We know that only a portion of the works of Aristotle survived even into the Middle Ages. We have second hand comments of works of Aristotle that we no longer can access. For example Cicero spoke of Aristotelian dialogues which were on a par with those of his mentor Plato. Even so, we cannot take these second hand comments as canonical.
So, as a practical matter we must accept the received Aristotle as the only Aristotle we can be sure about. We are stuck with his Cliff Notes . Most likely these were transcribed from his lectures by his teaching assistants. The Aristotle I reference is the same (received) Aristotle that Ayn Rand learned.
It is absolutely useless to speculate what the "real" Aristotle "really" thought. That is lost to us, and barring a very unlikely and lucky break such as the one that revealed Archimedes -Method- to us, it is not going to get any better.
For future reference, any comment I make about Aristotle is about the received Aristotle, the only one we have to hand. In so far as we have reference to his works (partial as they may be) the indications are that the lessons retained from Aristotle on motion are WRONG. The writings given to us are a mistaken, WRONG theory of matter and motion. It is unfortunate for the world that this is the lesson that was carried on for over a thousand years. Progress in the natural sciences was inhibited by the received Aristotle and his enthralled followers. It was not until the late 17th century c.e. that the last dregs and dross of Aristotelian teachings on motion were purged from natural science. Free at last!
The "real" Aristotle vs the received Aristotle
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