Facts About Ancient Philosopher: Aristotle II

From influencing writers and great thinkers that came after him to his views on the souls of living things, Aristotle was a pretty intriguing man. In this article, you will learn what he had to do with photography and what the great philosopher liked to collect as a hobby.

Great Influence on Writers

Many writers from many different cultures cite Aristotle as an influence in their works. A few to mention include Adrastus of Aphrodisias, Damascius, and Olympiodorus the Younger (Greeks); Thomas Aquinas and Domingo de Soto (writers of Latin); Francis Bacon, Copernicus, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (from modern times); and Ayn Rand from the 20th century.

An Optical Wizard

During his time, Aristotle was ahead of day in regarded to some of the theories he held concerning optics. When compared to other philosophers of the same time period, he constructed more accurate theories. In 350 BC, Aristotle wrote what it known as the earliest known written evidence of a camera obscura, which is an optical device that projects an image of its surroundings onto a screen. Used for entertainment purposes, it was this item that would pave the way for photography. Aristotle makes mention of such a device in ‘Problemata.’

The device in question was used to make observations of the sun and contained a dark chamber with a single small hole (or aperture) that permitted sunlight to enter. He noted that no matter what shape the hole was, the sun would still appear as a round object. Aristotle also made observations regarding the distance between the tiny hole and the surface when images were enlarged. The end result was an amplified image.

Ideas Regarding the Souls

Aristotle liked to study the concept of souls and also applied it to all kinds of organisms. He stated that plants had a vegetative soul, which was linked to reproduction and growth. Animals possessed both a vegetative and sensitive soul , responsible for mobility and sensation.

As for humans, they had a vegetative, sensitive, and rational soul, which allowed them to think and reflect. This made Aristotle’s way of thinking differ from earlier philosophers, as he adapted more of a belief that coincided with the beliefs of ancient Egyptians, who saw the rational soul as being in the heart rather than in the brain.

A Collector

Aristotle was known as an avid collector of riddles, folklore, and proverbs. He particularly centered his attention on the riddles of the Delphic Oracle and had a great interest in the fables of Aesop.

The Golden Mean

One of Aristotle’s philosophical thoughts includes the Golden Mean, which refers to the desirable middle between two extremes , one thought represents excess and the other symbolizes a deficiency. For instance, bravery is a good quality, but when taken in excess, could create reckless decisions, but when deficient, shows a sign of a coward.

Place of Death

Aristotle was either 61 or 62 years old when he died in 322 BC in the city of Euboea, which is now known as the second largest Greek island in both area and population , right after Crete.