Monday, November 28, 2011

A Nod to Aristotle

Well, I spefically refer to Aristotle for reasons I will explain, but all the ancient thinkers need to be similarly appreciated.

Well, I've been reading Stephen Hawking's Brief History of Time and I have had so many blog ideas come of that book it just isn't funny. So, expect more to come. If I have time. Haha, time. Get it? Ah, nevermind.

Anyway, it is suprisingly rare that I see the ancient thinkers given their proper due. I often see them refrenced and their ideas explained. But what I mean is praise, and an acknowledgment of debt. In fact, I consider it amazing what the ancients acheived without the advanced instruments of the modern day. This isn't meant to downgrade any modern scientist, and I think all good scientists accept their endebtedness, but I don't see it in print enough. Galileo and Newton receive much more praise than the Greeks, and the Greeks much more than non-western philophers of the ancient world.

Well, Stephen Hawking isn't as humble as I would like, but he does offer Aristotle specifically a point of praise I had never come across before. Aristotle believed in 4 elements, Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and 2 forces, gravity and levity. Hawking rightly dismisses this as early graspings at reality, but he adds that Aristotle began a tradition in science that has never faded: describing the universe as elements and forces.

1 comment:

  1. i think part of the problem is that people don't read them in school anymore. if they were familiar with the works of the ancient greeks they would recognize their influence as they came across it. as it is, folks are unfamiliar with the originals