The Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy Newsletter

Document Type


Publication Date



One of the most influential of Aristotle's ideas, the idea that the heavenly bodies consist of a fifth element distinct from the four earthly elements (earth, water, air, and fire) is widely believed to have been introduced to the world for the first time in Aristotle's lost dialogue De Philosophia. This assumption has created a host of problems which have not yet been solved.


David Hahm presented “The Fifth Element in Aristotle’s De Philosophia: A Critical Reexamination” to the Society at its meeting with the American Philological Association in Cincinnati in 1971. A revised version was published in Journal of Hellenic Studies 1982, reprinted in John P. Anton & Anthony Preus, eds.1983. Essays in Ancient Greek Philosophy, vol. 2. SUNY, 404-428. THE AUTHOR WOULD LIKE TO ENCOURAGE READERS TO CONSULT THAT VERSION, AVAILABLE ONLINE AT

For information about the author see