Aristotle Essay, Research Paper
Aristotle was perhaps the first and greatest of all polymaths, being credited with the founding of logic. He is said to have transformed every field of logic that he touched (apart from mathematics where Plato and Platonic thought remained supreme). He divided human knowledge into separate categories, which enabled our understanding of the world to develop in systematics fashion. Resulting in the modern world of science. Aristotelian thought has given rise to many philosophical questions that lead many modern day philosophers to wonder how dangerous the flaws are in our way of thinking as well as what the flaws are preventing us from learning.
Aristotle was born in 383 B.C. at ancient Stagira in Greek Macedonia. It was here that he lived with his father, Nicomachus, the personal physician to the King of Macedonia and the grandfather of Alexander the Great. Aristotle’s father was a rich man, owning many estates throughout Greece. Aristotle was brought up in an atmosphere of medical learning, until his father died.
After his father died, Aristotle was taken to Atarneus where he was brought up by his cousin. It was here that he blew the entire inheritance left to him by his father. He then returned to Stagira where he studies medicine. At the age of thirty-two he gave up all of his medical career and went to Athens to study under Plato.
Under Plato he intensely studied and established himself as the finest mind of his generation. Shortly after being a student under Plato, because he excelled greatly, he was asked to be a colleague of Plato. Because of the fact that Aristotle worshiped Plato and absorbed the Platonic doctrine, to begin with, he accepted as colleague under Plato. His own philosophy was later to be firmly grounded in the Platonic Doctrine. Because Aristotle was far to bright to be a mere “follower” of anyone, even Plato, he felt it his intellectual duty to point out any contradiction he discerned. This resulted in an irritated Plato, though they appeared not to have quarreled, evidence suggest that the two greatest minds of their time, found it politic to maintain certain distance.
Aristotle had a natural inclination toward the practical and the scientific, which led him to view Plato’s ideas from an increasingly realistic standpoint. Shifting away from Plato’s view that the particular world we perceive around us consist of mere appearances and the ultimate reality lies in a further world of ideas, Aristotle tended to have more of a scientific mind and became more convinced that he was living in the real. Aristotle saw forms more as essences embodied in the substance of the world, with no separate existence of their own. The contradictions in Aristotle’s words gave medieval scholars food for endless controversy arising from different interpretations of the two doctrines.
Aristotle also had a very profound understanding of politics, which he displayed in Athens when he Hernias, a Greek mercenary who took of a portion of Asia Minor, on the best way to go about making Atarneus a center of Greek culture. His political philosophy consist largely of an examination of the different types of state, and how best they can be run. Aristotle’s belief was that the purpose of state was to produce and support a class of cultured gentlemen, such as himself, although he understood that this was not always possible.
As Aristotle approached middle age, he fell in love. The object of his affection being a young girl by the name of Pythias. In Aristotle’s remarks of marriage, he announced that the best age to marry is 37 for a man and 18 for a women, surprisingly the age of both he and Pythias when they were married. Although Aristotle was said to be brilliant, imagination was obviously not his strong point. This makes it all the more ironic that in his Poetics, the Prosaic Aristotle sets out the most influential elucidation of poetry ever written. Aristotle had ver high regard for poetry, claiming that it was more important than history because it was more philosophical.
Later in his life, Aristotle became deeply interested in the classification of plants and animals. In his works on Nature, Aristotle attempted to discover a hierarchy of classes and species, but was overwhelmed by the volume of his research. He claimed that ” Nature does nothing in vain”. Aristotle was convinced that nature had a purpose and that each feature it possessed was there for a reason.
By age forty-two Aristotle was known as the leading intellectual throughout Greece.
Philip of Maecedon, invited Aristotle to tutor his young, unruly son Alexander. It was here that one of the finest minds the world has ever seen set about trying to educate the head strong young pupil, who during the three years under Aristotle learned absolutely nothing.
Aristotle’s most significant achievement was in the field of logic. Logic, as Aristotle came to see it, is the foundation on which all learning is based. Plato understood that knowledge could be discovered by dialect, Aristotle formalized this idea with his discovery of syllogism. Syllogism showed that “when certain things are stated, it can be shown that some other thing other than what is stated necessarily follows”.
Aristotle, in his late years, was forced to flee Athens in fear of facing the death penalty. This was on account of Alexander the Great’s death which aroused the resentment of the Athenians for being under Macedonian rule. Since Aristotle was born in Macedonia, he was arraigned on a charge of impiety. To prevent Athens from ” sinning twice against philosophy”, he fled to Chalkis where he would soon die.
After his death, his will portrays him as an essentially prosaic, decent man, his character utterly unwarped by being the vehicle of supreme genius. No doubt Aristotle was just that. He broadened the thought process of mankind to such an extent, that philosophers are still puzzled over his logic. He was indeed one of the finest minds the earth had ever seen.