From Big Medical Encyclopedia

ARISTOTLE (384 — 322 BC) — the most great thinker of antiquity. The Ancient Greek philosophy, according to K. Marx, reached «in the person of Aristotle the highest blossoming» (K. Marx and F. Engels. From early works. M, 1956, page 27).

Aristotle was born in Stagnre, the Greek colony on the Thracian coast (the second name of Aristotle from here — «Stagirit»). Got an initial education under the leadership of the father, the court doctor of the Macedonian tsar. With 367 g lived in Athens and, having become Platon's pupil, within 20 years (to the death of Platon) was a participant of platonovsky Academy. In 343 — 339 — Alexander of Macedon's tutor. In 335 g in Athens founded own school known under the name «Likey» or «peripatetichesky school». Died on Euboea where ran from prosecutions on a charge of a crime against religion.

Aristotle lived during an era when public consciousness identified the world with harmonious integrity of Space, and Space was understood skulpturno as perfectly organized body, and a microcosm (person) — as a part of this Space, its element which is integrally defined whole. Being the typical representative of style of thinking of antiquity, Aristotle as the fundamental principle of definition of the nature accepts corporal plasticity, harmony. Therefore the first essence, according to Aristotle, are material objects. Proving variety of their specific life, it enters four types of the reasons: material, i.e. substrate and by that passive, and the active reasons — driving, target and formal. The formal reason, in force a cut any thing such is what it is, and defines the second, the highest, essence of life — «form». The way of knowledge of a form as entities of each specific subject lies, according to Aristotle, first of all in so-called apodiktichesky knowledge, i.e. certainly reliable knowledge is reached at removal of the truth from the highest principles which are beheld by mind directly while the «dialectic knowledge» originating in the general experience of people can give only probabilistic «opinion».

Such philosophical installation received the reflection and in Aristotle's doctrine about organic expediency. Having in details sorted and having systematized knowledge of the person, animals and plants which was available by this time, he draws an analogy of a structure and development of biological objects to activity of the sculptor who in implementation of a form reasonablly uses and subordinates material. Aristotle sees natural process of disclosure of features of their structure internally inherent in live bodies in the facts of organic development. Life, according to Aristotle, assumes the matter and a form. Matter is the body, a form — soul which Aristotle called an entelekhiya (from entelecheia an osushchestvlennost). In Aristotle's philosophy the entelekhiya expresses unity of all four types of the reasons, and also transition of material substance from a potentiality to organization and acts as the reason of itself and at the same time as the purpose of the movement. So difficult concept including and some moment of predefiniteness, preexistence of a form as the set purpose of development, was expression of fluctuations of Aristotle between materialism and idealism. It left a possibility of various interpretation of categories «purpose» and «entelekhiya».

Vitalists, and in particular H. Driesch, consider Aristotle the founder of the direction though it not absolutely is true because the term «entelekhiya» is used by vitalists for designation of the supermaterial «vital force». Vitalists practically continue in philosophy the line of Platon, the world of «ideas», finding an explanation of essence of each of the objects of a material world («many») in existence, serving as samples of physical items. Aristotle, unlike Platon, refused justification of corporal harmony by doubling of life and opened theoretical unproductiveness of definition of «much» through a lot of things, understanding the relation of «form» and «matter» not as the relation of supersensual «idea» and sensual «substance» at all. Though, according to Aristotle, «form» is eternal and invariable, at the same time it is not something otherworldly, and a look inherent in «matter», it accepted. The form is reality of that, a possibility of what is matter. In a real-life subject of the sensual world the form makes a whole with matter, and it can be considered both as «form», and as «matter». In such interpretation of matter and a form V. I. Lenin saw in Aristotle's philosophy «materialistic lines» and «to the critic of idealism as idealism in general» (V. I. Lenin. Half-N of SOBR. soch., t. 29, page 254, 255).

Aristotle's works («History of animals», «About parts of animals», «About emergence of animals», «About the movement of animals», etc.) long time were the main source of data on zoology and to a certain extent formed a basis for development of a systematics, a descriptive and comparative anatomy, embryology, and also psychology (work «About soul»). In particular, Aristotle gives the systematic description of 500 animal species. At the same time it classifies organisms, having divided them on «the beings having blood» and «beings, not having blood» and puts forward the idea of unity and a stupeneobrazny arrangement of living beings on height of the organization.

In various works of Aristotle it is possible to meet statements which directly concern medicine. Some of them were of great importance for its development. Aristotle the first entered the term «aorta». It described «a big vein» — a pulmonary artery. Aristotle considered heart (in his opinion, three-chambered) the major body organ which owing to the importance cannot be seriously sick. Aristotle entered into medicine a concept about rotting, a cut, in his opinion, is called by damage of natural warmth warmth foreign. This concept long time dominated in medicine, was not forced out by the doctrine about infectious diseases yet. Aristotle paid to Wednesday, seasons, temperature drops as origins of diseases much attention.

But nevertheless Aristotle's influence on development and practice of biology and medicine is defined not so much by its direct contribution to these areas of knowledge, how many influence of the theoretical principles developed by it. The doctrine about an entelekhiya, about biological expediency, including and about interaction of bodies in an organism (and also about life and development of organisms as about process of the purposeful movement to a form), exerted a great influence on medicobiological views Galen (see), and through it — on all medicine of the Middle Ages. But in the Middle Ages when there were no experimental natural sciences and the primacy of «pure» logic over sensory perception was approved, from Aristotle's doctrine all searches, fluctuations, methods of statement of questions were thrown out. Thereby it, according to

V. I. Lenin, was turned into «dead scholasticism» (V. I. Lenin. Half-N of SOBR. soch., t. 29, page 326) and already in such look was widely adopted and was canonized. At the same time the original texts of Aristotle which kept materialistic and dialectic tendencies of his philosophy played the major role in formation and development of the progressive ideas both in the Middle Ages, and in Renaissance.

Works: Metaphysics, the lane with Greek, M. — L., 1934; About soul, the lane with Greek, M., 1937; About emergence of animals, the lane with Greek, M. — L., 1940.

Bibliography: Alexandrov G. F. Aristotle, M., 1940; Borodulin F. R. Lectures on history of medicine, page 33, M., 1955; Teeth V. P. Aristotle, M., 1963; Kovner S. History of ancient medicine, century 3, page 574, Kiev, 1888; M e N e L. Istoriya of medicine, page 37, M. — L., 1926; Manquat M. Aristotle naturaliste, P., 1932; Singer Ch. Greek biology and greek medicine, Oxford, 1922.

G. I. Tsaregorodtsev, V. A. Ponomarchuk.