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Aristotle and Physics

Galileo or Aristotle? Their point of views and the differences.


Aristotle believed motion required force.

Aristotle believed motion required force; that objects moving unnaturally were doing so because there is an unknown, unseen agent driving them to perform that motion. His thought process included the belief that everything existed inside a continuum.

His work encompassed many facets of what we now call natural philosophy. He stated, an object ten times heavier than another was going to have to fall ten times faster in order to reach the ground at the same time. Or another way of saying it could be, the heavier an object is, the faster it falls. Aristotle was well-respected.

He taught Alexander the Great and Ptolemy, so the people of the time would not have had a reason to challenge his theory. He believed once the force moving the object was taken away, the object would come to rest. Galileo however, challenge Aristotle’s view about objects in motion.

He believed and focused on abstraction and idealization of previous scientific theories.

He was interested with how things moved, not why they moved.

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Galileo went on to prove that an object free falling stays at a constant rate of acceleration. This means, it’s gaining speed constantly [the whole time it’s free falling] until it’s stopped.

Galileo felt Aristotle used too much “common sense”, or empiricism in his thought process. He found through his experiments that all objects are at their constant rate of speed naturally, unless influenced by an outside force. Example, the lamp on a table is at its constant rate of speed as it sits there; and a cat jumps on the table, knocking it down as it does so. [This changes the lamp's speed rate.]

1.1 Physics: An Introduction - College Physics. (n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2021, from

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Bri Smith

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