Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on TwitterThe Aristotle atomic theory may not be a concept that the great man is really remembered for. He disagreed with the prevailing theories of the time. He wan not able to see how atoms could stay in perpetual motion in a void. He developed a theory that was based on the four elements.
Aristotle’s theory made a great generalization off all matter being made of the four elements: fire, water, earth, and air. He also believed that there were four qualities to these elements: dryness, hotness, coldness, and moistness. Based on these beliefs fire would hold the characteristics of being dry and hot, water is wet and cold, air is hot and wet, while the earth is dry and cold.
In the Aristotle model there were two forces: conflict and harmony. So, each of the elements move naturally in a line to their “proper place,” where it will be at rest. Therefore, conflict was thought to cause bad things, and harmony good things. Superior and in ways ruling these other elements, Aristotle believed was a fifth element called aither which solely comprised the heavens.
As strange as this theory may seem now, it was used for nearly two thousand years before the scientific revolution was able to sweep it aside. Try this article about the philosophy of matter. Here on Universe Today we have a great article about atomic theory. Astronomy Cast offers a good episode that takes a look inside the atom.