Single Idea 13223

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 6. Early Matter Theories / f. Ancient elements]

Full Idea

The four couples of elementary qualities attach themselves to the apparently 'simple' bodies (Fire, Air, Earth, Water). Fire is hot and dry, whereas Air is hot and moist (being a sort of aqueous vapour); Water is cold and moist, and Earth is cold and dry.

Gist of Idea

Fire is hot and dry; Air is hot and moist; Water is cold and moist; Earth is cold and dry


Aristotle (Coming-to-be and Passing-away (Gen/Corr) [c.335 BCE], 330b02)

Book Reference

Aristotle: 'The Basic Works of Aristotle', ed/tr. McKeon,Richard [Modern Library Classics 2001], p.511

A Reaction

This is the traditional framework accepted throughout the middle ages, and which had a huge influence on medicine. It all looks rather implausible now. Aristotle was a genius, but not critical enough about evidence.