Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) was a Greek Philosopher from the Socratic/Classical period in Athens, Greece. Socrates developed a system of critical reasoning in order to determine how to live properly and determine the difference between right and wrong. Aristotle was one of his followers, along with Plato and they made a commitment to the truth, and organized and systematized most of the problems of philosophy. He is one of the most important figures in Western Philosophy and was the first person to create a comprehensive system of philosophy. Aristotle was born to an aristocratic family in Stagira.
His father was the personal physician to King Amyntas of Macedon. Aristotle was trained and educated as a member of the aristocracy. At age 10, Aristotle’s father died (which meant that he could not follow his father’s profession as a doctor anymore) and his mother also died young, so, he was taken under the care of a man named Proxenus. At age 18, he moved to Athens to complete his education at Plato’s famous Academy.
Aristotle remained there for nearly twenty years, first as a student and then as a teacher, until after Plato’s death in 347 B.C.. He left the academy because he wasn’t chosen to be head of the academy since his ideas diverged far from Plato’s. In 335 B.C.
, Aristotle established his own school outside of Athens, known as the Lyceum, in competition with Plato’s Academy. The Lyceum had a broader curriculum than the Academy, and a stronger emphasis on natural philosophy. He conducted courses at the school for the next thirteen years. Aristotle’s own school of philosophy, known as Aristotelianism, influenced almost all later philosophical thinking. This school of philosophy takes its inspiration from Aristotle. One of the main focuses of his philosophy was his concept of logic.
Aristotle’s objective was to develop a universal process of reasoning that would allow people to learn about reality. Since Aristotle’s death, there have been schools and individual philosophers who have cultivated the study of his works and adopted and expanded on his methods. Aristotelianism takes an approach to existing or hypothetical doctrines, and an emphasis on knowledge that can be acquired naturally through the senses and reason. Aristotelian metaphysics puts the individual at the center of existence.Aristotle’s definition of the truth would be in the Metaphysics: “To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true”. The idea here is that truth is a matter of correspondence to reality. Aristotle said the light of truth is found in the material world, and our job is to understand and find our place in it.
He believed the truth can be discovered through our senses and that something is good if it fulfills its purpose. For example, a knife is a good knife if it cuts well. Aristotle also believed a person needs to use his/her senses and scientific based/empirical data to arrive at the “truth”.
The physical world is the key to knowledge and we can learn about it by using our senses.Aristotle’s philosophical endeavors created a lot of intellectual inquiry, including “natural philosophy”, the branch of philosophy examining the phenomena of the natural world (what would be regarded today as physics, biology and other natural sciences. These natural sciences are studied heavily today. Aristotle was the founder of logic, devising for it a finished system. Logic is not necessarily used in today’s society. Aristotle would want the American public school system to rely mainly on research and reasoning.
Aristotle would be disapproving of the culture of “instant gratification” which seems to dominate in our society today. Most social media efforts are spent selling their ideas to those who already have agreed with them (or have already liked their page). Aristotle would probably argue that if your idea is actually worth selling to people, then it is your job to spread it to those who don’t already believe you.