(384 b.C – 322 b.C) Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and scientist born in the colony of Estagira (now Stavros), Macedonia 384 b.C. He was a polymath: philosopher, logician, biologist, and scientist of Ancient Greece. One of the most brilliant disciples of Plato. His ideas exerted much influence on the intellectual history of the West for more than two millennia, during which time he had been considered the most decisive thinker in history. An example of the wise man, founder of logic and who laid the foundations of the scientific method.
Son of Nicomachus, doctor of King Amyntas III of Macedonia. In the year 375 b.C. his father died and his tutor Proxenos of Atarneus sent him to the city of Athens to study at Plato’s Academy, where he remained for almost 20 years. When Plato died in 347 b.C. Aristotle traveled to Atarneus, invited by his friend and protector Hermidas who was governor of that city, he stayed there for almost three years, and he married Pythias. After illegally joined with Hepylis of this union was born Nicomachus, but always in him remained the memory of his first wife.
“Until now I had considered Linnaeus and Cuvier as gods, but they are only children compared to Aristotle” Charles Darwin.
After his friend was murdered, he traveled to the city of Mytilene (Greece) on the island of Lesbos and continued his research along with Theophrastus native of Lesbos, focusing on marine biology and zoology.
In the year 343 b.C. King Philip II of Macedonia called Aristotle to tutor his son Alexander the Great. He then traveled to the Macedonian Empire and remained there for two years, exercising as Alexander the Great’s teacher.
In the year 335 b.C. He traveled to Athens where he founded his own school called “The Liseum” where many of the classes were public and free. Throughout his life he gathered a great library as well as known followers and researchers, most of the works that are preserved from him are from this era. His life developed in many fields of philosophy among others and was considered one of the brightest minds in the history of the classical age.
Aristotle, the disciple of Plato in the Academy of Athens, built his own philosophical system to criticise the theory of ideas of his teacher. Which is why he made four fundamental criticisms of Plato’s theory of forms:
- Criticize the two worlds: For Aristotle, it is only one; admitting two worlds complicates the explanation unnecessarily, reduplicating the realities.
- Plato does not give a rational explanation when talking about two worlds, he limits himself to myths and metaphors when he should clarify his proposals conceptually.
- There is no clear relation of causality between the ideal world and the sensible world. It does not explain the cause of sensible and mutable things with the passes. It does not argue that an object derives from an idea.
- The third man argument: According to Plato, the similarity between two things is explained because both participate in the same idea. According to Aristotle, a third is required to explain the similarity between two things, a fourth to explain the three, and so on. It is a regression to infinity, therefore, nothing is explained.
Aristotle was a thinker with spirit, he sought to ground human knowledge in experience. One of his first concerns was finding the rational explanation for the world around him.
Aristotle understands change and movement as: He went from what is in power to be in action, through the action of causes.
He wrote about 200 treatises on an enormous variety of topics, of which only 31 have been found, among them: ethics, political philosophy, physics, rhetoric, astronomy, metaphysics, biology, and logic. He is recognized as the Father of Logic and Biology. Aristotle transformed many areas of knowledge that he encompassed.
In the year 323 b.C. After the death of Alexander, Aristotle traveled to Chalcis (capital of the island of Euboea in Greece) where he died the following year (322 b.C.), at the age of 62 years of natural death, caused by a stomach ulcer.
Among the main works are:
- Logic: Organon, Of the Categories, Of the Interpretation, First Analytical (two books), Second Analytical (two books), Topical (eight books), Refutation of the Sophisms.
- Rhetoric: Poetics (three books), Metaphysics (fourteen books).
- Physics and Biology: Physics (eight books), On the Heaven (four books), Generation and Corruption (two books), History of Animals (ten books) and Animal Parts (four books).
- Ethics: Ethics to Eudemon (four books) and Ethics to Nicomachus (two books).
- Politics: Politics (eight books) and Constitution of Athens.
- One of the most important aspects related to Aristotle has been related to the authenticity and chronology of his works.
TWO KEY QUESTIONS: Why? And what for?
Aristotle claimed that in order to explain any natural phenomenon he had to answer four questions that affected both their causes and their conclusions. He was in charge of explaining his theory when compared to a process of sculpture. According to this example, the first of these causes (why) would be the material cause (a), that is, the material from which the sculpture was made, in his example: marble.
The second of the causes correspond to the formal cause (b), that is, the model of the statue, in his example: the female figure.
The third reason was the so-called efficient cause (c), that is, which provides the means for the necessary changes to occur so that the matter becomes the model; in his example: the sculptor.
Finally, the final cause (d), that is, the purpose for which it was created.
ARISTOTLE AND HIS LOVE FOR THE ANIMALS
Aristotle drew and classified more than 400 animal species, he owes the term “animals” and laid the foundations of zoogeography and ecology with his works: From the parts of the animals and From the generation of animals. He received with great sympathy the species of flora and fauna that his student Alexander the Great sent him.
“Man is always ready to deny everything he does not understand” Aristotle.