ascribes the ability to create, to store, and to recall images in the absence of perception to the faculty of imagination, phantasia. Aristotle_sentence_246

One component of Aristotle's theory of dreams disagrees with previously held beliefs. Aristotle_sentence_247

He claimed that dreams are not foretelling and not sent by a divine being. Aristotle_sentence_248

Aristotle reasoned naturalistically that instances in which dreams do resemble future events are simply coincidences. Aristotle_sentence_249

Aristotle claimed that a dream is first established by the fact that the person is asleep when they experience it. Aristotle_sentence_250

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. Aristotle_sentence_251

Secondly, any sensory experience that is perceived while a person is asleep does not qualify as part of a dream. Aristotle_sentence_252

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. Aristotle_sentence_253

Lastly, the images of dreams must be a result of lasting impressions of waking sensory experiences. Aristotle_sentence_254

Practical philosophy Aristotle_section_26

Aristotle's practical philosophy covers areas such as ethics, politics, economics, and rhetoric. Aristotle_sentence_255


Virtues and their accompanying vicesAristotle_table_caption_4
Too littleAristotle_header_cell_4_0_0 Virtuous meanAristotle_header_cell_4_0_1 Too muchAristotle_header_cell_4_0_2
HumblenessAristotle_cell_4_1_0 High-mindednessAristotle_cell_4_1_1 VaingloryAristotle_cell_4_1_2
Lack of purposeAristotle_cell_4_2_0 Right ambitionAristotle_cell_4_2_1 Over-ambitionAristotle_cell_4_2_2
SpiritlessnessAristotle_cell_4_3_0 Good temperAristotle_cell_4_3_1 IrascibilityAristotle_cell_4_3_2
RudenessAristotle_cell_4_4_0 CivilityAristotle_cell_4_4_1 ObsequiousnessAristotle_cell_4_4_2
CowardiceAristotle_cell_4_5_0 CourageAristotle_cell_4_5_1 RashnessAristotle_cell_4_5_2
InsensibilityAristotle_cell_4_6_0 Self-controlAristotle_cell_4_6_1 IntemperanceAristotle_cell_4_6_2
SarcasmAristotle_cell_4_7_0 SincerityAristotle_cell_4_7_1 BoastfulnessAristotle_cell_4_7_2
BoorishnessAristotle_cell_4_8_0 WitAristotle_cell_4_8_1 BuffooneryAristotle_cell_4_8_2
ShamelessnessAristotle_cell_4_9_0 ModestyAristotle_cell_4_9_1 ShynessAristotle_cell_4_9_2
CallousnessAristotle_cell_4_10_0 Just resentmentAristotle_cell_4_10_1 SpitefulnessAristotle_cell_4_10_2
PettinessAristotle_cell_4_11_0 GenerosityAristotle_cell_4_11_1 VulgarityAristotle_cell_4_11_2
MeannessAristotle_cell_4_12_0 LiberalityAristotle_cell_4_12_1 WastefulnessAristotle_cell_4_12_2

Just war theory Aristotle_section_27

Aristotelian just war theory is not well regarded in the present day, especially his view that warfare was justified to enslave "natural slaves". Aristotle_sentence_256

In Aristotelian philosophy, the abolition of what he considers "natural slavery" would undermine civic freedom. Aristotle_sentence_257

The pursuit of freedom is inseparable from pursuing mastery over "those who deserve to be slaves". Aristotle_sentence_258

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'". Aristotle_sentence_259

Aristotle generally has a favourable opinion of war, extolling it as a chance for virtue and writing that "the leisure that accompanies peace" tends to make people "arrogant". Aristotle_sentence_260

War to "avoid becoming enslaved to others" is justified as self-defense. Aristotle_sentence_261

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). Aristotle_sentence_262

Ethics Aristotle_section_28

Main article: Aristotelian ethics Aristotle_sentence_263

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. Aristotle_sentence_264

He wrote several treatises on ethics, including most notably, the Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle_sentence_265

Aristotle taught that virtue has to do with the proper function (ergon) of a thing. Aristotle_sentence_266

An eye is only a good eye in so much as it can see, because the proper function of an eye is sight. Aristotle_sentence_267

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_sentence_268

Aristotle identified such an optimum activity (the virtuous mean, between the accompanying vices of excess or deficiency) of the soul as the aim of all human deliberate action, eudaimonia, generally translated as "happiness" or sometimes "well being". Aristotle_sentence_269

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. Aristotle_sentence_270

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. Aristotle_sentence_271

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. Aristotle_sentence_272

Politics Aristotle_section_29

Main article: Politics (Aristotle) Aristotle_sentence_273

In addition to his works on ethics, which address the individual, Aristotle addressed the city in his work titled Politics. Aristotle_sentence_274

