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are neither space, nor vacuum, nor time; and yet, he says, that the things outside, existing in neither space nor time, enjoy for all eternity a perfect life of absolute joy and peace. His idea respecting the heavenly bodies was that they are composed of ether; that they only seem bright because the friction caused by their rapid revolution makes them red hot; and that the stars twinkle because they are so far off that our sight reaches them in a weak and trembling condition. He also believed the earth to be motionless in the centre of the universe, and laughed at the notion of the Pythagoreans that it and the stars revolved round a central fire. He correctly imagined the earth to be spherical, and noticed that it cast a circular shadow on the moon during an eclipse; but he affirmed comets to be transient meteors composed of the same matter as the Milky Way. He also made an approximate guess at the conformation and circumference of the earth; but most of his views as to the nature and arrangement of the heavenly bodies were erroneous, and yet they were accepted by succeeding generations of thinkers for upwards of fifteen centuries. Neither had he any notion of Chemistry, or of the analysis of substances; and in his work on 'Generation and Corruption' he does not get beyond a resolution of the four elements into their ultimate principles of hot, cold, wet, and dry, with the deduction that hot and wet form air,-hot and dry, fire,— cold and wet, water, and cold and dry, earth.
In his 'Biological' treatises Aristotle regards the whole of nature as a continuous chain, beginning with inorganic substances, and extending gradually through the vegetable and animal kingdoms to man, whose soul in childhood differs not from that of the lower animals. Discoursing 'On the Parts of Animals,' he derived from the four elements the formation of tissues, from these the organs, and from them the organised being; laying down as a principle that all which was common to the various species should be discussed before their specific differences. Consequently, his ideas 'On the Soul' follow next in order, and he traces out the vital principle through its successive ascending manifestations. Appended to this treatise are 'Physiological Tracts,' or observations on some of the functions of
living creatures, and also on the pairs of opposites,—waking and sleeping, youth and old age, inspiration and expiration, life and death.
Still dealing with generalities, he shows, in his work on the Locomotion of Animals,' how various organs are adapted by nature for this purpose. His next subject is the 'Generation of Animals;' and he concludes with 'Researches about Animals.' Most of his physical definitions are erroneous. For instance, he says life is the natural fire which resides in the heart; respiration is the process of cooling, which prevents the smothering of the vital fire; and the mouth serves both for feeding and cooling, except in the case of fishes. Again, the heart is the seat of intelligence, and the brain the coldest and wettest part of the body, serving, with the respiration, to cool down the fire of life. Sight, sound, and smell are located in the brain, but touch and taste in the heart. The inhabitants of hot climates are longer lived than those of cold countries, and men than women. People with large heads, as a rule, live long. Nevertheless, he foreshadowed the advance of physiology and medicine by remarking that the best doctors seek grounds for their art in nature.
His 'Stories about Animals' were, no doubt, derived from uneducated people whose occupations led them to observe their habits, and are more amusing than reliable. His description, however, of the lion is fairly correct; and his collection of facts relating to nearly five hundred different species of mammals, birds, reptiles, fishes, and lower forms of life, undoubtedly prepared the way for the science of zoology. It is also supposed that the translators of the Septuagint were influenced by his works in several of their renderings relating to natural history.
