Essay on Aristotle vs. Copernicus

1503 Words Sep 24th, 1999 7 Pages
Aristotle vs. Copernicus

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
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Physics, or natural philosophy.

In astronomy, Aristotle proposed a finite, spherical universe, with the earth at its center. The central region is made up of four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. In Aristotle's physics, each of these four elements has a proper place, determined by its relative heaviness, its "specific gravity." Each moves naturally in a straight line-earth down, fire up-toward its proper place, where it will be at rest. Thus, terrestrial motion is always linear and always comes to a halt. The heavens, however, move naturally and endlessly in a complex circular motion. The heavens, therefore, must be made of a fifth, and different element, which he called aither. A superior element, aither is incapable of any change other than change of place in a circular movement. Aristotle's theory that linear motion always takes place through a resisting medium is in fact valid for all observable terrestrial motions. Aristotle also held that heavier bodies of a given material fall faster than lighter ones when their shapes are the same; this mistaken view was accepted as fact until Galileo proved otherwise.

In his metaphysics, Aristotle argued for the existence of a divine being, described as the Prime Mover, who is responsible for the unity and purposefulness of nature. God is perfect and therefore the aspiration of all things in the world, because all

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