Monday, March 07, 2011

Died This Day: St. Thomas Aquinas

Thomas (born c. 1225 - March 7, 1274) Italian theologian who wrote commentaries on Aristotle. Following Aristotle's definition of science as sure and evident knowledge obtained from demonstrations, Thomas defined science as the knowledge of things from their causes. In his major work, Summa, he distinguished between demonstrated truth (science) and revealed truth (faith).

In some natural science he was insightful, such as: "In the same plant there is the two-fold virtue, active and passive, though sometimes the active is found in one and the passive in another, so that one plant is said to be masculine and the other feminine." In Summa , however, he made the erroneous observation that metals are formed by rays from the Sun, Moon, and planets, each governing a particular metal. From Today In Science History.