Aristotle


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Aristotle (384-322 BC), author of philosophical works including The Categories, which is his examination of the definition of the terms used in the process of logic and reasoning;

"Things are said to be named 'equivocally' when, though they have a common name, the definition corresponding with the name differs for each. Thus, a real man and a figure in a picture can both lay claim to the name 'animal'; yet these are equivocally so named, for, though they have a common name, the definition corresponding with the name differs for each. For should any one define in what sense each is an animal, his definition in the one case will be appropriate to that case only."

Whereas Plato said that the universal is found separately from things, the third of the three main Greek philosophers, Artistotle developed his own philosophy in deductive logic, trying to bring order to chaos; "the science of the universal essence of that which is actual". That being, reality, in the realm of the physical, is acquired through experience, that the universal is found within things. Though only a small percentage of the Aristotelian writings survive, and many appear as works in progress and acroatic papers, his meticulous studies and teachings in such topics as aesthetics, biology, ethics, government, logic, morality, physics, and poetry greatly influenced Western philosophical and scientific thought.

Born in the town of Stagirus on the Thracian peninsula in 384 BC, Aristotle was the son of Nichomachus, a court physician to King Amyntas of Macedonia. After his father's death his uncle Proxenus became his guardian, who sent him to study in Athens. For almost twenty years Aristotle studied (then taught) Philosophy at the Academy under Plato (who in turn had been taught by Socrates).

An accomplished student, Aristotle often disagreed with his teacher and after Plato's death in 347, Aristotle parted ways with the Platonic teachings. Although some of his studies are now disproven or antiquated, his extensive study and classification of animals into genera and species for example, expressed in such works as On the Parts of Animals and The History of Animals (350 BC) have contributed greatly to the modern study of biology.

With growing anti Macedonian sentiments, Aristotle left Athens for Assos, where he also met and married Pythias, daughter of King Hermeas, ruler of Atarneus and Assos in Mysia. They would have a daughter, also named Pythias. Around 345 he settled in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos and focused on his biological and zoological research. He also began tutoring the young Alexander the Great, son of Philip of Macedonia. When Alexander became King, Aristotle went back to Athens and founded the Lyceum. In his Poetics (c.330 BC) he states that poetry is "more philosophical and elevated than history". In the twenty-six sections of Poetics, most likely lecture notes written for his students, Aristotle discusses such issues as the aesthetic and ethical expression of various forms of poetry and drama. His studies and writings during the next dozen or so years were his most prodigious.

As Athens was rebelling against Macedonian rule imposed after the death of Alexander the Great, Aristotle's life was in peril because of his political ties so he fled to the island of Euboea. He died soon after at his home in Chalcis, Euboea, 322 BC at the age of sixty-two years. Aristotle believed in the eternal nature of the universe with no beginning and no end; "It is not once nor twice but times without number that the same ideas make their appearance in the world."--On the Heavens. In his research of the earth sciences such as Meteorology (350 BC), Aristotle discusses his findings in climactic activity such as thunderstorms, rainbows, and beyond to meteors and the Milky Way. In honour of his contribution to the studies of the heavens, a Lunar crater is now named after him.

"The whole is more than the sum of its parts".--Metaphysica

Biography written by C.D. Merriman for Jalic Inc. Copyright Jalic Inc. 2006. All Rights Reserved.

The above biography is copyrighted. Do not republish it without permission.

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