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Aristotle’s life Research Paper

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Updated: Sep 2nd, 2021

Aristotle is considered to be one of the greatest Greek philosophers that ever lived according to the Encyclopedia of Classical philosophy (1997).

He lived between 384 B.C. and 322 B.C. having accomplished a lot in philosophy and all other fields of Education. At the age of seven, he joined Plato’s academy where he became one of his favorite student. He later on became a researcher then a teacher in the same institution. In his life, he taught Alexander the Great who at the time was thirteen years of age, at the invitation of his father King Phillip II.

This great philosopher was born in a town called Stageira in Chalcidice. Later on at the age of eighteen, he moved to Athens to study and this became his home for the next twenty years, after which he moved to Asia after the death of Plato where he concentrated in the study of biology at Lesbos Island. In fact, Meet the Philosophers of Ancient Greece (2005) indicates that he conducted most of his research in this period.

There are a number of significant events which took place during the times of Aristotle and which had an impact in his life. In Athens where he had lived for almost twenty years, there was the anti-Macedonia uprising around 347 B.C. which led to a series of political unrests. Being of Macedonian origin, he was forced to flee the country as indicated in The Columbia Encyclopedia (2008). Later on, King Philip came to power and restored peace between Macedonia and Athens, a gesture that saw to the return of peace. In 323 B.C. however, the political unrest revived again after the rule of Alexander the Great came to an end. Aristotle was considered to be a great sympathizer of Alexander and these latter revolts were directly focused on him. He was charged with blasphemy and forced to flee the country together with his family (Bryant 1996).

With the help of other scholars, Aristotle was able to establish his own school, the Lyceum which was later renamed to Peripatetic. According to the Encyclopedia of classical philosophy (1997), Alexander the Great who was one of Aristotle’s students “financed his research in Peripatetic and had ordered hunters, fishermen, bird-catchers, beekeepers and other professionals to convey to Aristotle any information of scientific interest” (pg 1).

The coming down of Alexander’s reign had negative effects to the life of Aristotle since it caused a security threat forcing him to flee (Bechler 1995). Besides this the death of Plato also caused a major turn of events in the life of Aristotle. This owes to the fact that he left the Academy and started working on his own philosophical dissertations.

After fleeing Athens in 323 BC, Aristotle’s life came to an end in 322 BC after an ailment of the digestive organs (Bar and Bat 1994). His work was considered as the most influential in the world of philosophy and was widely used between the period of antiquity and renaissance. He had a great influence in the western world especially with regards to social sciences and humanities and some of the ideas he developed are still debatable to date.

Aristotle was famous for a number of philosophical theories some of which survived while others were faced out. According to the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (1999), a majority of his work was geared towards the public and it is believed that Plato played a big role in these writings.

There are however others which are historical in nature such as the Constitution of the Athenians, a piece that was used by his students in the study of political theories. Despite the fact that most of his writings got lost, the ones that survived are still considered the best writings of the time (Anton, George and Anthony 1971).

One of Aristotle’s most famous theories was the metaphysics. In this theory, he argues that “all investigation must begin with what the senses record and must move only from that point to thought” (Stern 1995, pg 4). The term metaphysics is directly interpreted to ‘what comes after physics’.

According to the Cambridge dictionary of philosophy, there were two conditions to this theory. The first one indicated that objects which were widely known needed to exist separately from the non-sensible objects. The second condition on the other hand had it that the objects which were known were just a generalization of objects.

The other theory developed by Aristotle was that of Practical philosophy. This was stipulated in two of his works namely the Nicomachean Ethics and the politics. The main aim of this was to bring out the best actions in issues related to conduct (Ferrarin 2001). As a result of this, he developed the Nicomachean Ethics as a reminder of the principle of becoming good and not just knowing what is good.

In this philosophy, he went ahead to explain that good people made that choice at one point or the other and not just the actions but the right way of performing those actions as well. He explained different types of individuals; the akratic being one who decides to act contrary to what they know is right out of desire while the enkratic despite feeling like they want to act contrary decide to take the right action.

