Aristotle is one of the most infamous people in history, who lived from 384 BC to 322 BC. He is best known as a Greek philosopher, but he had his hands in many different fields. As a student of Plato and the teacher of Alexander the Great, he came in contact with many different influential characters in history. In this article, you will learn more about the man, who was much more than just a philosopher , he became a legend.
A Man of Many Subjects
Aristotle wrote about many different topics that covered information and theories concerning metaphysics, physics, politics, government, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, ethics, biology, and zoology. He is often called the founder of formal logic, seen as leading the way towards the study of zoology, and greatly contributed to the scientific method that to this day, still affects every scientist and philosopher.
Views on Physical Sciences
Early thoughts regarding the physical sciences were influenced by Aristotle’s views and continued to serve as a foundation that lasted until the Renaissance. After that, Newtonian physics began to take center stage.
Background on Early Life
Born in Stageira, Chalcidice, Aristotle lived east of what is now known as Thessaloniki. His father was in the field of medicine, serving as the personal physician to King Amyntas of Macedon. Aristotle received his education and training as a member of the aristocracy. When he turned 18 years old, he relocated to Athens, where he would study at Plato’s Academy.
Leaving the Academy Behind
Plato’s Academy had a profound effect in Aristotle’s life and he stayed there for almost 20 years. It was only until Plato had died that the philosopher left in 347 BC.
The Five Elements
Aristotle listed the Five Elements as fire, earth, air, water, and aether, which was seen as the ‘divine substance’ that all of the heavenly component and bodies (like planets and stars) are made up of. He referred to fire as being hot and dry, earth as being cold and dry, air as being hot and wet, and water as being cold and wet. Each of the four elements found on Earth had its own place in the natural world. At the center of the universe, there was earth, followed by water, then air, and lastly , fire.
Views on Women
Since Aristotle believed that women were colder than man, he actually considered them a lower form of life. He also asserted that females could not be fully human and would go on to make controversial theories regarding procreation. On the other hand, Aristotle believed that a society could not be happy unless women were happy as well. He stated that in “places like Sparta where the lot of women is bad, there can only be half-happiness in society”(Rhetoric 1.5.6).