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Aristotle Case

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• Aristotle said that heavier masses fall faster. Discuss this theory and relate it to current accepted theory of falling masses

• Why did Aristotle's theory last for so long?

• Discuss how the social and religious or ethical values impacted on scientific developments

Aristotle, a Greek philosopher and scientist put forward a theory stating that objects of heavier mass fall faster than objects of lighter mass. Examples such as the simultaneous drop of a coin and piece of paper show the reason as to why Aristotle might have thought this. Dropped at the same time, the coin falls faster than the piece of paper. However, when a coin and shoe are dropped simultaneously, they fall at almost exactly the same time. This certainly does not abide by Aristotle's theory. Noticing this, Aristotle’s theory was proven to be incorrect by John Philoponus and later, more prominently by Galileo. Galileo observed the discrepancy with Aristotle's predictions and was able to execute experiments into a coherent pattern and his systematic quantitative measurements created much firm evidence rather than Aristotle's qualitative descriptions. A well-known experiment Galileo executed was the dropping of a cannonball and a musket ball simultaneously from a tower. He observed that both objects hit the ground at nearly the same time. The fact that the cannonball, which is multiple times heavier than the musket ball, falling at almost the same time contradicted Aristotle's theory. This changed the course of scientific history and to this day, the accepted theory is that if an object of heavier mass and an object of a lighter mass is dropped at the same time, they fall at the exact same time (with exceptions of air resistance, etc.)

Aristotle’s theory was believed for close to 2000 years before Galileo proved his theory to be incorrect. This was because of the political and social norms of the day. The overflowing interest in the ways of nature and the universe brought about scientists and philosophers willing to crack the puzzles of the universe. However, the ideas presented by such people were mainly based amongst their own thought of logical reasoning. Some ideas were challenging the religious perspectives of the day. Religion which was a large part of politics and the ideas and theories presented created much dislike from the officials. The continual interest in the ideas taught by people like Socrates or Plato where thought to be ‘brainwashing’ young men and pulling them away from the religious and moral values of the time. Thus, they began discouraging such people to teach such ideas, killing Socrates to stop him. The pressure placed by politics and religion deterred further open observation in this area. It was only until the 16th Century when certain scientists began to project



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