Aristotle His Life, Works, And Influence

1223 words - 5 pages

What Greek philosopher and scientist shared with Plato and Socrates the title of being one of the most famous of Ancient philosophers? The largely influential Aristotle is the answer.Aristotle was born in Macedonia, the son of a physician to the royal court. When he turned 17, he went to Athens to study at Plato's Academy. He stayed there for about 20 years, as a student and then a teacher. After Plato died in 347 B.C., Aristotle moved to Assos, where a friend of his Hermias was a ruler. There he counseled Hermias and married his niece and adopted daughter, Pythias. He then moved to Pella, the Macedonian capital where he became the tutor of the king's son Alexander, later known as Alexander the Great. In 335, when Alexander became king, Aristotle returned to Athens and established his own school, the Lyceum. Upon the death of Alexander in 323 BC, strong anti-Macedonian feeling developed in Athens, and Aristotle retired to a family estate in Euboea. He died there the following year.The Works and Politics of AristotleThe majority of Aristotle's works that survive today are his lecture notes from his teaching at the Academy. These notes are for courses in almost every branch of knowledge and art. The works on which Aristotle's reputation rests are largely based on these lecture notes, which were collected and read by later editors. Among the texts are works on logic, called Organon. His works on natural science include Physics, whichGives a large amount of Information on astronomy, meteorology, plants, and animals. His writings on the nature and properties of being were given the title Metaphysics in the first published edition of his works, because in that edition they followed Physics. He dedicated his work on ethics, called Nicomachean Ethics, to his son Nicomachus. Other essential works include his Rhetoric, his Politics, and his Poetics.Maybe because of the influence of his father's medical profession, Aristotle's philosophy was focused on Biology, in contrast to Plato's emphasis on mathematics. Aristotle thought of the world as made up of individuals (substances) occurring in fixed natural kinds (species). Each individual has a specific pattern of development and grows toward self-realization as a specimen of its type. Growth, purpose, and direction are thus built into nature.One of Aristotle's contributions to Philosophy was a new notion of causality. Each thing or event, he thought, has more than one reason that helps to explain what, why, and where it is. Earlier Greek thinkers had thought that only one sort of cause can be really explanatory; Aristotle said there were four. These four causes are the material cause, the material of out a which a thing is made; the efficient cause, the source of motion, generation, or change; the formal cause, which is the species, kind, or type; and the final cause, the goal, or full development of an individual. For example, a young lion is made up of tissues and organs, its material cause; the efficient...

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