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Aristotle’s deficiencies.

  1. Nov 24, 2004 #1
    What are the more prominent deficiencies of Aristotle?

    From a general standpoint, as well as from a theist, and even -- if possible -- an atheist perspective?

    It seems that a lot is talked about Aristotle and his great accomplishments and discoveries. But not many talk about what he lacked. I know i have several written down in my notes, but i don't have them at the moment. :grumpy:

    Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 25, 2004 #2
    There is little doubt that Aristotle's work in philosophy, logic, taxonomy, and inquiry resulted in major benefits for Western civilization, but there are two areas of Aristotle that I have considered to be major setbacks for scientific progress until the Renaissance and later:

    1. No Empirical Evidence for the Laws of Nature

    Aristotle relied on pure deductive/inductive reasoning in order to arrive at the laws of nature. He performed no experiments to test his laws, and thus his Physics was flawed. There are three reasons for this: (1). use of pure logic and reasoning was considered the pinnacle of human achievement and was absolutely flawless; one could arrive at the fundamental truths of the universe just by thinking about it in other words. (2). Aristotle being of the noble class frowned on engaging in any sort of experiments to test laws, since this would involve doing "dirty work." (3). Performing an experiment was viewed as a "taint" on the phenomenon being studied and therefore was not as reliable as pure reasoning and logic.

    2. Geocentric Cosmology

    Aristotle's placement of the Earth as motionless at the center of the universe hindered progress in understanding planetary motion, which in turn hindered an accurate understanding of one of the four fundamental forces of nature: gravity. It was believed that the Earth had its laws of nature, whereas the heavens (sun, moon, planets, stars) obeyed a completely different set of laws . The sun, moon, and planets were all attached to giant crystal spheres which slowly rotated around the Earth to give rise to the apparent motion of the heavenly bodies across the sky.

    It was not until 1543 with the publishing of On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres by Copernicus that geocentrism began to be slowly replaced by heliocentrism, which resulted in Kepler's Laws, which helped Newton derive his Law of Gravity. The Law of Gravity was revolutionary because the same law applied both to phenomena on the Earth and in the heavens.

    Of course, we now know that Newton's Law of Gravity is only an approximation of General Relativity, but I wonder...if Aristotle (and the devotees who "worshipped" him for over a thousand years) had taught differently...empiricism and heliocentrism particularly...would the Law of Gravity have been discovered sooner? Would scientific progress in general have been sooner?

    Corrections to my interpretations are welcome. :smile:
     
  4. Nov 25, 2004 #3
    Thanks for the response.

    How bout faults in his philosophies not in the scientific field?
     
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