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Aristotle, Scientist and Philosopher

Plato's most brilliant follower was Aristotle1 (384-322 B.C.). Aristotle's great reputation as a thinker in science and philosophy rests on his influence in promoting scientific investigation of the natural world and in developing rigorous systems of logical argument. The enormous influence of Aristotle's works on scholars in later periods, especially the Middle Ages, has made him a monumental figure in the history of western science and philosophy.

The son of a wealthy doctor from Stagira in northern Greece, Aristotle came to Athens at the age of seventeen to study in Plato's Academy2, where he stayed until the death of Plato in 348/7. He next went to stay with Hermias3, a ruler of towns in Mysia in western Anatolia. When Hermias fell from power and died in 345, Aristotle moved to the town of Mytilene on Lesbos, and then in 343 he took up a post at the royal court of Macedonia to tutor Alexander4, the son of king Philip II. By 340 he had probably returned to Stagira, and in 335 Aristotle founded his own informal philosophical school in Athens named the Lyceum5, later called the Peripatetic School after the covered walkway (peripatos ) in which its students carried on conversations while strolling out of the glare of the Mediterranean sun. When Alexander, who had succeeded his father as Macedonian king, died in 323, anti-Macedonian feelings among the Athenians forced Aristotle to depart for Chalcis, where he died in 322.

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