(384-322 B.C.)
   born in the Greek colony of Stagira. He was sent to Athens at the age of 18 where he remained in close association with the ACADEMY of PLATO for twenty years. The logic of Aristotle, called "ANALYTIC" is, he argued, a discipline prior to all others because it sets forth the requirements of scientific inquiry and proof. Aristotelian logic depends on formal relations and the possibility of discovering principles, i.e. UNIVERSALS and CAUSES. Aristotle is fond of tracing the transition in knowledge from the particulars of sense experience--the things we can know--to the universals which are grasped by INTUITIVE reason. For Aristotle every sensible object is a union of two principles, MATTER and FORM. Matter is regarded as potentiality the form which actualizes it. The fact of motion or change is then accounted for as a process by which potential BEING passes over through form into actual being. Aristotle has had a long and profound influence on Western THEOLOGY especially since his work was used as the basis of theological reflection by Thomas AQUINAS in the twelfth century. Aristotle's philosophy provides the basis for many classical APOLOGETIC arguments including the COSMOLOGICAL and TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENTS for BELIEF in GOD who Aristotle called "the unmoved Mover." His ideas also lent legitimation to the ROMAN CATHOLIC doctrine of TRANSUBSTANTIATION and not surprisingly were strongly rejected by early PROTESTANT REFORMERS such as Martin LUTHER and John CALVIN. They were reinstated as the basis for CHRISTIAN scholarship by later reformers and are the official basis for Roman Catholic teachings.

Concise dictionary of Religion. 2012.

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