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Aristotle

alexander aristotle’s athens macedon

[ ar istotl] (384–322 BC ) Athenian (Greek) philosopher and naturalist: provided philosophical basis of science which proved dominant for 18 centuries.
Son of the court physician at Macedon, Aristotle was orphaned early and moved to Athens, where he became Plato’s finest pupil. In 342 BC he returned to Macedon as tutor and then adviser to Philip II’s son Alexander, who became Alexander the Great. Later he became a public teacher in Athens, using a garden he owned (the Lyceum). His collected lectures cover most of the knowledge of the time in science, and some other fields such as logic and ethics (but not mathematics), and include much of Aristotle’s own work in zoology and anatomy. He was a first-class naturalist and marine biologist, whereas his record of older views in physics and cosmology contained many misguided, although defensible, ideas. Aristotle’s books survived in the Arab world, and re-entered Christian Europe in Latin translation in the 12th and 13th-c. It was no fault of the writer that his books were accorded almost divine authority, and some of the erroneous ideas were not easily displaced (eg that bodies ‘outside the sphere of the Moon’ are perfect and unchanging). His status as a major figure in philosophy has never changed.

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