Aristotle - Biography

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Raphael portrays two of Greece's great philosophers as the focal point of his masterpiece The School of Athens. Aristotle has his hand pointing straight out as if he is declaring to Plato that truth is found right here around us. Aristotle was an excellent teacher who is considered to be the prince of philosophy and one of the world's most influential thinkers of all time. Aristotle was born in 384 B.C at Stragyra in Thrace, on the north coast of the Aegean Sea. This was fifteen years after the death of Socrates and three years after the founding of Plato's Academy. His father was the court physician and friend of King Amyntas of Macedonia. It is likely that Aristotle's great interest in biology and science, in general, was nurtured in his early childhood. At the age of seventeen, Aristotle moved to Athens and enrolled in Plato's Academy as a student of philosophy. He studied for over twenty years at the Academy until Plato died in 348 B.C. Throughout his time at the Academy, Aristotle became one of the top scientist and philosophers, and though he studied under Plato, he was not a Platonist. In fact, he would later criticize Plato and his various doctrines. After the mourning of Plato's death had subsided, Speusippus seized power of the Academy. At this time Aristotle quickly left Athens and lived for a time in Assos and Mytilen where he was able to write, research, and teach. He did return, for a time, to Macedonia to tutor Philip's son Alexander at his request. By the age of forty-nine, Aristotle had traveled back to Athens to found a school. Many historians believe this is when Aristotle began the most productive period of his life. His school was named the Lyceum, named after the groves where Socrates went to think and which was the sacred domain of Apollo Lyceus. The Lyceum had a fine library, an extensive collection of maps, and a zoo where Aristotle preformed much of his zoological research. . The school was located close to a long covered walk called in the greek peripatos. Aristotle would take his students on this long covered walkway where he conducted much of his teaching as they strolled along pondering many philosophical questions. As a result of this method of teaching, the students of the Lyceum were commonly referred to as peripatetics. Aristotle was only in Athens for twelve years when it was necessary for him to leave for political reasons to save his life. In 322 B.C. Aristotle died and his library was passed on to his successor, Theophratus. Aristotle is regarded as the first truly cosmopolitan thinker. He was interested in a plethora of subjects and gave significant contribution to many of them. He composed major studies of logic, ethics, and metaphysics. Today he is best renown for his work the Metaphysics and the Nichomachean Ethics. In addition to these major studies he also wrote on epistemology, physics, biology, meteorology, dynamics, mathematics, psychology, rhetoric, dialectics, aesthetics, politics, and philosophy. Choose any field of research and Aristotle probably studied it, select an area of human reason and he probably theorized on it. If all of his writings were published today they would fill fifty large volumes in print. Unfortunately, over the last two thousand years many of his writings have been lost. Only one fifth of his writings have endured time. What has been preserved are what many believe are Aristotle's lecture notes and notes of his students that were not meant to be printed. These rough notes have been edited in a cut paste fashion in order to try to make sense of Aristotle's profound thought. Aristotle philosophy is a development of Plato's philosophy. Aristotle respected Plato but rejected the dualism that Plato passionately embraced and taught his pupils. Plato's primary reality of the unchanging world existed separately from the world of particular things. Aristotle believed he was able to avoid this ambiguous...
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