Aristotle Aristotle Aristotle was a Greek philosopher, educator, and scientist. He was one of the greatest and most influential thinkers in Western culture. He familiarized himself with the entire development of Greek thought preceding him. In his own writings, Aristotle considered, summarized, criticized, and further developed all the intellectual tradition that he had inherited from his teacher, Plato. Aristotle was the first philosopher to analyze the process whereby certain propositions can be logically inferred to be true from the fact that certain other propositions are true. He believed that this processor logical inference was based on a form of argument he called the syllogism.
In a syllogism, a proposition is argued or logically inferred to be true from the fact that two other propositions are true. Aristotle also believed in a Philosophy of nature. In this he believed the most striking aspect of nature was change. He even defined the philosophy of nature in his book Physics, as the study of things that change. Aristotle argued that to understand change, a distinction must be made between the form and matter of a thing.
He is even the man given credit for the idea of matter and form. Aristotle’s philosophy of nature includes psychology and biology. In On the Soul, he investigated the various function of the soul and the relationship between the soul and the body. Aristotle was the world’s first great biologist. He gathered vast amounts of information about the variety, structure, and behavior of animals and plants. Aristotle died in 400 BC leaving many great works and ideas behind him. From about 500 AD to 1100 AD knowledge of Aristotle’s philosophy was almost completely lost in the West.
During this period, it was preserved by Arabic and Syrian scholars who reintroduced it to the Christian culture of Western Europe in the 1100’s and 1200’s. Aristotle enjoyed tremendous prestige during this time. To some of the leading Christian and Arabic scholars of the Middle Ages, Aristotle writings seemed to contain the sum total of human knowledge. Aristotle’s authority has declined since the Middle Ages, but many philosophers of the modern period owe much to him. The extent of Aristotle’s influence is difficult to judge, because many of his ideas have been absorbed into the language of science and philosophy. Biographies.