Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and scientist, who shared with Plato the
distinction of being the most famous of ancient philosophers. Aristotle was born
at Stagira, in Macedonia, the son of a physician to the royal court. At the age
of 17, he went to Athens to study at Plato's Academy. He remained there 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, Hermias
(d. 345 bc ), was ruler. There he counseled Hermias and married his niece and
adopted daughter, Pythias. After Hermias was captured and executed by the
Persians, Aristotle went to Pella, the Macedonian capital, where he became the
tutor of the king's young son Alexander, later known as Alexander the Great. In
335, when Alexander became king, Aristotle returned to Athens and established
his own school, the Lyceum. Because much of the discussion in his school took
place while teachers and students were walking about the Lyceum grounds,
Aristotle's school came to be known as the Peripatetic ("walking" or
"strolling") school. Upon the death of Alexander in 323 bc , strong anti-
Macedonian feeling developed in Athens, and Aristotle retired to a family estate
in Euboea. He died there the following year.
His works on natural science include Physics, which gives a vast amount of
information on astronomy, meteorology, plants, and animals. His writings on the
nature, scope, and properties of being, which Aristotle called First Philosophy
( Prote philosophia ), were given the title Metaphysics in the first published
edition of his works (c. 60 bc ), because in that edition they followed Physics.
His treatment of the Prime Mover, or first cause, as pure intellect, perfect in
unity, immutable, and, as he said, "the thought of thought," is given in the
Metaphysics. To his son Nicomachus he dedicated his work on ethics, called the
Nicomachean Ethics. Other essential works include his... [continues]
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