Aristotle considered the city to be a natural community. Aristotle_sentence_275

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". Aristotle_sentence_276

He famously stated that "man is by nature a political animal" and argued that humanity's defining factor among others in the animal kingdom is its rationality. Aristotle_sentence_277

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_sentence_278

Aristotle's conception of the city is organic, and he is considered one of the first to conceive of the city in this manner. Aristotle_sentence_279

The common modern understanding of a political community as a modern state is quite different from Aristotle's understanding. Aristotle_sentence_280

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). Aristotle_sentence_281

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." Aristotle_sentence_282

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." Aristotle_sentence_283

In Protrepticus, the character 'Aristotle' states: Aristotle_sentence_284

Economics Aristotle_section_30

Main article: Politics (Aristotle) Aristotle_sentence_285

Aristotle made substantial contributions to economic thought, especially to thought in the Middle Ages. Aristotle_sentence_286

In Politics, Aristotle addresses the city, property, and trade. Aristotle_sentence_287

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. Aristotle_sentence_288

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. Aristotle_sentence_289

In Politics, Aristotle offers one of the earliest accounts of the origin of money. Aristotle_sentence_290

Money came into use because people became dependent on one another, importing what they needed and exporting the surplus. Aristotle_sentence_291

For the sake of convenience, people then agreed to deal in something that is intrinsically useful and easily applicable, such as iron or silver. Aristotle_sentence_292

Aristotle's discussions on retail and interest was a major influence on economic thought in the Middle Ages. Aristotle_sentence_293

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. Aristotle_sentence_294

It thus uses goods as a means to an end, rather than as an end unto itself. Aristotle_sentence_295

He believed that retail trade was in this way unnatural. Aristotle_sentence_296

Similarly, Aristotle considered making a profit through interest unnatural, as it makes a gain out of the money itself, and not from its use. Aristotle_sentence_297

Aristotle gave a summary of the function of money that was perhaps remarkably precocious for his time. Aristotle_sentence_298

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. Aristotle_sentence_299

Money thus allows for the association of different goods and makes them "commensurable". Aristotle_sentence_300

He goes on to state that money is also useful for future exchange, making it a sort of security. Aristotle_sentence_301

That is, "if we do not want a thing now, we shall be able to get it when we do want it". Aristotle_sentence_302

Rhetoric and poetics Aristotle_section_31

Main articles: Rhetoric (Aristotle) and Poetics (Aristotle) Aristotle_sentence_303

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). Aristotle_sentence_304

He also categorizes 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). Aristotle_sentence_305

Aristotle also outlines two kinds of rhetorical proofs: enthymeme (proof by syllogism) and paradeigma (proof by example). Aristotle_sentence_306

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. Aristotle_sentence_307

He applies the term mimesis both as a property of a work of art and also as the product of the artist's intention and contends that the audience's realisation of the mimesis is vital to understanding the work itself. Aristotle_sentence_308

Aristotle states that mimesis is a natural instinct of humanity that separates humans from animals and that all human artistry "follows the pattern of nature". Aristotle_sentence_309

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." Aristotle_sentence_310

For example, music imitates with the media of rhythm and harmony, whereas dance imitates with rhythm alone, and poetry with language. Aristotle_sentence_311

The forms also differ in their object of imitation. Aristotle_sentence_312

Comedy, for instance, is a dramatic imitation of men worse than average; whereas tragedy imitates men slightly better than average. Aristotle_sentence_313

Lastly, the forms differ in their manner of imitation – through narrative or character, through change or no change, and through drama or no drama. Aristotle_sentence_314

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_sentence_315

Aristotle taught that tragedy is composed of six elements: plot-structure, character, style, thought, spectacle, and lyric poetry. Aristotle_sentence_316

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. Aristotle_sentence_317

Tragedy is the imitation of action arousing pity and fear, and is meant to effect the catharsis of those same emotions. Aristotle_sentence_318

Aristotle concludes Poetics with a discussion on which, if either, is superior: epic or tragic mimesis. Aristotle_sentence_319

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. Aristotle_sentence_320

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. Aristotle_sentence_321

Views on women Aristotle_section_32

Main article: Aristotle's views on women Aristotle_sentence_322

Further information: Aristotle's biology § Inheritance Aristotle_sentence_323

Aristotle's analysis of procreation describes an active, ensouling masculine element bringing life to an inert, passive female element. Aristotle_sentence_324

On this ground, proponents of feminist metaphysics have accused Aristotle of misogyny and sexism. Aristotle_sentence_325

