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Aristotelianism


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Aristotle's influence originally survived through his own school, the Lyceum. His works were collected and edited by Andronicus of Rhodes, and commentaries continued until Justinian closed the pagan schools in ad 529. Avicenna and Averroes contributed to the rebirth of Aristotelian studies in the West, which after mild attempts at suppression at the beginning of the thirteenth century burgeoned until Aristotle became ‘the philosopher’, the fountainhead and authority for the great medievals such as Albert the Great and especially Aquinas. However, the Schoolmen were more interested in defending the truth of Aristotle's dynamical and physical system, which they saw as substantially compatible with Christianity, than in promoting the empirical and scientific method that he championed, with the result that to the scientific revolution of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Aristotle was regarded as little but an obstacle: the author of fossilized and dogmatic scholastic nonsense. Even at this low point Aristotle's moral and psychological insights fared better than his metaphysical and physical speculations, while his logic, although generally regarded as superseded by modern propositional and predicate calculus, is still admired and trawled for substantive insights.

Subjects: Philosophy


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