Aristotle was the illustrious philosopher and scientist of Ancient Greece, a classic of universal philosophy, an encyclopedic spirit, founder of the peripatetic school, which laid the foundations of today’s philosophical thinking. Of course, at his philosophical school he cultivated intellect and less spiritual aspects, but he used his intuition to move beyond the mind and sometimes succeeded.
Aristotle was born in Stagira (which is why he is also called Stagirite), a town on the Chalkidiki peninsula in the northern Aegean Sea. He came from an aristocratic family. His father, Nicomah, was the physician of the King of Macedonia, Midas II, the father of Philip II and the grandfather of Alexander Macedon.
He was a student of Plato at the Athens Academy, to whom he joined at the age of 18 and remained until the age of 37. He synthesized and developed the knowledge accumulated during this time and laid the foundations of political science as a science in its own right.
He founded and synthesized philosophical fields such as: Metaphysics, Formal Logic, Rhetoric, Ethics. The Aristotelian form of natural sciences remained a paradigm for more than a millennium in Europe.
After Plato’s death, he left Athens to be the teacher of Alexander, son of Philip of Macedonia, who became the great commander.
This position gave him the opportunity to exert an important cultural influence. His vision differs from that of Plato, Aristotle being the follower of empiricism, thus of knowledge through his own perception. The multiplicity of his studies, as well as their novelty, have led to a huge influence on the development of numerous currents and philosophical ideas. He also created a library, which helped him a lot in his studies.
In metaphysics, Aristotelianism had great influences on the philosophical and theological louse-Islamic thinking of the Middle Ages and continues to influence Christian theology, especially in the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church.
After Alexander became king and conquered Athens, Aristotle returned to the city. In Athens, Plato’s Academy, now run by Xenocrates, still had an influence on Greek thinking. With Alexander’s permission, Aristotle founded his own school in Athens, called “Lyceum”.
Over time, his works became the basis of more than seven centuries of philosophy.
He was described as “the first scientific genius in history”.
His work led to the development of several sciences, such as physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theatre, music, rhetoric, linguistics, politics and governance.
His vast work encompassed works in several fields, laying the foundations of Western culture and thought. It was structured according to several criteria.
The main criterion on the basis of which his work was classified is based on the testimony of Plutarch, who transmitted an exchange of letters between Aristotle and Alexander Macedon. From these writings it reises that his work was divided into two categories:
- Internal texts – intended for pupils and school members
- External (exoteric) texts- intended for the public.
Cicero mentions that exoteric texts were definingly written, while esoteric texts remained in the form of notes, manuscripts. These were modified by Aristotle following discussions with his students. As is the case with ethics such as: ” Ethics Nicomahica“, “Ethics Eudemica” and “Magna Moralia“. There are three treaties that can be considered versions of the same work.
Esoteric or akromatic works
They are also called akromatic because they were considered works that had to be “listened to” (from the Greek “akroasis”, meaning “listening”).
These works are classified by their content in:
- Logic works (“The Oragon”)
- Works of theoretical philosophy (“Metaphysics”, “Physics”, “About the soul”, etc.)
- Works of moral-political philosophy (“Politics”, “Ethics Nicomahica”, “Eudemic Ethics”, etc.).
- Works of nature sciences (“History of Animals”, “About Animal Parts”, “About the Sky”, “Mechanics”, “Meteors”, etc.).
Exoteric works (pubince)
These are works written in the Platonic spirit, in the form of dialogues.
All these texts were lost, but fragments were reconstructed on the basis of subsequent quotations. Among these we can remember: The Sofist, the Banquet, Menexen, The Protreptic (partially reconstituted), Cratylos, Eudemos, About Rhetoric, About Justice, About Poets, About Health, About Education, About Pleasure.
Most have titles identical to those of Platonic dialogues. These are believed to have resulted from Aristotle’s desire to depart from Plato’s doctrine, which he sought to continue and develop, as Plato did to his master, Socrates.
Another classification was made according to the nature and authenticity of the preserved texts.
These texts are divided into three categories:
- Philosophical and scientific texts
- Texts of a helpful material (descriptions, notes, information collections), not systematized and not permanently redacted. This category includes: constitutions, collections of rhetorical techniques or descriptions of animals. Representative works in this field, which have been preserved are:“Constitution of the Athenians” and “History of Animals”.
- Collections of questions and answers.
