ARISTOTLE
Task: Read the following biographical briefing on Aristotle. Answer the questions on a separate
sheet of paper and be prepared to discuss your answers in class.
Read:
Aristotle was born in Ancient Greece over 2000 years ago (about 300 BC). Once referred to as,
"The man of all knowledge", Aristotle provided answers for global phenomenon that were
popular for over 2000 years. He reasoned that 'heavier' objects fell to the ground faster than
'lighter' objects. Aristotle also conceived the universe consisting of celestial spheres. The stars
outside of these stars act as lights for humans in the night. Aristotle was also a supporter of a
geocentric model of the universe: meaning he thought the Earth was at the center of the
universe. His theories of motion included all motion on the Earth to be straight and linear,
whereas motion in the heavens (above the Earth) was circular. Of course with the revelations
by Galileo and Newton, most of Aristotle's scientific laws have become obsolete. He is still
however, respected for his many contributions to the field of philosophy.
Write (on separate sheet of paper):
1. Why do you think people believed that the earth was the center of the universe for so
long? (Hint: Think about the way the sun and stars “appear” to be moving around the
earth, and think about how different our technology is today compared to thousands of
years ago.)
2. Why do you think Aristotle thought the stars were celestial spheres?
3. Even though it seems like “common sense” that “heavier” objects fall to the ground
faster than “lighter” objects, this view is actually incorrect. Why do you think Aristotle
thought this was true?
4. What other forces do you think affect the rate at which objects fall to the ground?
Think:
Even though our powerful technology today allows us to observe and experience the universe
with much more accuracy and understanding, we still cannot say with absolute certainty, that
our current view of the universe today is “the truth.” We live in a dynamic world, which means
that “truth,” like the world, changes in response to information. This is why our view of the
world changes as we learn more information and gain new knowledge. Write about a time in
which you changed your view on something after you gained new information. How can this
experience be a good metaphor for the way scientists view the world?
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aristotle - Odyssey Charter School