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The Greek philosopher Aristotle lived from 384 BC to 322 BC. He learned under Plato, and he taught Alexander the Great. Aristotle wrote and philosophized on a variety of subjects, including metaphysics, physics, theater, poetry, zoology, biology, government, politics, ethics, rhetoric and logic. Most people see Aristotle as one of the most influential Greek philosophers, rivaled only by his teacher Plato and Plato's teacher Socrates. These three philosophers took Presocratic Greek philosophy and turned it into the foundations of Western philosophy.
Aristotle's theories regarding logic dominated philosophy until the 19th century, when great advanced were made in mathematical logic. Aristotle's writings go from the basics of analysis of simple terms to study more complex forms, namely syllogisms and dialectics. Aristotle also created syllogisms with modalities, know as modal logic.
Aristotle devoted most of his life to studying the objects of natural science. In Metaphysics he makes observations about the nature of numbers. However, he did not make any original contributions to Mathematics. Rather he researched in the natural sciences, including zoology, botany, astronomy, physics, chemistry, geometry, meteorology, and more.
Though he devoted most of his life to metaphysics, Aristotle also greatly influenced art. Aristotle's Poetics has influenced countless playwrights and Aristotle's Politics remains a profound text today.
Of course, his works did contain occasional errors. For example, he says that human males have more teeth than human females in History of Animals. Less comically, he and Plato proposed geocentricism, which the Roman Catholic Church thereafter adopted.
Additionally, Aristotle's could only conceive of scientific observations qualitatively, but not quantitatively. Of course, he did not have access to tools of measurement, such as thermometers or clocks.
Despite some of Aristotle's shortcomings in science, he made massive advances in many fields of science. For example, Aristotle founded logic as a formal science. Additionally, he created foundations to biology that (at least in the West) would not be superseded for two millennia.
Many people see Aristotle's system of thought as the most influential and marvelous one ever compiled by anybody. Fore example, historian Will Durant says that no other philosopher contributed so much to the world's enlightenment. Aristotle single-handedly founded the sciences of Psychology, Biology, and Logic.
Unfortunately, only one fifth of Aristotle's original works survived.
"It is absurd to hold that a man ought to be ashamed of being unable to defend himself with his limbs but not of being unable to defend himself with speech and reason, when the use of reason is more distinctive of a human being than the use of his limbs."
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