Another philosophical theory that was brought forth by Aristotle was that of psychology. One of his writings, on the soul provided a universal interpretation of the nature and quantity of cognitive faculties principles of the soul. Other writings such as the Parva naturalia made use of the universal theory to a wide variety of psychological occurrences ranging from sleeping, dreaming and waking to memory and reminiscence (Bryant 1996).

He went ahead and subdivided the capacity to perform different actions into either potentiality or actuality. He explained potentiality as an inborn characteristic in an organism by virtue of it belonging to a specific species. Actuality on the other hand is gained through training and experience in that particular field.

The ideas developed by Aristotle were unique in their own ways. In the development of his theories he tried to bring the natural way of occurrences in to the thinking and actions of living creatures and specifically humans. As a result of this, his theories were subject to less disapproval since they were self-supportive.

The other significant element about these theories was that they remained relevant long afterwards, owing to his extensive research in the different fields. This implies that his ideas were viable in a way that has not been countered by any other scholars so far.

The philosophical ideas and theories developed by Aristotle were mainly influenced by his predecessors such as Socrates and Plato. Plato was his teacher earlier in life and he got an inspiration in mathematics while in the academy. He however opposed some of the speculations made by Plato but later on came to understand these ideas and incorporated some of them in his theories.

The other great influence to the development of Aristotle’s theories was Socrates who died long before Aristotle was born and who also happened to be Plato’s teacher (Essentials of Philosophy and Ethics 2006). Socrates was among the original authors of Greek philosophies and made a great contribution to the development of ethics as a discipline. Aristotle built his theory of ethics on this hence making Socrates an important figure in his work.

The philosophical theories developed by Aristotle acted as the main guidelines to human living at the time. These philosophies played a major role in ensuring co-existence in a place where there were no laid down rules. The theory on ethics for example ensured that people were able to develop behavioral habits that were less of a bother to other people around them. These theories also had an impact on the future since they formed the foundation of the present day education system (Bodaeeus 1993).

Other scholars who came after Aristotle were developing their theories from what Aristotle had already researched on. He also pioneered the issue of gender equality by insisting that women needed to be happy just like their male counterparts. Some of the people who were directly influenced by Aristotle include Aristoxenus, Harpalus, Nichomacus and Dicaerchus among others, all of whom were students at the Lyceum.

Works Cited

Anton, John Peter, George L. Kustas, and Anthony Preus. Essays In Ancient Greek Philosophy. n.p.: State University of New York Press, 1971. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web.

“Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.).” Encyclopedia of Classical Philosophy. Westport: Greenwood, (1997). Credo Reference. Web.

“Aristotle (384 – 322 B.C.).” The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, (1999). Credo Reference. Web.

“Aristotle (384–322 BCE).” The Essentials of Philosophy and Ethics. Abingdon: Hodder Education, (2006). Credo Reference. Web.

“Aristotle.” The Columbia Encyclopedia. New York: Columbia University Press, (2008). Credo Reference. Web.

Bar On and Bat Ami. Engendering Origins: Critical Feminist Readings In Plato And Aristotle. n.p.: State University of New York Press, 1994. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web.

Bechler, Zeafer. Aristotle’s Theory Of Actuality. n.p.: State University of New York Press, 1995. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web.

Bodaeeus, Richard. The Political Dimensions Of Aristotle’s Ethics. n.p.: State University of New York Press, 1993. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web.

Bryant, Joseph M. Moral Codes And Social Structure In Ancient Greece : A Sociology Of Greek Ethics From Homer To The Epicureans And Stoics. n.p.: State University of New York Press, 1996. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web.

Ferrarin, Alfredo. Hegel And Aristotle. n.p.: Cambridge University Press, 2001. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web.

“Introduction.” Meet the Philosophers of Ancient Greece. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, (2005). Credo Reference. Web.

Stern-Gillet, Suzanne. Aristotle’s Philosophy Of Friendship. n.p.: State University of New York Press, 1995. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web.

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