The Aristotelian Explanation of the Halo

Apeiron 42 (4):325-357 (2009)
  Copy   BIBTEX


For an Aristotelian observer, the halo is a puzzling phenomenon since it is apparently sublunary, and yet perfectly circular. This paper studies Aristotle's explanation of the halo in Meteorology III 2-3 as an optical illusion, as opposed to a substantial thing (like a cloud), as was thought by his predecessors and even many successors. Aristotle's explanation follows the method of explanation of the Posterior Analytics for "subordinate" or "mixed" mathematical-physical sciences. The accompanying diagram described by Aristotle is one of the earliest lettered geometrical diagrams, in particular of a terrestrial phenomenon, and versions of it can still be found in modern textbooks on meteorological optics.

Author's Profile

Monte Johnson
University of California, San Diego


Added to PP

1,861 (#4,206)

6 months
291 (#5,651)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?