Although some of Aristotle's earliest essays were on metaphysical subjects, it would appear that he put off till the last any direct exposition of the system; and hence the title of Metaphysics,' signifying things that follow after physics, given by his school to the science of the forms of thought and the forms of things, which he sometimes called wisdom, sometimes first philosophy, and sometimes theology. The first book of these treatises contains a history of
philosophy from the time of Thales to his own time, from which we learn that there was a period when the word cause' had never been heard; and that every abstract word we use is the result of the theories or controversies of former ages. He also shows how philosophers, starting with only a material cause, gradually arrived at the ideas of motive power, form, and final cause. Without fully explaining his doctrine of the relation of the mind to external things, he says there are two kinds of reason in the soulthe one passive, which becomes all things by receiving their impress; and the other constructive, which creates all things, just as light brings colours into actual existence, while without light they would have remained mere possibilities. Matter he called timber, or the underlying, to indicate that it is implied in all existence. But without form matter cannot be perceived, and consequently cannot be actual. Thus it must always be pre-supposed and yet always eludes us. According to Aristotle, therefore, it is impossible to conceive matter as actually existing, and equally impossible to think of reason as having had a derivative origin. In another argument he shows that all the qualities of things are relative, being named from the human stand-point, and that, in short, man is the measure of all things. His general philosophy, however, is not so correct as his scientific theories. He held that sensations travel to us, water being the vehicle of sight, air of sound, fire of smell, and earth of touch and taste; but that light was an existence, not a motion; and, therefore, that Empedocles was mistaken when he said that light travels from the sun to the earth, and that there is a moment when each ray is not yet seen, but is being borne mid-way. One of his most famous doctrines is that of the Law of Association,' or the existence in the mind of certain standpoints or clues, and thus recollection is the recalling of knowledge. In trying to recollect we search for something that is in sequence, or similarity, or contrast, or proximity to what we wish to think of; and no animal but man has the power of recollection, although many have memory.
Aristotle's opinions on the three great metaphysical problems, the destiny of the human soul, free-will, and
the nature of God, have to be gathered from his writings generally. Whether he believed in a future life is still a matter of controversy. As to free-will, he admitted a certain amount of determinism as controlling the human will, but he did not trace out its proportions, and merely maintained that the individual was a ‘joint cause,' if not the sole causé, of his own character and actions. He thought mankind had existed from all eternity, and that after attaining perfection in the sciences, arts, and society, a natural convulsion had destroyed all but a few individuals, by whom the process of development had been commenced anew, again and again.
Except in a passing metaphor, in which he says that God may be to the world as a general is to an army, none of Aristotle's utterances attribute either will, providence, or ordering of affairs to the Deity, whom he speaks of as a Supreme Being, who, unmoved himself, is the cause of motion to all things, the object of reason and desire, and, in short, the Good. We are told it would be absurd to attribute to Him any human functions except philosophic thought; but that His happiness is everlasting, and that He has, or rather is, continuous and eternal life and duration.
After lying dormant for three centuries, during which the conception of original philosophies had ceased, the works of Aristotle, when republished at Rome about fifty years before the Christian era, shared the honours awarded to the sacred books of different nations, and were subsequently adopted by the Catholic Church for the instruction of youth in logic and metaphysics. In the thirteenth century they were almost incorporated with Christianity; whilst by Dante, the philosopher was hailed as the 'master of those who know.' They also formed one of the chief subjects for study at the universities until the sixteenth century, when their authority was questioned by some of the new continental schools of thought. They have, however, since, regained much of their ancient reputation, and will continue to be studied so long as higher education consists in imbuing the mind with the literature of classical antiquity, as the only true foundation of knowledge.
DIED B.C. 322.
HE highest aspects of Greek life, and its best influences on the civilisation of the world, were
intimately connected with Greece as an aggregate of free, self-governing communities, resisting to the death anything like foreign dictation or interference; and the speeches of Demosthenes cannot be understood without some acquaintance with Greek politics at the time of their delivery.
In the fifth century B.C. Athens stood at the head of the Greek world; but, having been defeated by Sparta at the naval engagement of Ægos-potami, that State obtained the lead, and concluded a peace with Persia, which virtually placed Greece under the domination of that country. Sparta also undermined Greek strength and unity by reducing the leading states to petty dependencies under her control, and thus permanently destroyed any general confederacy against the incursion of a hostile power from the north. Her ascendancy, however, was superseded by that of Thebes, who endeavoured to restore the federations, and to weaken her rival; until Athens, recovering from her humiliation, once more secured her former influence, and, at the time of Philip's accession to the throne of Macedon, the Ægean sea was an Athenian lake. But she had lost control over her generals, and a social war ensued, in which she was deserted by several of her richest allies. A peace