Aristotle and Alexander
Aristotle and Alexander (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Aristotle (384-322 BCE) was a Greek philosopher, scientist and physician from Stagira, Macedonia. His collected works ambitiously attempt to analyze just about everything under (and above) the sun.

He taught for 20 years at Plato‘s Academy in Athens, leaving after Plato died in 347 BCE. In 342 BCE he became tutor for Philip of Macedon’s son Alexander, who later became ‘Alexander the Great.’

At Athens he founded the Lyceum in 335 BCE, a school whose members came to be called peripatetics. After the death of Alexander, hostilities towards Macedonians in Athens compelled Aristotle to retreat to Calchis in 322 BCE. He remained there until his death.

His views on natural science, although often flawed, make for interesting reading by showing how logic can go astray when based on false premises. Aristotle did know that the earth was round by noting how the position of the stars changed according to one’s location on the globe. But he also advanced some epic fails. One being his elaborate geocentric model of the universe.

Aristotle … proposed that the heavens were literally composed of 55 concentric, crystalline spheres to which the celestial objects were attached and which rotated at different velocities (but the angular velocity was constant for a given sphere), with the Earth at the center. [This] … figure illustrates the ordering of the spheres to which the Sun, Moon, and visible planets were attached.¹

St. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274), the eponym ...
St. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274), the eponym of Thomism. Picture by Fra Angelico (c. 1395-1455). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, his work relating to politics, poetics, rhetoric, ethics, causality, power and God (metaphysics) are still taken seriously today.

The medieval Catholic theologian St. Thomas Aquinas respectfully called Aristotle “The Philosopher” and adapted many of his pre-Christian era arguments to support Christian theological belief.

As for St. Thomas, he too was a huge intellect in his own right. So much so that the contemporary Italian writer Umberto Eco likened him to a “medieval computer.” Perhaps, then, we could say that Aristotle’s intricate and far-reaching thoughts resemble those of an ancient computer.

Related Posts » Causality, Scholastics

¹ Quotation from “The Universe of
Aristotle and Ptolemy” »


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