It’s safe to say that it would be pretty hard to find an individual over the age of 5 that hasn’t heard of Aristotle. He was truly one of the great minds of his time. I think if most people laid claim to even one of the things Aristotle was able to do, they would pack it up and call it a pretty good career. Yet, despite the ubiquity of his name, I was actually pretty surprised to learn how little I knew about his accomplishments. I’ve decided to put together a little top 5 list as I’m sure there are others out there that are in the same position as I found myself. Atleast, I’m hoping that’s the case…
1. I’ll start with the biggies. He is credited as being the father of modern logic. His work entitled Prior Analytics is the first documented work on deductive reasoning. Although it was later found to be slightly flawed, his insight is still used as a backbone in the field thousands of years later.
2.. Aristotle also made significant findings in the field of Zoology. He accurately recorded the embryological development of a chick, and correctly separated dolphins and whales from fish. He also believed that plants had a lower form of soul than humans did, but hey, I guess you can’t always be right.
3. He was a major influence in the field of Virtue ethics. Under this school of thought, one should focus on the decision to do something, rather than the outcome that that decision produces or the consequences it may have.
4. He invented the precursor to the camera. In his 350 B.C. work Probelmata, Aristotle outlined his concept for the Camera Obscura.
5. He was also deeply interested in the field of Psychology. One idea that he has been credited with is that of passion. Yes, Aristotle was one of the first to write about passion. Sounds like a pretty cool area of study to me.
So although this is clearly not an exhaustive list of all the things Aristotle did in his life time, I hope I was able to bring up some interesting points about a man that still influences our everyday life in many ways.