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On the Heavens

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  96 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Aristotle, great Greek philosopher, researcher, reasoner, and writer, born at Stagirus in 384 BCE, was the son of Nicomachus, a physician, and Phaestis. He studied under Plato at Athens and taught there (367 47); subsequently he spent three years at the court of a former pupil, Hermeias, in Asia Minor and at this time married Pythias, one of Hermeias s relations. After som ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published January 1st 1970 by Loeb Classical Library 338 (first published December 1st 1936)
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This is quite a charming little book. In it, one can find the description of an entire way of viewing the natural world. Aristotle moves on from the abstract investigations of the Physics to more concrete questions: Is the earth a sphere or flat? What are the fundamental constituents of matter? Why do some things fall, and some things rise? Is the earth the center of everything? Aristotle’s answers, I’m afraid, have not stood the test of time; such, it appears, is the risk of all science—obsoles ...more
Brian Schiebout
May 08, 2013 Brian Schiebout rated it really liked it
On the Heavens by Aristotle translated into English by j. L. Stocks is the second part of his physical treatises. This book deals with how objects interact with the world including how the heavens are formed. The book starts but a discussion of movement which is inaccurate and leads to many of the other flaws that Aristotle's logic leads to. He basically defines natural movement as something going to the point where it naturally should be. This leads to his idea that all objects have a place whe ...more
Joe Basile
Aug 20, 2015 Joe Basile rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! Again, not an easy read by any means, but it is fascinating to look over Aristotle's shoulder as he tries to make sense of the world around him completely unaided by modern instruments, relying solely on what he can observe with his own senses and his powers of logic. Some of his ideas seem nutty by modern standards - for example he thinks there are only four elements (earth , water air and fire) and that the earth is the center of the universe, and that the stars are attached to a se ...more
Iso Cambia
Referenced in A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (p. 2).
Marts  (Thinker)
Feb 25, 2011 Marts (Thinker) rated it really liked it
This volume contains Aristotle's views on the functionings of the terrestrial world and his astronomical theory. He considers heavenly bodies as perfect and composed of imperishable matter with eternal motions...
Sep 25, 2015 SofiaSevero rated it liked it
Shelves: for-college
Read the first part but I studyed it in class so i already feel as if i read it all...
interesting theory, specially at that time - the arguments are very well developed.
Brent Pinkall
May 11, 2016 Brent Pinkall rated it liked it
Five stars for the influence of this work on Western culture. One star for my ability to understand it.
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(Greece: Αριστοτέλης)
(Arabic: أرسطوطاليس)

Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.) numbers among the greatest philosophers of all time. Judged solely in terms of his philosophical influence, only Plato is his peer: Aristotle's works shaped centuries of philosophy from Late Antiquity through the Renaissance, and even today continue to be studied with keen, non-antiquarian interest. A prodigious researcher and wri
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“Most people-all, in fact, who regard the whole heaven as finite-say it lies at the centre. But the Italian philosophers known as Pythagoreans take the contrary view. At the centre, they say, is fire, and the earth is one of the stars, creating night and day by its circular motion about the centre. They further construct another earth in opposition to ours to which they give the name counterearth. In all this they are not seeking for theories and causes to account for observed facts, but rather forcing their observations and trying to accommodate them to certain theories and opinions of their own. But there are many others who would agree that it is wrong to give the earth the central position, looking for confirmation rather to theory than to the facts of observation. Their view is that the most precious place befits the most precious thing: but fire, they say, is more precious than earth, and the limit than the intermediate, and the circumference and the centre are limits. Reasoning on this basis they take the view that it is not earth that lies at the centre of the sphere, but rather fire. The Pythagoreans have a further reason. They hold that the most important part of the world, which is the centre, should be most strictly guarded, and name it, or rather the fire which occupies that place, the 'Guardhouse of Zeus', as if the word 'centre' were quite unequivocal, and the centre of the mathematical figure were always the same with that of the thing or the natural centre. But it is better to conceive of the case of the whole heaven as analogous to that of animals, in which the centre of the animal and that of the body are different. For this reason they have no need to be so disturbed about the world, or to call in a guard for its centre: rather let them look for the centre in the other sense and tell us what it is like and where nature has set it. That centre will be something primary and precious; but to the mere position we should give the last place rather than the first. For the middle is what is defined, and what defines it is the limit, and that which contains or limits is more precious than that which is limited, see ing that the latter is the matter and the former the essence of the system.” 0 likes
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