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Nature of Motion According To Lucretius and Aristotle Essay


Aristotle and Lucretius talked about the concept of motion in many ways. Their contributions to the concept of motion contributed a lot to the birth of modern science. It is noted that they differed over several ideas as regards to how the world ought to function. In this article, the nature of motion would be discussed in detail, as described by both Aristotle and Lucretius.

The discussion will be based on the assigned texts and passages provided in the class. Moreover, the meaning of nature and its makeup would be defined, as suggested in the paragraphs. Finally, the article will talk about the concept of bodies, as discussed by the two philosophers. It should be noted that they both contributed enormously to the concept of motion, but they differed over some basic concepts related to nature.

Aristotle noted that matter is made up of at least four elements, which contribute a lot to the concept of motion. These elements include the earth, water, air, and fire. The heaviest element among the four was the earth. Water was the second in terms of weight while air and fire followed in that order.

To Aristotle, the four elements could arrange themselves according to their weights. In this regard, the earth would always be in the center while water would surround it. Water surrounds the earth in the spherical manner while air and fire follow in the same manner. The four elements move towards their center meaning motion exists among the four elements.

To Aristotle, steam would form first, which is simply composed of air. This makes it rise above earth. The steam would them form water before becoming part of the earth. The natural process whereby steam would form water, which would finally be part of the earth, would always be a continuous process unless some there are some restraining factors (Cushing 1998, p. 78).

Due to this natural process, motion will always occur. In the contrary, Lucretius was the view that matter simply consists of atoms, which exist in an empty space. The atoms have the power to move freely in the space. This means that they can collide randomly. However, he could not explain how the atoms can move freely while colliding.

The atoms have a constant motion, which is not strange in any way. In this case, the motion is predictable, even though it is determined by the weight of the atom. Lucretius puts forward that when a body faces an exterior force from the collisions of a few other atoms, it makes that atom of a different body to act in response to this collision until they can go back to their original motion and acquire original motion.

This exterior force is the outcome of a separate force (with dissimilar atoms) acting on the atoms that constitute that force. This cycle of atoms bringing about change in a different set is an ever-continuing sequence of change. However, Lucretius could not explain the sources or the causes of collisions, even though they exist. Generally, this is his explanation of nature, as well as the causes of motion (Earman 1989, p. 20).

The two philosophers discussed the issue of bodies extensively in their analysis. To Aristotle, bodies are very important as compared to minute atoms. In his view, bodies are made up of form and matter. The bodies are a combination of the four elements, including the earth, water, air, and fire. Lucretius was of the different view because he noted that just atoms and the empty spaces are real.

Collisions among atoms, as well as the arrangement of atoms in the empty space, constitute the bodies. The collisions among atoms occur on daily basis, but the scale at which they collide is very small implying that they cannot be noticed. It could be concluded in this section that a number of differences exist between the postulations of Aristotle and Lucretius.

One of the major differences is the conceptualization of bodies. For Aristotle, bodies are made up of form and matter. Motion occurs between bodies because atoms struggle to go back to their original status. For Lucretius, bodies are made of little atoms, which collide and restructure themselves in a certain way. It should be noted that the ideas of these great philosophers have contributed enormously to the growth of modern science.

Cardinal Bellarmine’s reasons for refusing the theory postulated by Copernicus were based on the teachings of the Bible. These teachings had earlier been explained in the medieval times whereby there was a general believe that God was the creator of the world and nothing would change that. Based on this idea, the world was made to believe that the earth was the center of the universe since God created it first.

However, the Cardinal cautioned those supporting the theory to stop claiming that the earth was not the center of the universe. In fact, he warned that it was extremely dangerous for scientists to claim that the earth was a mere planet that was not even at the center of the universe. By claiming that the earth was not the center of the universe, the scientists were undermining the Bible, as well as the church.

This would definitely threaten the powers of the church leaders in society since they always preached that only the church could interpret things related to creation and reproduction. Those supporting the theory confirmed using the Bible that the sun goes round the earth, but not the other way round. In case the scientists would be allowed to confirm the allegations, the leadership of Bellarmine would be in danger because people would no longer believe in the teachings of the Bible.

In the end, the church would lose power to scientists, something that would interfere with the relationship between people and the church (Sklar 1992, p. 21). Bellarmine relied on a misplaced notion that the earth was very heavy meaning that it could not move freely. In case the earth would move around the sun, everything on earth would also move, including trees and other natural features.

He therefore demanded for an explanation regarding the claims that the earth is not the center of the universe. Galileo utilized a number of scientific techniques to prove to the church that the earth was not the center of the universe. Once of the equipments he used was the telescope, which proved in the end that the theory was indeed accurate.

He noted through scientific observations that the moon is aligned to the Jupiter. In a different occasion, he observed that the moon went round meaning that there is a high possibility that even the moon goes round. It can be observed from this experimentation that knowledge is usually gained through trial and error, but not relying on the writings of others.

His contributions to modern science are enormous because he lacked modern equipments yet he proved to the church that the earth was not the center of the universe (Lloyd 1973, p. 59). Galileo refused to utilize the Bible as the basis of his research because it is subject to multiple interpretations. In fact, he observed that church leaders might interpret the Bible to suit their interests, but not those of society in general.

The interpretation of the Bible in the ancient times was dangerous to the development of science. In his view, the Bible could not be used to offer scientific direction in society because scientists were not given room to offer their interpretations. Through constant research, Galileo proved to society that some of the beliefs held in high esteem could be inaccurate. He proved this by giving a story of the anatomical dissection.

Moreover, he warned new scientists to be cautious when presenting their research findings because society is always reluctant to embrace change. In other words, people do not like hearing things that might interfere with their positions in society, especially the elites.

It can be concluded in this section that Galileo was determined to prove to the church that the earth is not the center of the universe using the available equipments. He managed to convince the church that the moon moves around the earth while the earth moves around the sun. This was new revelation that was strongly opposed by the church members. This shows that Bellarmine was resistant to change and competition yet scientists, including Galileo, were ready to embrace the new science.

List of References

Cushing, J 1998, Philosophical concepts in physics: the historical relation between philosophy and scientific theories, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Earman, J 1989, World enough, and space-time: absolute versus relational theories of space and time, MIT Press, Cambridge.

Lloyd 1973, Greek Science after Aristotle. W. W. Norto, New York.

Sklar, L 1992, Philosophy of physics, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

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IvyPanda. (2019, July 1). Nature of Motion According To Lucretius and Aristotle. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/nature-of-motion-according-to-lucretius-and-aristotle/

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"Nature of Motion According To Lucretius and Aristotle." IvyPanda, 1 July 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/nature-of-motion-according-to-lucretius-and-aristotle/.

1. IvyPanda. "Nature of Motion According To Lucretius and Aristotle." July 1, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/nature-of-motion-according-to-lucretius-and-aristotle/.


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