Aristotle

Aristotle was born in 384 BC and lived until 322 BC. He was a Greek philosopher
and scientist, who shares with Plato being considered the most famous of ancient
philosophers. He was born at Stagira, in Macedonia, the son of a physician to
the royal court. When he was 17, he went to Athens to study at Plato's Academy.

He stayed for about 20 years, as a student and then as a teacher. When Plato
died in 347 BC, Aristotle moved to Assos, a city in Asia Minor, where a friend
of his named Hermias was the ruler. He counseled Hermias and married his niece
and adopted daughter, Pythias (wierd names, huh). After Hermias was captured and
executed by the Persians, Aristotle went to Pella, Macedonia's capital, and
became the tutor of the king's young son Alexander, later known as Alexander the

Great. In 335, when Alexander became king, Aristotle went back to Athens and
established his own school, the Lyceum.Since a lot of the lessons happenned when
teachers and students were walking, it was nicknamed the Peripatetic school
(Peripatetic means walking). When Alexander died in 323 BC, strong
anti-Macedonian feeling was felt in Athens, and Aristotle went to a family
estate in Euboea. He died there the following year. Aristotle, like Plato, used
his dialogue in his beginning years at the Academy. Apart from a few fragments
in the works of later writers, his dialogues have been wholly lost. Aristotle
also wrote some short technical writings, including a dictionary of philosophic
terms and a summary of the "doctrines of Pythagoras" (the guy from the

Pythagorean Theorem). Of these, only a few short pieces have survived. Still in
good shape, though, are Aristotle's lecture notes for carefully outlined courses
treating almost every type of knowledge and art. The writings that made him
famous are mostly these, which were collected by other editors. . Among the
writings are short informative lectures on logic, called Organon (which means
"instrument"), because "they provide the means by which positive
knowledge is to be attained"(They're not my words, I'm quoting him). His
writing on natural science include Physics, which gives a huge amount of
information on astronomy, meteorology, plants, and animals. His writings on the
nature, scope, and properties of being, (I know what one of them means!) which

Aristotle called First Philosophy (to him it was "Prote philosophia"),
were given the title Metaphysics in the first published version of his works
(around 60 BC), because in that edition they followed Physics. His belief of the
"Prime Mover", or first cause, was pure intellect, perfect in unity,
immutable, and, as he said, "the thought of thought," is given in the

Metaphysics. Other famous works include his Rhetoric, his Poetics (which we only
have incomplete pieces of), and his Politics (also incomplete). Because of the
influence of his father's medical profession, Aristotle's philosophy was mainly
stressed on biology, the opposite of Plato's emphasis on mathematics. Aristotle
regarded the world as "made up of individuals (substances) occurring in
fixed natural kinds (species)" (more confusing quotes, yippey!). He said
"each individual has its built-in specific pattern of development and grows
toward proper self-realization as a specimen of its type. Growth, purpose, and
direction are thus built into nature." Although science studies many
things, according to Aristotle, "these things find their existence in
particular individuals. Science and philosophy must therefore balance, not
simply choose between, the claims of empiricism (observation and sense
experience) and formalism (rational deduction)." One of the most famous of

Aristotle's contributions was a new notion of causality. "Each thing or
event," he thought, "has more than one 'reason' that helps to explain
what, why, and where it is." Earlier Greek thinkers thought that only one
sort of cause can explain itself; Aristotle said four. (The word Aristotle uses,
aition, "a responsible, explanatory factor" is not th same as the word
cause now.) These four causes are the "material cause", (the matter
out of which a thing is made); the "efficient cause", (the source of
motion, generation, or change); the "formal cause", (the species,
kind, or type); and "the final cause", (the goal, or full development,
of an individual, or the intended function of a construction or invention.)

Although I don't know what these mean, they sound philosiphical.an example he
gave is "a young lion is made up of tissues and organs, its material cause;
the efficient cause is its parents, who generated it; the formal cause is its
species, lion; and its final cause is its built- in drive toward maturity."

Another example he gave is "the material cause of a statue is the marble
from which it was carved; the