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The Philosophy of Aristotle

Aristotle was born in 384 B.C in Stagira which is a small town on the northeast
coast of Greece. The town was so small because it used to be a seaport. Both his father
and mother died when he was very young. His father, Nicomachus was court physician to
the Macedonian king which means he took care of all of the kings medical needs which
Aristotle began to study proceeding his father. No one is quite sure of what happened to
his mother, Pythias but it is assumed that she died when Aristotle was very young,
perhaps even before his father. Once his father passed away his brother-in-law, Proxenus
of Atarneus became his guardian until he was 17. Proxenus wanted Aristotle to get a high
education so he sent him to Athens which was the education capital of the world in that
time. In Athens Aristotle enrolled in Plato's Academy where he did exceptional in his
scholarly work.
After being enrolled in Plato's Academy Aristotle stayed close friends with Plato for
two decades. Whereas Plato's beliefs were unquestioned Aristotle decided to question all
beliefs. When Plato passed away in 347 B.C Aristotle moved to what is now Turkey to live
in court with his friend Hermias. Where he met his wife Pythias who was his friend
Hermias' niece. Aristotle and Pythias had a daughter who they named after Aristotle's
mother, Pythias. Aristotle moved back to Macedonia where he was asked to tutor the
kings son Alexander the Great.
This was a huge honor for Aristotle to be asked by the King himself to tutor his son.
He started tutoring Alexander when he was 13 years old and did so until Alexander turned
21 where he then became king after his father. After having the privilege to tutor the now
king Alexander the Great, Aristotle moved back to Athens where he opened his own
academy called Lyceum. Not only did he focus on the study of philosophy at Lyceum, but

he also studied science. Today we wouldn't call Aristotle a scientist, but he did study
science including biology where he tried to classify animals based on their characteristics
which is perfected in this day in age.
Aristotle later on had a son out of wedlock who he named Nicomachean after his
father Nicomachus. Aristotle felt guilty because his son did not have legal status therefor
he was illegitimate, so Aristotle wrote a book called Nichomachean Ethics dedicated to his
son. This book had ten main points of ethics the first five are almost instructions on how to
be the perfect gentleman or just the perfect person in general. He started off with
happiness. Happiness is your noble destiny and you needed it to survive. In order to
succeed happiness Aristotle believed that you had something you could be self respected
for. This could be anything that made you respect yourself and honor yourself. This is
what your happiness is. Aristotle believed in sophrosyne which was a part of Plato's
philosophy as well. This is a Greek word meaning soundness of mind and excellence of
character. When these two are added together you get a perfect balance creating new
qualities in moderation. This person knows how to balance all of their different qualities
which creates new and perfected qualities or in other terms a mean. Aristotle was against
anything in excess. You had to find the perfect mean in order to be considered an ethical
person or the perfect gentleman.
We need to build our own character, which Aristotle describes as a set of habits we
create for ourselves that define who we are. These habits are part of our qualities that we
have created and balanced for ourselves. One of which should be being a reliable person.
Aristotle was very passionate about friendship and being a reliable person ties in with that.
In order to keep friends you must be reliable. He doesn't believe in having lots and lots of
insignificant friends all over or being a social butterfly, he believes that you should have

very few friends, but those few friends you have should be your closest friendships. He
admits that real, strong friendships are build upon the love of philosophy. I believe that he
got that belief from his own experience with his close friend Plato since they had a very
close and sincere relationship which was created from both of their love for philosophy.
Even though Aristotle and Plato were best friends they didn't always have the same
beliefs. Aristotle said Plato is my friend, but the truth is higher than friendship. Where
Plato was more interested in city life and the importance of a community, Aristotle
believed in nature. He saw only the importance of nature and believed that it was the only
existence. Nature is the sum total of all physical things. Every physical thing consists of
two sides the hyle which is the body and the telos which is the form. Telos isn't so much
and outer or exterior form, but its the inner form. Aristotle says that the essential nature of
things are not decided upon by their cause or beginning, but at their end or telos. Telos is
also considered your generic code. Your code is to not be underestimated, your telos
creates a way of life for you from the moment you exist and you cannot escape it no
matter what. This causes you to have limitation on what you can and cannot do.
The hyle is the matter of a thing. It cannot survive without telos and telos cannot
survive without it. The hyle of a thing goes through changes in form throughout its
lifespan. For example an embryo turns into a baby a baby turns into a child and a child
turns into an adult. All things go through this change in body, it is a process of its lifespan.
Aristotle's philosophy has a scientific way of it. He did study science for a very long
time which is probably why it has such an impact on his philosophy. His epistemology was
called the scientific method. The only way to collect all relevant facts was to observe and
experiment. This is the opposite of his friend Plato who believed that all knowledge came
from reasoning and there is no need to measure anything. This was a very scientific