Here we can recall the “Problematic “,which includes seminar-type talk.
Another classification would be the date of the study objective
Aristotle classifieds the sciences according to the type of knowledge, which can be knowledge: theoretical, practical and poetic.
- Theoretical sciences deal with themes that are considered to be separated from matter, such as theology, but also not separated from matter, physics, physics, or mathematics.
- Practical sciences refer to specific human activity. Here are the works: “Ethics”, “Economics and Politics”.
- It is the poetic sciences that involve creative activity ( “Poetics“)
One of the subjects he studied and dealt with in depth in his work was the economy.
In his economic writings, Aristotle also resorted to aspects of ethics in which he relies on people’s education so that they limit their unbridled desires for wealth. By adding an ethical dimension to the aspects analyzed, Aristotle gives rise to a philosophical system that still inspires today.
Thus, his main ideas of economic philosophy focus around the following ideas:
- Aristotle is in favor of an exchange economy, based on private property, on the grounds that people take better care of the personal good than the common good.
- Money is needed to overcome the shortcomings of the barter system.
- Money is seen as part of the legislative system, with Aristotle believing that monetary transactions must be strictly regulated by the law.
- Money has the advantage that it is a certainty of economic activity in the future, as it can be kept until a later transaction, as opposed to bartering.
- With regard to lending and interest activities, Aristotle declares himself against these practices, as he believes that money was invented as a means to facilitate economic exchanges, not to produce more money.
- In one of his main works, The Nihomahical Ethics, Aristotle considers the monopoly to be a means of exploiting the population, although he makes no explicit reference to the role of the competitive spirit.
Here are the most important quotations of Aristotle, which prove to us that he was one of the most brilliant thinkers of mankind:
1. “Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom.”
2. “Recognition ages rapidly”.
3. “There is no genius without a touch of madness.”.
4. “Educating the mind without that of the heart is not education at all”.
5. “Mastery is not a coincidence. It is the result of great desire, sincere effort and intelligent achievement; it is a wise choice from several possibilities: choice, not chance, determines our destiny.
6. “To avoid criticism does not say anything, do nothing, be nothing.”
7. “It is not enough to win a war; it is more important to maintain peace.”
8. “The pleasure of work leads to its perfection”.
9. “A generous person is the one who gives the right person the right thing at the right time”.
10. “Nothing weakens or destroys the human body as it lacks long physical activity”.
11″What is a friend? One soul living in two bodies.”
12. “Hope is a dream come true”.
13. “Happiness depends on ourselves”.
14. “Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the trajectory and the end of human existence”.
15. “Anyone can get upset, it’s very easy. But getting mad at the right person at the right time, for the right reason and in the right direction, is no longer a simple thing.”
16. “He who is friends with all is no one’s friend”.
17. “Those who educate children are worthy of more respect than those who give them life; therefore, in addition to life, give them to children and the art of living well, educating them.”
18. “The learned persons differ from the unlearned persons such as the living from the dead”.
19. “He who has overcome his fears will be truly free”.
20. “Those who know, do. Those who understand how it is done, teach others.”
21. “I believe that it is braver that he can overcome his desires than the one who defeats his enemies, for the hardest victory is upon us.”
22. “The greatest crimes are committed because of great desires and not because of basic necessities”.
23. “Poverty is the mother of revolution and lawlessness”.
24. “A high-ranking person should care more for the truth than with what people think.”
25. “All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, coerciveness, habit, mind, passion and desire”.
26. “Teachers who educate and teach children are more worthy of respect than parents; some only give us life, and others give us a good life.”
27. “In the dark moments of our lives we must focus on seeing the light.”
28. ‘The energy of the mind is the essence of life’.
29. “It is not always the same to be a good man and a good citizen”.
30. “He who cannot be a good follower cannot be a good leader”.
31. “He who has achieved perfection is above all animals; but it is inferior to all if it lives without law and justice.”
32. ‘All people by their nature tend towards knowledge’.
33. “The more you know, the more you realize you know too little”.
34. “To live is to accomplish certain things, not to acquire them”.
35. “Nature does nothing in vain”.
36. “All things in nature contain something wonderful”.
37. “Wise people only speak when they have something to say, fools speak because they have to say something”.
38. ‘The only stable state is that in which all citizens are equal before the law’.
39. “The roots of teaching are bitter, but the fruits are sweet”.
40. “Life requires movement”.