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Aristotle

Aristotle Altemps Inv8575.jpg
Roman copy in marble of a Greek bronze bust of Aristotle by Lysippos, c. 330 BC, with modern alabastermantle

Born

384 BC
Stagira, Chalkidiki, Chalcidian League, Northern Greece

Died

322 BC
Euboea, Greece, Macedonian Empire

Era

Ancient philosophy

Region

Western philosophy

School

  • Peripatetic school
  • Aristotelianism

Main interests

  • Biology
  • Zoology
  • Psychology
  • Physics
  • Metaphysics
  • Logic
  • Ethics
  • Rhetoric
  • Music
  • Poetry
  • Economics
  • Politics
  • Government

Notable ideas

  • Aristotelian philosophy
  • Syllogism
  • Theory of the soul
  • Virtue ethics

Influences

    • Plato

Influenced

  • Virtually all subsequent Western philosophy, Christian philosophy and pre- Enlightenment science

Aristotle was an ancient Greek philosopher and scientist born in the city of Stagira, Chalkidiki, Greece. Along with Plato, he is considered the "Father of Western Philosophy". Aristotle provided a complex and harmonious synthesis of the various existing philosophies prior to him, including those of Socrates and Plato, and it was above all from his teachings that the West inherited its fundamental intellectual lexicon, as well as problems and methods of inquiry. As a result, his philosophy has exerted a unique influence on almost every form of knowledge in the West and it continues to be central to the contemporary philosophical discussion.

Little is known about his life. His father, Nicomachus, died when Aristotle was a child, and he was brought up by a guardian. At seventeen or eighteen years of age, he joined Plato's Academy in Athens and remained there until the age of thirty-seven . His writings cover many subjects – including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theatre, music, rhetoric, psychology, linguistics, economics, politics and government – and constitute the first comprehensive system of Western philosophy. Shortly after Plato died, Aristotle left Athens and, at the request of Philip II of Macedon, tutored Alexander the Great beginning in 343 BC. Teaching Alexander gave Aristotle many opportunities. He established a library in the Lyceum which helped him to produce many of his hundreds of books, which were papyrus scrolls. The fact that Aristotle was a pupil of Plato contributed to his former views of Platonism, but, following Plato's death, Aristotle immersed himself in empirical studies and shifted from Platonism to empiricism. He believed all concepts and knowledge were ultimately based on perception. Aristotle's views on natural sciences represent the groundwork underlying many of his works.

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Discover Aristotle Quotes and Sayings

He who has overcome his fears will truly be free. - Aristotle

He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.

Aristotle

philosopher freedom fear
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Aristotle

reputation
Bashfulness is an ornament to youth, but a reproach to old age. - Aristotle

Bashfulness is an ornament to youth, but a reproach to old age.

Aristotle

age
Education is the best provision for old age. - Aristotle

Education is the best provision for old age.

Aristotle

age best education
Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy. - Aristotle

Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy.

Aristotle

anger power time
The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. - Aristotle

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.

Aristotle

art
Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them for these only gave them life, those the art of living well. - Aristotle

Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.

Aristotle

art life
Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. - Aristotle

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

Aristotle

art
Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim. - Aristotle

Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim.

Aristotle

art good
Homer has taught all other poets the art of telling lies skillfully. - Aristotle

Homer has taught all other poets the art of telling lies skillfully.

Aristotle

art
It is Homer who has chiefly taught other poets the art of telling lies skillfully. - Aristotle

It is Homer who has chiefly taught other poets the art of telling lies skillfully.

Aristotle

art
Personal beauty is a greater recommendation than any letter of reference. - Aristotle

Personal beauty is a greater recommendation than any letter of reference.

Aristotle

beauty
At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice, he is the worst. - Aristotle

At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice, he is the worst.

Aristotle

best
My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake. - Aristotle

My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake.

Aristotle

best friendship
If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in government to the utmost. - Aristotle

If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in government to the utmost.

Aristotle

best equality government
The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances. - Aristotle

The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.

Aristotle

best life