The beginnings of modern thought, science, and philosophy are generally agreed to have sprung from ancient Greece. Greece produced many prominent thinkers, scientists, and philosophers. Three, in particular, are credited with being the leading force that sparked the development of modern society. These persons were Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Each of these three figures made definite contributions that present-day society relies upon. Each of them has been the subject of volumes upon volumes of research and writing.
Aristotle was born in 384 BC in Thrace. He arrived in Athens in 366 BC at the age of 18 to study at Plato’s academy. He remained there until Plato died in 348 BCE. In 335 BCE, Aristotle founded his own school in Athens, where the emphasis was on studying science as opposed to mathematics. His approach to scientific research is one still used by scientists today. First, it is necessary to define the question being asked. Second, the researcher has to examine the question in the light of previously held views and the work of other researchers. Third, the researcher must present their own arguments, conclusions, and answers to the question asked.
Timeline of Aristotle
388 BC: Plato establishes the first university, the Academy in Athens.
384 BC: Aristotle was born to Phaestis and Nichomachus.
377 BC: Hippocrates dies.
374 BC: Aristotle’s father dies.
371 BC: Thebes defeats Sparta at Leuctra.
367 BC: Aristotle was sent to Plato’s Academy in Athens.
359 BC: Philip becomes King of Macedonia.
356 BC: The holy temple of Delphi was destroyed in the Sacred War.
347 BC: Plato dies. Aristotle leaves Athens for Assus, where he marries Pythias.
345 BC: Hermias killed by Persians.
344 BC: Aristotle lives in Lesbos; biological research.
343-340 BC: Aristotle tutors Alexander in Pella, Macedonia.
338 BC: League of Corinth founded.
336 BC: Philip II was assassinated, succeeded by his son, who became Alexander the Great.
335 BC: Aristotle opens the Lyceum in Athens.
334 BC: Alexander the Great begins war against Persia.
323 BC: Alexander the Great died in Babylon, and his empirewass divided among his successors.
322 BC: Aristotle dies, Theophrastus leads the Lyceum.
Quotes By Aristotle
- A constitution is the arrangement of magistracies in a state.
- A friend to all is a friend to none.
- A great city is not to be confounded with a populous one.
- The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.
- I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over self.
- A sense has the power of receiving into itself the sensible forms of things without the matter, in the way in which a piece of wax takes on the impress of a signet-ring without the iron or gold.
- A tragedy is a representation of an action that is whole and complete and of a certain magnitude. A whole is what has a beginning and middle, and end.
- A true friend is one soul in two bodies.
- All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire.
- All men, by nature, desire knowledge.
- All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.
- Different men seek happiness in different ways and by different means, making for themselves different modes of life and forms of government.
- All virtue is summed up in dealing justly.
- Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.
- At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice, he is the worst.
- Bad men are full of repentance.
- He who can be, and therefore is, another’s, and he who participates in reason enough to apprehend but not to have, is a slave by nature.
- Bashfulness is an ornament to youth but a reproach to old age.
- Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always remain unaltered.
- In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous.
- Both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people and therefore deprive them of their arms.
- Bring your desires down to your present means. Then, increase them only when your increased means permit.
- Change in all things is sweet.
- The character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.
- Courage is a mean about fear and confidence.
What did Aristotle believe about human nature?
One of Aristotle’s prime beliefs was that everything in nature has a defined purpose. A knife is to cut; an eye is to see. The closer an object is to fulfilling its purpose, the closer it is to perfection. He saw man as being the highest form of existence as the man was the only rational being on earth. This ideology led him to conclude that all lower forms of life existed to serve the needs of humankind. This reasoning led him to support slavery, especially of non-Greek or barbarian tribes, which he saw as inferior and less rational than the Greeks.
Aristotle contended that all life has a potential to fulfill and that its goal is to fulfill that potential. Thus, he saw the ultimate aim of human beings to develop their powers of reasoning to the full to achieve their potential.
Aristotle’s contribution to science was profound and remains felt today. However, his view of the universe was based on the premise that all life, the universe, and all things have an ultimate purpose. According to this philosophy, every event resulted from cause and action with an intended purpose- even a falling rock or a singing bird. Thus, all things and all events had their part to play in fulfilling the purpose of life.
According to many, Aristotle’s main contribution to civilization was his conviction that all things could be understood and explained. He rejected the idea that life and nature were controlled by capricious entities that needed to be worshiped and placated to ensure the future. In essence, Aristotle and his students were the first proponents of objectivity and its importance in the quest for understanding.