Who was he: Aristotle was educated in many areas of study. He was Plato's student and the teacher of Alexander the Great. Aristotle was the first philosopher to formalize the study of logic. Aristotle impacted Islamic beliefs, Jewish traditional thinking and the Christian faith via his thoughts on metaphysics and ethics. In the Nicomachean treatise he puts forth the idea that ethics is about doing good and not just concerned with learning. Aristotle has had a tremendous influence; 20th century novelist Ayn Rand described him as her muse.
Aristotle is well known for his compilation of works surrounding the new Western world of philosophical thought. Many believe that over half of his writings were lost, and yet every student of philosophy to follow him has studied Aristotle and his beliefs. Aristotle's views on physical science were accepted in that day and time but were later replaced by Newton's understanding of physics. Today a variety of Aristotle's scientific thoughts are still considered valid in the 21st century scientific community.
Aristotle had a very practical way of looking at the world, and this came through in most of his works and his teachings. He maintains that a person must choose goodness for himself, and through learning about goodness and practicing good he will always create what is highest and best for him and others.
His political thinking revolved around cities and community living rather than a larger, more formally organised and fabricated unit of governance. Strength and harmony and the idea of the highest good as an end goal will be found through community and cooperation. Each person is defined by his greatest strength and works according to choice. Freedom is quintessential for that highest good called happiness. His work titled "Politics" puts forth these ideals.
Aristotle believed that is was vital to all of society that women, as well as men be happy. Anything less diverts a community from its true potential. Though his beliefs encompassed a positive view when considering the female and man's need for her to be happy, feminists of today feel that he was misguided in his notion that it takes an active alive man to bring life to the passive female.
Aristotle believed that man actually learns through imitation and that it is a valuable tool for man's growth. Imitation is certainly a good technique, and yet the act of imitation can readily cross a line and turn into envy and greed. This moves into the arena where energies are then pulled from anyone who is the object of another's intense envy. The promotion of learning through imitation has its dark side, with envy being one of mankind's 7 deadly sins.
Background: Aristotle's date of birth was 384 B.C., and he died in 322 B.C. Aristotle's written works and teachings focused on a wide variety of topics. Among them were science and logic, as well as politics and metaphysics. As a noted scientist and philosopher, Aristotle wrote on physics, biology and zoology, in addition to government, music, theatre, poetry and ethics.
Aristotle, through his devotion to truth, his awareness of societal needs for a sound philosophical foundation and his many contributions to the field of logic and science – and most especially his contribution to the essence of scientific methodology – have all made him one of the most noteworthy of all philosophers. His lifetime of intense study and learning make him a foundational philosopher that students of philosophy have been studying throughout time.
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