approach to philosophy and is now apart of science today. Aristotle used this method on
almost everything especially his study of the natural world like his categorization of
hundreds of different species into genres.
He dug a little deeper than just observation and experimentation though, he
believed in using analysis to try and find out laws of those facts discovered by observation
and experimentation. After discovering a fact analyze it to find more about it that isn't
already known. Once those laws are found after analyzing then you use logic to try and
build a comprehensive theory from those laws. It is a cycle that he has discovered which
has been very helpful in the science community. Observe and experiment to find facts,
then analyze these facts to find out laws, then use logic to build a theory about this fact
you have discovered.
Even though Aristotle was a very naturalistic man he also had a philosophy for
politics as well. His belief in politics was similar to that of his ethic views, there is a mean.
His political view was the balance of the middle class. He thought that democracy is the
best political regime because it is the power of the middle class. The middle class is the
foundation for a healthy society he said, which reflects back onto his ethics. This is like
the mean because it is the perfect balance of not having excess wealth and not having
excess deprivation of wealth. This belief was the opposite of Plato, he believed in an
aristocratic republic and was very against democracy.
Aristotle believed this to be the best political regime because him and his students
did a lot of observation on the constitutions of 158 states and decided what makes a good
government and what makes a bad government. In some cases it was best for there to be
a monarchy in the case of a king or queen being apart of that states society. Not only did
he use the scientific method for science, but he also used it in every day observations to

help with all of his philosophical beliefs.


I really enjoy a lot about Aristotle's philosophy and agree with most all of it. My
favorites are some of his ethics, his political philosophy, and his belief that nature is the
only existence. His view on happiness is probably my favorite, because everyone is
looking for happiness and some aren't sure what happiness is. What I took from what he
described happiness is, is whatever caused you to have self respect is your happiness
and noble destiny. All you have to do is discover what causes you to respect yourself and
that is your happiness and what you need in life. This also correlates to discovering your
characteristics or who you are.
His view on mean is very intellectual. You need a balance in your life in order to
function in society. You cant have excess bad qualities in you and you can't have excess
good qualities in you or else it is overpowering and causes an imbalance in your life. This
is especially necessary with being able to create friendships and in finding those few who
share your mean.
I believe in having just a few close friendships, because you can't have many close
friendships it would be too difficult. Friendship is a very powerful thing and you must pick
the few that relate with your mean and characteristics. Like Aristotle believed that all
friendships are based off a love for philosophy I believe that friendships are based off of
correlating means.
I connected with his political philosophy of democracy, especially since I also agree
with his belief in a mean. Democracy makes the most sense because it is a balance of
excess wealth and excess deprivation of wealth. The middle class is that mean. Like
Aristotle said the middle class is the foundation for a healthy society because it is the
perfect balance.

Only nature exists is a very strong point and without further detail would not be a
connection for be, but it makes you realized that nothing would be without nature.
Everything changes and forms a cycle because of nature. Therefore nature is the only
existence.
Aristotle has made a significant difference in the world with his philosophy. Because
of it we now have a lot of scientific discoveries thanks to the help of is scientific method.
Also his categorization of different animal species, which he made very many errors with
was the beginning of what we now know as the classification of Animals and Aristotle was
the beginning of that.
We are starting to discover that a democracy might be the best political route and
all though we haven't quite figured it out yet, Aristotle knew what was best and we should
have listened to him sooner. It is very interesting to me that even though he was
discovering all of this hundreds of centuries before this day in age it can all relate to today.
His philosophy is timeless.

Works Cited

"Aristotle Biography." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television. Web. 25 Nov. 2015.

"Aristotle and the Concept of Telos." Aristotle and the Concept of Telos. Web. 25 Nov.
2015.

"Aristotle | Greek Philosopher." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica.


Web. 25 Nov. 2015.

"Aristotle: Ethics." Aristotle: Ethics. Web. 25 Nov. 2015.

"History of the Scientific Method." - How Science Became Important. Web. 25 Nov. 2015.