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. Aristotle_sentence_326

Influence Aristotle_section_33

Further information: List of writers influenced by Aristotle Aristotle_sentence_327

More than 2300 years after his death, Aristotle remains one of the most influential people who ever lived. Aristotle_sentence_328

He contributed to almost every field of human knowledge then in existence, and he was the founder of many new fields. Aristotle_sentence_329

According to the philosopher Bryan Magee, "it is doubtful whether any human being has ever known as much as he did". Aristotle_sentence_330

Among countless other achievements, Aristotle was the founder of formal logic, pioneered the study of zoology, and left every future scientist and philosopher in his debt through his contributions to the scientific method. Aristotle_sentence_331

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. Aristotle_sentence_332

As a result, Kukkonen argues, any analysis of reality today "will almost certainly carry Aristotelian overtones ... evidence of an exceptionally forceful mind." Aristotle_sentence_333

Jonathan Barnes wrote that "an account of Aristotle's intellectual afterlife would be little less than a history of European thought". Aristotle_sentence_334

On his successor, Theophrastus Aristotle_section_34

Main articles: Theophrastus and Historia Plantarum (Theophrastus) Aristotle_sentence_335

Aristotle's pupil and successor, Theophrastus, wrote the History of Plants, a pioneering work in botany. Aristotle_sentence_336

Some of his technical terms remain in use, such as carpel from carpos, fruit, and pericarp, from pericarpion, seed chamber. Aristotle_sentence_337

Theophrastus was much less concerned with formal causes than Aristotle was, instead pragmatically describing how plants functioned. Aristotle_sentence_338

On later Greek philosophers Aristotle_section_35

Further information: Peripatetic school Aristotle_sentence_339

The immediate influence of Aristotle's work was felt as the Lyceum grew into the Peripatetic school. Aristotle_sentence_340

Aristotle's notable students included Aristoxenus, Dicaearchus, Demetrius of Phalerum, Eudemos of Rhodes, Harpalus, Hephaestion, Mnason of Phocis, Nicomachus, and Theophrastus. Aristotle_sentence_341

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. Aristotle_sentence_342

He had also learned a great deal about Persian customs and traditions from his teacher. Aristotle_sentence_343

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?" Aristotle_sentence_344

On Hellenistic science Aristotle_section_36

Further information: Ancient Greek medicine Aristotle_sentence_345

After Theophrastus, the Lyceum failed to produce any original work. Aristotle_sentence_346

Though interest in Aristotle's ideas survived, they were generally taken unquestioningly. Aristotle_sentence_347

It is not until the age of Alexandria under the Ptolemies that advances in biology can be again found. Aristotle_sentence_348

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. Aristotle_sentence_349

Herophilus also distinguished between veins and arteries, noting that the latter pulse while the former do not. Aristotle_sentence_350

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. Aristotle_sentence_351

Ernst Mayr states that there was "nothing of any real consequence in biology after Lucretius and Galen until the Renaissance." Aristotle_sentence_352

On Byzantine scholars Aristotle_section_37

See also: Commentaries on Aristotle and Byzantine Aristotelianism Aristotle_sentence_353

Greek Christian scribes played a crucial role in the preservation of Aristotle by copying all the extant Greek language manuscripts of the corpus. Aristotle_sentence_354

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. Aristotle_sentence_355

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. Aristotle_sentence_356

Philoponus questioned Aristotle's teaching of physics, noting its flaws and introducing the theory of impetus to explain his observations. Aristotle_sentence_357

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. Aristotle_sentence_358

On the medieval Islamic world Aristotle_section_38

Further information: Logic in Islamic philosophy and Transmission of the Greek Classics Aristotle_sentence_359

Aristotle was one of the most revered Western thinkers in early Islamic theology. Aristotle_sentence_360

Most of the still extant works of Aristotle, as well as a number of the original Greek commentaries, were translated into Arabic and studied by Muslim philosophers, scientists and scholars. Aristotle_sentence_361

Averroes, Avicenna and Alpharabius, who wrote on Aristotle in great depth, also influenced Thomas Aquinas and other Western Christian scholastic philosophers. Aristotle_sentence_362

Alkindus greatly admired Aristotle's philosophy, and Averroes spoke of Aristotle as the "exemplar" for all future philosophers. Aristotle_sentence_363

Medieval Muslim scholars regularly described Aristotle as the "First Teacher". Aristotle_sentence_364

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. Aristotle_sentence_365

On medieval Europe Aristotle_section_39

Further information: Aristotelianism and Syllogism § Medieval Aristotle_sentence_366

