Aristotle philosophy

Aristotle philosophy. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BC) is commonly regarded as the greatest polymath of the classical period. Plato taught him, and he founded the Lyceum, the Peripatetic school of philosophy, and the Aristotelian tradition. 

Aristotle philosophy
Aristotle philosophy

In addition to physics, biology, zoology, mathematics, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theatre, music, rhetoric, psychology, linguistics, economics, politics, meteorology, geology, and government, he wrote extensively on a wide spectrum of subjects. 

In his work, Aristotle synthesized the various philosophies existing prior to his time. Most of the West’s intellectual lexicon, as well as problems and methods of inquiry, derived from his teachings. Consequently, his philosophy has exerted an incredible influence on almost every form of knowledge in the West, and it continues to be a subject of contemporary philosophical debates.

It was primarily from his teachings that the Western intellectual lexicon, as well as problems and methods of inquiry, was derived. He has therefore exerted an immense influence on virtually every form of knowledge in the West, and his philosophy continues to be an important topic of philosophical discussion today.

There is little information about his life. Stagira is a city in Northern Greece where Aristotle was born. Aristotle’s father, Nicomachus, died when he was a child, and he was raised by a guardian. He joined Plato’s Academy in Athens at the age of seventeen or eighteen and remained there until he was thirty-seven (c. 347 BC).

Aristotle left Athens shortly after Plato’s death and began tutoring Alexander the Great in 343 BC at the request of Philip II of Macedon. The library he established in the Lyceum was instrumental in helping him write many of the hundreds of books he authored on papyrus scrolls. While Aristotle wrote many elegant treatises and dialogues for publication, only about a third of his original output has survived, none of which were intended for publication.

The medieval scholarship was profoundly influenced by Aristotle’s views. The early Middle Ages and the Renaissance were marked by the influence of physical science, which was not effectively replaced until the Enlightenment and the development of theories such as classical mechanics. In the 19th century, Aristotle’s zoological observations, such as his observations of the octopus’ reproductive arm (hectocotylus), were disbelieved. 

During the Middle Ages, he also had an impact on Judeo-Islamic philosophies (800-1400), as well as Christian theology, especially Neoplatonism. Medieval Muslim scholars revered Aristotle as “The First Teacher”, while medieval Christians such as Thomas Aquinas referred to him as “The Philosopher”, while the Italian poet Dante called him “the master of those who know”.

He is credited with being the first to formalize logic in his works, and his works were studied by medieval scholars such as Peter Abelard and John Buridan.


Aristotle was an ancient Greek philosopher and scientist who influenced Western intellectual history for two millennia. Stagira was his birthplace in 384 BCE, and Chalcis was his death place in 322 BCE. Alexander the Great’s grandfather, Amyntas III court physician, was his father.

In 367, he enrolled at the Academy of Plato in Athens and stayed there for twenty years. In 348/347, after his death, Plato returned to Macedonia, becoming Alexander’s instructor. His own school was established in 335 in Athens, the Lyceum. His intellectual horizons were broad, encompassing the majority of sciences and many arts.

Aristotle studied physics, chemistry, biology, zoology, and botany in addition to psychology, political theory, and ethics as well as logic, metaphysics, as well as history, literary theory, and rhetoric.

Until the 20th century, his observations of zoology and the development of formal logic were unsurpassed, and he invented a perfected system, also known as syllogistic, that was the sum of science until the 20th century.

Philosophical debates continue to be influenced by his ethical and political philosophy, particularly his conceptions of ethical virtue and human flourishing (“happiness”). He wrote numerous works on natural history and science, including The Organon, De Anima (“On Soul”), Physics, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, Eudemian Ethics, The Magna Moralia, Politics, Rhetoric, and Poetics.

Aristotle’s philosophy of self

There is no doubt that Aristotle differed from Plato in his view of what a human being is at its most fundamental and essential. In many of Plato’s dialogues, he argued that the soul of a human being is both the reason and the intellect that are distinct from the body.

On the other hand, Aristotle believed that a human is a composite of body and soul and that the soul cannot be separated from the body.

