Aristotle (384-322 BCE)

      Aristotle was, as Marx and many others have said, the greatest philosopher of antiquity. In opposition to Plato, who was the quintessential idealist philosopher, Aristotle had a much more down-to-earth approach; a much more empirical, or investigative approach to knowledge. However, that does not mean that he was always right about everything he said! As one little example, he claimed that women have fewer teeth than men, which no doubt was a quite satisfying conclusion for a product of a male-run noble class concerned to prove the inferiority of women and slaves. Exactly how Aristotle came to his conclusion that women have fewer teeth than men, I don't know. But perhaps it was like this:

Aristotle on the Superiority of Men as Shown by Their Teeth

"Open up wide!" said Aristotle to his wife,
And counted her teeth through her grin.
Thus he claimed to the very end of his life
That women have fewer teeth than do men.
Old Plato would surmise without looking at all
So Ari's approach was superior;
But his male bias led to a very bad call—
A wrong count of her oral interior.
    —JSH (3/98)

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