Philosophy of Aristotle

02.05.2015 |

Episode #6 of the course “Brief history of Ancient philosophy”

Aristotle was one of the greatest thinkers of the ancient world and is known for his many achievements, including founding the Lyceum and tutoring the Macedonian king, Alexander the Great. Born in 384 BCE, Aristotle became a student of Plato and eventually produced writings ranging from theories of theater, music, and linguistics to some of the first scientific studies in zoology, biology, and politics. A philosopher in the purest sense, Aristotle was a man who valued knowledge and human logic, which shows throughout his works.

As the founder of the Western world’s formal study of logic, Aristotle’s theories led the greatest thinkers in all Western philosophy until the Renaissance and impacted every theorist, scientist, and artist who came after him. His philosophy emphasized logic, reason, and a testable process as the methods to knowledge, and he denied Plato’s theories about ideal forms and abstractions. He was concerned with reality he could observe and measure rather than intangible concepts that don’t physically exist.

Aristotle believed in a highly-classified and organized nature of reality, and he broke the world into systems that operated under specific principles. He then argued that these systems, like mathematics and biology, could be logically dissected, studied, replicated, and perhaps manipulated. He argued that the elements of the world were not only earth, air, fire, and water, but also aether—a kind of divine matter that makes up celestial planets. Aristotle believed in moderation as the key to a balanced life. He advocated avoidance of all extremes in preference of a compromise between the two. He believed the soul was manifest in the actions of the body, so that by reasoning, people show themselves to have human souls.

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