Philosophically, Aristotle constructed his philosophy of self in terms of hylomorphism in which the soul of a human being is the structure of the human body, i.e., the functional organization that allows humans to perform various aspects of life, such as growth, nutrition, reproduction, perception, imagination, desire, and thinking.


Following are the contributions of Aristotle:

  • He invented the categorical syllogism
  • Founder of zoology
  • The classification of living things
  • Contributions to physics
  • Influences on the History of Psychology
  • Ethics
  • Advances in meteorology
  • Aristotelianism
  • Politics
  • Poetics

Aristotle’s philosophy of education 

His scientific explorations were as wide-ranging as his philosophical speculations were profound; he was a teacher who inspired generations of pupils; he was a controversial public figure who lived a turbulent life in turbulent times. Antiquity was ruled by him as if he were a colossus of intellectual night.  Before him, no one had made such a significant contribution to learning. It is impossible to match his accomplishments

Only a few fragments of his On Education have survived, but we can get an idea of his ideas from the surviving works. In Aristotle’s view, education was central – a fulfilled person was educated. I would like to focus here on those aspects of his thinking that are still relevant to theorizing informal education.

In the first place, his work demonstrates the importance of incorporating a philosophy of life into educators’ thinking and practices. The moral and political must be deeply ingrained in educators. It is essential to ask what makes for human flourishing. We should act in accordance with this principle to strive for that which is good or ‘right’, rather than merely ‘correct’.

In addition, like many others of his era, he put a great deal of emphasis on ‘balanced’ growth. A person’s body, mind, and soul were supposed to be developed by physical activity, music, debate, and the study of science and philosophy. As Plato before him, he observed lifelong learning – but with varying emphasis according to age.

Third, he considered habitual and logical education. In Book II, p.91, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, says, “Looking at what we do, we learn by doing it.” This is a reference to, “We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, and courageous by doing courageous deeds.”

Such learning is augmented with reason, which includes teaching the reasons behind things. Here, we see a link to modern theorists who emphasize experience, reflection, and linking theories.”

Aristotle left us a long-standing classification of disciplines into theoretical, practical, and technical elements, which is related to the previous point. From Aristotle onwards, education has placed a constant emphasis on contemplation as the highest form of human activity.

However, his concern for the practical – and for practical logic – has been picked up by a number of authors. There is evidence of this in the work of Carr and Kemmis (1986) and Grundy (1987), who argue for a focus on process and practice in education. Jeffs and Smith (1990; 1994, 1996) have also used informal education to reformulate formal education.

The bequest of Aristotle is not without problem. Many of his ideas are disturbing, as well as the way in which subordinated groups are excluded from educational benefits. Nevertheless, many educators find that studying his ideas is deeply rewarding.

Ethics: Aristotle philosophy

According to Aristotle, ethics is more of a practical than a theoretical study, that is, one that aims to become good rather than acquire knowledge for its own sake. In addition to his Nicomachean Ethics, he wrote several other ethical treatises.

According to Aristotle, virtue is a result of a thing’s proper function (ergon). Because the only proper function of an eye is to see, it can only be considered a good eye if it is able to see. According to Aristotle, humans must have a function unique to them and that function must be a function of the soul (psychos) according to reason (logos).

Such a virtuous medium (between excess and deficiency) of the soul is what Aristotle identified as the ideal of all deliberate human action, eudaimonia, generally translated as “happiness” or “well-being”. A good character, often translated as moral or ethical virtue or excellence, is necessary to be able to ever be happy in this way.

According to Aristotle, to develop a virtuous and potentially happy character, one must be habituated, not deliberately, but by teachers, and experience, before consciously choosing to do good.

By living life this way, those who aspire to be the best develop their practical wisdom (phronesis) and their intellect (nous) in concert, making them ideal for finding the highest form of wisdom, that of an accomplished philosopher, a theoretical or speculative thinker.

Read also: Subduction and obduction similarities and differences; What is subduction?; Aristotle’s rhetorical triangle; Aristotle politics; Aristotle psychology; Aristotle’s Rhetoric

External resource: Wikipedia

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