Influence of Aristotle to Dante Alighieri Is Prevailent in His Works

Topics: Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Monarchy Pages: 10 (3584 words) Published: September 7, 2012

In partial fulfillment
Of the Requirement in
English IV

Dante continually refers to Aristotle as the “master” or the “great philosopher” in most of his non-fictional works like the De Monarchia. The foundation of Dante’s philosophy is said to be founded from the teachings of St. Aquinas and St. Augustine because Dante’s idea of a universal ruler is based from St. Aquinas’ idea “that the church exercises its authority over kings and princes” and St. Augustine’s idea that “the church approximates and mystically reflects the city of God in the afterlife”. Although Dante always referred to Aristotle as the greatest philosopher and used his ideas quite often, Dante’s beliefs deviate from that of Aristotle in different fields. This deviation may have come as Dante had several other philosophers before him like St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine to base some of his ideas from whereas Aristotle had only his teacher Plato, Socrates and a handful of philosophers to source his ideas from. In this respect, Dante can be rightfully being named the heir of Aristotle just as Aristotle is heir to Plato and Plato is to Socrates. Dante’s unique approach to philosophy and how he managed to based his ideas on several philosophers before him yet still retain the uniqueness of his work fascinated the researcher and inspired him to seek how Dante had derived his ideas from the great philosopher Aristotle and how he developed Aristotle’s ideas as one of his own. Readers are expected to discover how Dante used Aristotle ideas and how Dante derived unique ideas from them and how Dante managed to innovate and develop Aristotle’s ideas as one of his own through a deep analysis of every idea of Dante whose foundation is derived directly or indirectly to Aristotle. The researcher created an analytical paper that featured this connection and expounded mainly on how Dante “dantenized” the ideas of Aristotle.

1. Dante’s adoption of Aristotle’s concept that state is the highest form of association in his concept of the universal monarch 2. The contrast between the universal judicial monarch and Aristotle’s absolute monarch 3. The contrast between the qualifications of the monarch in accordance to the writings of Dante and Aristotle 4. Aristotle belief in the role of profit motive in spurring collective progress and Dante’s treatise on the role of liberty in supporting man in pursuing Aristotle’s theory on profit motive 5. The difference in view of Dante and Aristotle on slavery and how the institution present in their time influenced them so 6. Aristotle’s concept of ends as expounded by Dante’s concept that man has a dual purpose in life.

Thesis Proper
Dante in his years in exile read several translated works in possession of those who generously offered their house as a temporary place of abode for Dante. In these years he spent hopping from host to host; Dante was able to read the classical works of Greco-Roman authors. One of his most admired authors of his time was Aristotle, from whom he based much of his ideas, directly or indirectly through St. Thomas Aquinas who reintroduced Aristotle to the world as a philosopher of reason. One of Aristotle’s ideas is the belief that the state is the “highest form of association where man realizes himself”. Aristotle believed that under the state, there are two lesser forms of associations, namely family and village where man can satisfy his need to reproduce himself and his want for companionship respectively. But Aristotle emphasized that a citizen of the state must put his allegiance to the state before any other allegiance he owes to other lesser associations. This belief is contrary to the modern western belief that man should have the discernment to decide what allegiance he should keep in respect to circumstance he might encounter. Aristotle furthered his argument saying, “all associations are...
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