Philosophy can be incredibly dry at times, giving it a bad name. With all of its jargon, complex theories, and intricate history, philosophy is strictly scholarly, intimidating intellectuals, scaring away laypeople, and attracting very little attention, as most people prefer to stay away from the dense topic; what people tend to overlook, though, is that philosophy is not always boring, for philosophy is filled with humorous yet interesting anecdotes concerning famous philosophers. So, without further ado, I present part four of Philosophy Fun Facts, which will be a short series of quirky but educational fun facts about philosophers and philosophy.
The Life of Thomas Aquinas
Scholastic Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Christianized Aristotle’s thought in his magnum opus Summa Theologica. Like many of the Medieval philosophers, Aquinas sought to align Greek thought with Christian theology. His family, however, did not approve of his decision to become a friar. In an attempt to thwart his conversion, his family kept him prisoner in their castle for a year. Still, Aquinas would not falter, so his brothers hired a prostitute, whom Aquinas fended off with a poker. On his way to Rome, riding on his donkey, Aquinas hit a branch, which led, eventually, to his death.
Paracelsus (1493-1541) was a Renaissance philosopher who specialized in alchemy and astrology. An iconoclast, Paracelsus rejected the Greco-Roman science that Aristotle and Claudius Galen had lain down and pursued instead more mystical topics. A lesser known fact about Paracelsus is that it is with him that we find one of the first documented mentions of the element Zinc.
For further reading:
501 Things You Should Have Learned About Philosophy by Alison Rattle (2012)
1001 Ideas That Changed the Way We Think by Robert Arp (2013)
The Essentials of Philosophy by James Mannion (2006)
The Twilight of the Idols by Friedrich Nietzsche (1888)
The Dream of Reason by Anthony Gottlieb (2000)
History of Philosophy by Julian Marias (1967)