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. Aristotle_sentence_367

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, and from the original Greek, such as those by James of Venice and William of Moerbeke. Aristotle_sentence_368

After the Scholastic Thomas Aquinas wrote his Summa Theologica, working from Moerbeke's translations and calling Aristotle "The Philosopher", 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. Aristotle_sentence_369

These thinkers blended Aristotelian philosophy with Christianity, bringing the thought of Ancient Greece into the Middle Ages. Aristotle_sentence_370

Scholars such as Boethius, Peter Abelard, and John Buridan worked on Aristotelian logic. Aristotle_sentence_371

The medieval English poet Chaucer describes his student as being happy by having Aristotle_sentence_372

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. Aristotle_sentence_373

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. Aristotle_sentence_374

Artists such as Hans Baldung produced a series of illustrations of the popular theme. Aristotle_sentence_375

The Italian poet Dante says of Aristotle in The Divine Comedy: Aristotle_sentence_376



L'Inferno, Canto IV. 131–135Aristotle_header_cell_5_0_0



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;Aristotle_cell_5_1_0

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.Aristotle_cell_5_1_1

On Early Modern scientists Aristotle_section_40

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. Aristotle_sentence_377

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. Aristotle_sentence_378

Galileo used more doubtful arguments to displace Aristotle's physics, proposing that bodies all fall at the same speed whatever their weight. Aristotle_sentence_379

On 19th-century thinkers Aristotle_section_41

The 19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche has been said to have taken nearly all of his political philosophy from Aristotle. Aristotle_sentence_380

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. Aristotle_sentence_381

It was Martin Heidegger, not Nietzsche, who elaborated a new interpretation of Aristotle, intended to warrant his deconstruction of scholastic and philosophical tradition. Aristotle_sentence_382

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. Aristotle_sentence_383

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. Aristotle_sentence_384

Modern rejection and rehabilitation Aristotle_section_42

During the 20th century, Aristotle's work was widely criticized. Aristotle_sentence_385

The philosopher Bertrand Russell argued that "almost every serious intellectual advance has had to begin with an attack on some Aristotelian doctrine". Aristotle_sentence_386

Russell called Aristotle's ethics "repulsive", and labelled his logic "as definitely antiquated as Ptolemaic astronomy". Aristotle_sentence_387

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. Aristotle_sentence_388

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. Aristotle_sentence_389

In 1985, the biologist Peter Medawar could still state in "pure seventeenth century" 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". Aristotle_sentence_390

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." Aristotle_sentence_391

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. Aristotle_sentence_392

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. Aristotle_sentence_393

Biologists continue to be interested in Aristotle's thinking. Aristotle_sentence_394

Armand Marie Leroi has reconstructed Aristotle's biology, 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. Aristotle_sentence_395

Surviving works Aristotle_section_43

Corpus Aristotelicum Aristotle_section_44

Main article: Corpus Aristotelicum Aristotle_sentence_396

The works of Aristotle that have survived from antiquity through medieval manuscript transmission are collected in the Corpus Aristotelicum. Aristotle_sentence_397

These texts, as opposed to Aristotle's lost works, are technical philosophical treatises from within Aristotle's school. Aristotle_sentence_398

Reference to them is made according to the organization 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. Aristotle_sentence_399

Loss and preservation Aristotle_section_45

Further information: Recovery of Aristotle Aristotle_sentence_400

Aristotle wrote his works on papyrus scrolls, the common writing medium of that era. Aristotle_sentence_401

His writings are divisible into two groups: the "exoteric", intended for the public, and the "esoteric", for use within the Lyceum school. Aristotle_sentence_402

Aristotle's "lost" works stray considerably in characterization from the surviving Aristotelian corpus. Aristotle_sentence_403

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. Aristotle_sentence_404

Cicero's description of Aristotle's literary style as "a river of gold" must have applied to the published works, not the surviving notes. Aristotle_sentence_405

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. Aristotle_sentence_406

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. Aristotle_sentence_407

Legacy Aristotle_section_46

Depictions Aristotle_section_47


Aristotle has been depicted by major artists including Lucas Cranach the Elder, Justus van Gent, Raphael, Paolo Veronese, Jusepe de Ribera, Rembrandt, and Francesco Hayez over the centuries. Aristotle_sentence_408

Among the best-known depictions 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. Aristotle_sentence_409

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." Aristotle_sentence_410


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Eponyms Aristotle_section_48

The Aristotle Mountains in Antarctica are named after Aristotle. Aristotle_sentence_411

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. Aristotle_sentence_412

Aristoteles is a crater on the Moon bearing the classical form of Aristotle's name. Aristotle_sentence_413

See also Aristotle_section_49


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: