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Aristotle (384–322 BC)

  • By: Susanna Servello
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Many of the writings of the enormously influential Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle (born in Stageira, 384 BC, died in Chalcis, 322 BC) played a fundamental role in the development of the discipline of geography. His geocentric model, which was perfected by Hipparchus and Ptolemy, considered Earth to be immobile at the center of the universe and was held by medieval Christianity as an incontestable truth. It had a huge influence on Western cosmology until the 16th century, when it was replaced by the heliocentric theory supported by Copernicus.

Aristotle believed the universe to be unique and finite and thought that nothing existed outside it. From his point of view, four elements (air, water, earth, and fire) combined to form the planet, while ether was considered ...

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