Term papers writing service


An introduction to the history of aristotle

Henri Carteron held the "extreme view" [45] that Aristotle's concept of force was basically qualitative, [48] but other authors reject this. 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.

In this system, heavy bodies in steady fall indeed travel faster than light ones whether friction is ignored, or not [47]and they do fall more slowly in a denser medium.

Aristotle (384—322 B.C.E.)

Four causes Aristotle argued by analogy with woodwork that a thing takes its form from four causes: 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. 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. 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. 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.

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 an introduction to the history of aristotle 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.

The final cause is the purpose or function that something is supposed to serve. This covers modern ideas of motivating causes, such as volition.

  • Metaphysics substance, cause, form, potentiality Nicomachean Ethics soul, happiness, virtue, friendship Eudemain Ethics Politics best states, utopias, constitutions, revolutions Rhetoric elements of forensic and political debate Poetics tragedy, epic poetry 3;
  • Hence, too, he disagrees with the view of Plato and the Pythagoreans that the elements are composed of geometrical figures;
  • Everything in nature has its end and function, and nothing is without its purpose;
  • Even touch, which seems to act by actual contact, probably involves some vehicle of communication;
  • The genus definition must be formed so that no species is left out;
  • His system had eleven grades of animal, from highest potential to lowest, expressed in their form at birth:

History of optics Aristotle describes experiments in optics using a camera obscura in Problemsbook 15. The apparatus consisted of a dark chamber with a small aperture that let light in. With it, he saw that whatever shape he made the hole, the sun's image always remained circular. He also noted that increasing the distance between the aperture and the image surface magnified the image.

Jonathan Barnes

Accident philosophy According to Aristotle, spontaneity and chance are causes of some things, distinguishable from other types of cause such as simple necessity. Chance as an incidental cause lies in the realm of accidental things"from what is spontaneous".

  • 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;
  • Metaphysics substance, cause, form, potentiality Nicomachean Ethics soul, happiness, virtue, friendship Eudemain Ethics Politics best states, utopias, constitutions, revolutions Rhetoric elements of forensic and political debate Poetics tragedy, epic poetry 3;
  • Its efficient cause is the sculptor, insofar has he forces the bronze into shape.

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

History of geology Aristotle was one of the first people to record any geological observations. He stated that geological change was too slow to be observed in one person's lifetime. Empirical research Aristotle was the first person to study biology systematically, [60] and biology forms a large part of his writings. 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.

He describes the catfishelectric rayand frogfish in detail, as well as cephalopods such as the octopus and paper nautilus.

An Introduction to Aristotle Life

His description of the hectocotyl arm of cephalopods, used in sexual reproduction, was widely disbelieved until the 19th century. For Aristotle, accidents, like heat waves in winter, must be considered distinct from natural causes. 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.

He was correct in these predictions, at least for mammals: Aristotle did not do experiments in the modern sense.

  • To get at a true definition we must find out those qualities within the genus which taken separately are wider than the subject to be defined, but taken together are precisely equal to it;
  • It does not mean that one domino knocks over another domino;
  • For Aristotle, accidents, like heat waves in winter, must be considered distinct from natural causes.

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

Among these correct predictions are the following. Brood size decreases with adult body mass, so that an elephant has fewer young usually just one per brood than a mouse.

Navigation menu

Lifespan increases with gestation periodand also with body mass, so that elephants live longer than mice, have a longer period of gestation, and are heavier. 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.

Scala naturae Aristotle recorded that the embryo of a dogfish was attached by a cord to a kind of placenta the yolk saclike a higher animal; this formed an exception to the linear scale from highest to lowest.

His system had eleven grades of animal, from highest potential to lowest, expressed in their form at birth: Animals came above plantsand these in turn were above minerals. Those with blood were divided into the live-bearing mammalsand the egg-laying birdsreptilesfish.

Those without blood were insects, crustacea non-shelled — cephalopods, and shelled and the hard-shelled molluscs bivalves and gastropods.

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.

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