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With the possible exception of Plato, Aristotle is the most influential philosopher in the history of logical thought. Logic into this century was basically Aristotelian logic. Aristotle dominated the study of the natural sciences until modern times. Aristotle, in some aspect, was the founder of biology; Charles Darwin considered him as the most important contributor to the subject. Aristotle’s Poetic, the first work of literary notice, had a string influence on the theory and practice of modern drama. Aristotle’s great influence is due to the fact that he seemed to offer a system, which although lacked in certain respects, was as a whole matchless in its extent.
Aristotle was born in 384 BC in Stagira in northern Greece. His father, Nicomachus, was a physician with close connections to the Macedonian court. In 367, Aristotle went to Athens to join Plato’s Academy, first as a student then, a teacher. Plato had gathered around him a group of outstanding men who shared no common belief but who were united by the exact effort to organize human knowledge on a firm theoretical basis and expand it in all directions. This effort identified Aristotle’s own work.
It was also part of the Academy’s program to train young men for a political career and to provide advice to rulers. After Plato’s death, Aristotle joined the court of Hermias of Atarneus in 347, and later went to the court of Philip II of Macedonian, where he became the tutor of Alexander the Great. In 335, Aristotle returned to Athens to found his own school, the Lyceum. The Lyceum under Aristotle pursued a wider range of subjects than the Academy ever had. The detail study of nature became very popular among the students. After the death of Alexander the Great in 323, anti-Macedonian feeling in Athens rose, and Aristotle retried to Chalcis, where he died the following year.
The natural sciences are concerned with natural objects that are characterized by the...