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Manual Plato and Aristotle: The Lives and Legacies of the Master and Pupil

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The reason is that this, most of all the senses, makes us know and brings to light many differences between things. Their legacies expanded rapidly and extensively across the ancient world, helped in part by the fact Aristotle tutored Alexander the Great, and both philosophers were recognized as celebrated intellectual forces during all of antiquity and the Middle Ages.

Furthermore, Greek thought and political influence began a rapid decline after Plato and Aristotle, and the cultivation of knowledge, so important during the classic period, slowly but surely began to fade. The longevity of the the two philosophers' legacies is matched only by the incredible breadth of their works. Plato and Aristotle covered everything from the soul and metaphysical issues to political philosophy, science and ethics, and while Plato was the champion of dialectics in the form of Socratic dialogues , Aristotle's works on rhetoric and language were seminal.

Simply put, Plato and Aristotle laid the foundation for Western philosophy and thought, and even to this day they remain foundations of knowledge for subsequent philosophers to rely on when forming and refining their own philosophies.

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Socrates, Plato , and Aristotle, whose lifetimes spanned a period of only about years, remain among the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy. Aristotle wrote as many as treatises and other works covering all areas of philosophy and science.

Plato and Aristotle: The Lives and Legacies of the Master and Pupil Audiobook

Of those, none survives in finished form. The naturally abbreviated style of these writings makes them difficult to read, even for philosophers. It eventually became the intellectual framework of Western Scholasticism , the system of philosophical assumptions and problems characteristic of philosophy in western Europe during the Middle Ages. In the 13th century St. Thomas Aquinas undertook to reconcile Aristotelian philosophy and science with Christian dogma, and through him the theology and intellectual worldview of the Roman Catholic Church became Aristotelian.

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He was the founder of formal logic , devising for it a finished system that for centuries was regarded as the sum of the discipline; and he pioneered the study of zoology, both observational and theoretical, in which some of his work remained unsurpassed until the 19th century.

But he is, of course, most outstanding as a philosopher. His writings in ethics and political theory as well as in metaphysics and the philosophy of science continue to be studied, and his work remains a powerful current in contemporary philosophical debate. For the later development of Aristotelian philosophy, see Aristotelianism.

Masters of Greek Thought: Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle

For treatment of Aristotelianism in the full context of Western philosophy , see philosophy, Western. Aristotle was born on the Chalcidic peninsula of Macedonia, in northern Greece. Like his master, Aristotle wrote initially in dialogue form, and his early ideas show a strong Platonic influence.

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His dialogue Eudemus , for example, reflects the Platonic view of the soul as imprisoned in the body and as capable of a happier life only when the body has been left behind. Everyone must do philosophy, Aristotle claims, because even arguing against the practice of philosophy is itself a form of philosophizing. The best form of philosophy is the contemplation of the universe of nature; it is for this purpose that God made human beings and gave them a godlike intellect. All else—strength, beauty, power, and honour—is worthless.

The former demonstrates how to construct arguments for a position one has already decided to adopt; the latter shows how to detect weaknesses in the arguments of others. Although neither work amounts to a systematic treatise on formal logic, Aristotle can justly say, at the end of the Sophistical Refutations , that he has invented the discipline of logic—nothing at all existed when he started.

The Athenians defended their independence only half-heartedly, and, after a series of humiliating concessions , they allowed Philip to become, by , master of the Greek world. It cannot have been an easy time to be a Macedonian resident in Athens. Within the Academy, however, relations seem to have remained cordial.

Ancient Greek Philosophy | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The word Form , when used to refer to Forms as Plato conceived them, is often capitalized in the scholarly literature; when used to refer to forms as Aristotle conceived them, it is conventionally lowercased. Plato had held that, in addition to particular things, there exists a suprasensible realm of Forms, which are immutable and everlasting. In his surviving works as well, Aristotle often takes issue with the theory of Forms, sometimes politely and sometimes contemptuously. In his Metaphysics he argues that the theory fails to solve the problems it was meant to address.

It does not confer intelligibility on particulars, because immutable and everlasting Forms cannot explain how particulars come into existence and undergo change. All the theory does, according to Aristotle, is introduce new entities equal in number to the entities to be explained—as if one could solve a problem by doubling it. See below Form. When Plato died about , his nephew Speusippus became head of the Academy, and Aristotle left Athens.

He migrated to Assus , a city on the northwestern coast of Anatolia in present-day Turkey , where Hermias , a graduate of the Academy, was ruler.


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Aristotle became a close friend of Hermias and eventually married his ward Pythias. Aristotle helped Hermias to negotiate an alliance with Macedonia, which angered the Persian king, who had Hermias treacherously arrested and put to death about While in Assus and during the subsequent few years when he lived in the city of Mytilene on the island of Lesbos , Aristotle carried out extensive scientific research, particularly in zoology and marine biology.


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  7. This work was summarized in a book later known, misleadingly, as The History of Animals , to which Aristotle added two short treatises , On the Parts of Animals and On the Generation of Animals. Although Aristotle did not claim to have founded the science of zoology, his detailed observations of a wide variety of organisms were quite without precedent.

    He—or one of his research assistants—must have been gifted with remarkably acute eyesight, since some of the features of insects that he accurately reports were not again observed until the invention of the microscope in the 17th century. Much of it is concerned with the classification of animals into genus and species; more than species figure in his treatises, many of them described in detail.