Saturday, November 10, 2012

Aristotle and Great Chain of Being

In class, we discussed the four, or five, elements that compose of objects, beings or things, animate or inanimate, that make up the great chain of being. These elements, air, fire, water, earth, and ether, perhaps coincidentally were what the ancient philosopher, Aristotle similarly presumed to maker up the objects and world that surround us. He believed that ultimately, all things were made of fire; the implication can therefore be made that he placed fire above all else, as did the great chain of being in the english renaissance. Similarly, he suggested that fire resides at high altitudes and that earth, considered the lowest element hierarchically, was also the lowest element literally.


Lindsay A said...

Well, the four elements are quite common throughout the ages. It would be expected that philosophers would have similar thoughts. Shakespeare was also writing during the Renaissance where the ideas of Aristotle were coming back into circulation.

Grant Reggio said...

Understandable. But consider the fact that Aristotle and this era was millennia apart, the similarity, if not the continuity is quite astounding.

Grant Reggio said...

Were, not was. Sorry about that.