When we hear a mention of the ancient Islamic philosophy or Christian scholasticism, what comes in our mind is the man Aristotle. Even though there have numerous intellectual revolutions, the western thinking is still clouded with Aristotle’s concepts. So, who is this man, Aristotle? Well, this paper explores a brief biography of his life and works.
Born in Chalcidice peninsula of Macedonia, in Northern Greece to a court physician by the name Nichomachus, one can be tempted to think that Aristotle’s life would be considerably influenced by Macedonian court. However, after the death of the father he went to Athens where he became a student of Plato. At that time, Athens was considered as the world’s academic center. He attended Plato’s school for a period of twenty years and later became a tutor of Alexander the Great. He later founded his own school, Lyceum in Athens, where he spent the rest of his life studying writing, and teaching. Less is known about his social life, but it is documented that he was briefly married to Hermeas, who was taken over by Persians. He later died in 322 BCE, at the age of 63.
It is said that Aristotle wrote over 150 philosophical treaties in different subject ranging from physics to biology to politics to morals. He formulated many beliefs concerning the essence of being. He emphasized the importance of nature, and impressed upon his student to study the natural phenomena. He often believed that knowledge could be acquired through interaction with physical objects. However, he affirms that our understanding of the physical objects is based on our personal associations and interpretation. For instance, in teaching science he insisted that every idea must be supported by evidential explanation based on actual and tangible facts. Though a student of Plato, he sharply disagreed with Plato’s thoughts on various matters including nature and the art of science. In politics, he maintained a stand that all humans are naturally political, and this inherent trait is evident when people participate in civic affairs.
I cannot conclude without mentioning of his contributions to philosophy. According to Aristotle’s theory, philosophy is the foundation for understanding the axioms that constitute knowledge. He stated that logic is a universal means of reasoning. He asserts that for one to think logically, he must employ syllogism, which is composed of two premises leading a conclusion. Apart from providing a system of reasoning, Aristotle also touched on ethics. He agrees with his mentor, Plato, on the fact that the goodness of a person is derived from the ability to achieve the highest potential. Most of his theories were drawn from his lecture notes to his students.
The paper might be too short to incorporate all about Aristotle, but it is obvious that his philosophies are still evident in the modern society.