I achieved my goal of a post a day in August. I think I will try to do the same in September. I want to have a short and concise introduction to Aristotle that encourages people to want to study logic. I will add the #STEM tag to this post as Aristotle is considered the father of #science. I found this picture of the bust of Aristotle on Creative Commons . This bust was made by Romans and is claimed to be a copy of the original in Athens.
Aristotle and the Discovery of Logic
Aristotle (384–322 BC) was the son of Nicomachus who was the personal physician to King Amyntas of Macedon. On his father's death, Aristotle moved to Athens to study at Plato's Academy.
As a scholar, Aristotle was deeply interested in the nature of the mind and the inner working of ideas.
Aristotle loved to classify things. He noticed that some arguments led to folly while others led to promising results. Arguments that lead to folly are called "fallacies." The form of argument called a syllogism has the most promising result.
A syllogism has a major premise, a minor premise and a conclusion. For example the statement "Man is mortal" is the major premise. "Socrates is a man." is the minor premise. "Therefore Socrates is mortal" is the conclusion.
For a syllogism to be valid, the conclusion must be true or false. A statement that does not ovulate to true or false is not a valid syllogism.
The "if then statement" used in computer science is a form of the syllogism.
The major premise is often called a "reason." The process of syllogyzing is often called reasoning.
Aristotle used the term "analytics" for his method of reasoning. Later scholars used the term "logic." Aristotle used the term "dialectics" for general logical discourse.
One can string syllogisms together and created complex theories.
Aristotle was deeply interested in the world. He applied his methods to the study of animals, to the study or motion on the æther, to the study of politics and other interesting topics.
As such, Aristotle laid the foundations for disciplines including biology, physics and other sciences.
Aristotle would see HIVE as a HIVE as a string of syllogisms executed in the æther by computers called "witnesses."
Aristotle and Alexander
King Philip II of Macedon hired Aristotle as a tutor for his son Alexander.
Alexander applied logic to the field of military conquest.
Alexander led phalanxes of soldiers that conquered the Achaemenid Empire which included Egypt and Persia.
Alexander became ill and died at the age of 30. It is possible that he was poisoned.
Aristotle and the Lyceum
Aristotle had returned to Athens to start a school called the Lyceum. On hearing of Alexander's death, Aristotle fled
The Lyceum developed an extensive curriculum which applied analytic thought to a variety of topics including metaphysics, biology, physics, political science.
Historians say that, like Plato, Aristotle wrote numerous complete works along with a selection of lecture notes. The complete works were lost to history. Historians have only the lecture notes. Much of Aristotle's work is about his efforts to categorize things.
He made many valuable observations. Some of his observations were wrong. Aristotle was also a notorious elitist.
The Role of Logic in Society?
Historians consider Aristotle to be the father of logic. People who apply logic to different topics can achieve remarkable results.
The application of logic to the study of natural phenomena is called science.
Alexander applied logic to military conquest and conquered much of the known world. Because logic was used in war, should we see it as a weapon?
The development of logic set up a bizarre pattern in history. A group will discover the power of logic. They will use logic to gain power and prestige.
The following generations would realize that the power gained through logic was not based on their personal merits but simply on an improved ability to engage in reason.
To protect their position, following generations would try to prevent rivals from studying logic.
The rulers of the ancient world will completely suppress the study of logic.
There is a strange pattern in history in which one group discovers logic. People from this first group accomplish amazing things. The group that inherits the prestige from from the first group realizes that their position is tenuous. Anyone who learns logic could challenge their position.
To protect their position, the new ruling elite then tries to kick the ladder down behind them. They then construct impediments so that others do not benefit from the deductive sciences.
The fact that the father of logic felt it necessary to flee Athens highlights this problem.