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Aristotle was a Greek philosopher, logician, and scientist. Along with his teacher Plato, Aristotle is generally regarded as one of the most influential ancient thinkers in a number of philosophical fields, including political theory.
Aristotle was born in 384 BC in Stagira in northern Greece. Aristotle came from a family of physicians and he received training and education that inclined his mind towards the study of nature phenomena. Aristotle’s father died when he was young boy and his guardian Proxenus raised him. Proxenus sent him to study at Plato’s academy in Athens. Aristotle stayed at the academy for twenty years until Plato’s death in 347 B.C. Aristotle was supposed to succeed Plato as head of the academy but Aristotle didn’t because he had different theories then Plato.
After Aristotle left Plato’s academy he went and lived with his friend Hermeas, ruler of Atarneus and Assos in Mysia. Aristotle stayed there for three years during which time he married Pythias, the niece of the king. After her death Aristotle also married Herpyllis and he had a son, which he named after his father. Hermeias fell under the control of the Persians, and refusing to betray his friends under torture, he was killed. After Aristotle’s dear friend Hermeias died Aristotle moved to Mytilene where he doubtless engaged in biological research. King Amyntas asked Aristotle to tutor his son Alexander. Aristotle tutored Alexander for five years until king Amyntas died and Alexander came to power. During the time before King Amyntas died Aristotle introduced his nephew Callisthenes to Alexander but warned him to be careful of what he said. Though Alexander later took Callisthenes to Asia where he collected research materials, Callisthenes was eventually suspected by Alexander of plotting against him with Hermolaus: he was confined to an iron cage in which he became infested with vermin before being thrown to a lion.
In 323 BC Alexander the great died unexpectedly and anti-Macedonian forces overthrew the government of Athens. Aristotle had close connections with the Macedonian royal family. Aristotle was associated with the Macedonians and was unpopular with the new ruling powers. The new government brought charge of impiety against Aristotle, but he fled to his country house in Chalcis in Euboea to escape prosecution. Aristotle commented that he fled so that “ the Athenians might not have another opportunity of sinning against philosophy as they had already done in the person of Socrates.” Alone there he wrote Antipater that he had become fonder of myths.
In 335 BC Aristotle went back to Athens and found out that the academy was flourishing under Xenocrates. Aristotle opened his own academy, the Lyceum, he ran it for twelve years. Some people called Aristotle’s academy The Peripatetic School because he walked around and discussed his ideas with the colleagues. Peripatetic are “ people who walk around.” For the next thirteen years he devoted his energies to his teaching and composing his philosophical treatises. He is said to have given two kinds of lectures: the more detailed discussions in the morning for an inner circle of advanced students, and the popular discourses in the evening for the general body lovers of knowledge. At this Aristotle wrote extensively on a wide rage of politics, metaphysics, ethics, logic and science. Aristotle agreed with Plato that the cosmos is rationally designed and that philosophy can come to know absolute truths by studying universal forms. Their ideas went in different direction but in that Aristotle thought that the one finds the universal in particular things, while Plato believed the universal exists apart from particular things, and that material things are only a show of true reality, which exists in the place of ideas and forms. The differences between the two philosophers is that Plato thought only pure mathematical reasoning was necessary, and therefore focused on the metaphysics and mathematics, Aristotle, on the other hand, thought that in addition to this “ First Philosophy,” it is also necessary to undertake detailed empirical investigations of nature, and thus study what he called “ second philosophy,” which includes such subjects as physics, mechanics and biology.
The life of Aristotle was spent in a period which he seemed confused and dim to historians who have learned from Demosthenes to see it as the time of the loss of Greek liberties and
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Ancient Greek philosophers, Ancient Greek mathematicians, Aristotelianism, Aristotle, Empiricists, Theophrastus, Peripatetic school, Nicomachean Ethics, Ancient Greek philosophy, Metaphysics, Organon, Plato
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