Aristotle was a renowned philosopher who lived from 384 BC – 322 BC. He learned under the tutelage of Plato and went on to teach several students including Alexander the Great. Aristotle contributed greatly to the fields of physics, theater, poetry, politics, science, ethics and philosophy.
He was one of the great minds of his time, and was the first individual to develop a framework for Western Philosophy that included the disciplines of science, spirituality, logic and morality. He founded his own school located in Athens in 335 where he spent the majority of his days teaching and writing. His works, particularly on the topic of ethics, are still influential today.
Aristotle’s Early Life
Aristotle was born in 384 BC in the small Greek coastal town of Stagira. His father, Nicomachus served as the royal physician, which provided Aristotle access to Macedonian royals for the remainder of his life. There is very little information about Aristotle’s mother Phaestis who is believed to have died when he was a young boy.
Proxenus, the husband of Aristotle’s sister, became his guardian after Nicomachus passed away. Once he turned 17, Proxenus sent Aristotle to Athens where he enrolled in Plato’s Academy. It was at Plato’s Academy that Aristotle showed a gift for being an exceptional scholar.
Beginning in 338 BC, Aristotle returned to Macedonia and began teaching the then 13 year-old Alexander the Great. Alexander’s father, King Phillip II held Aristotle in high regard and generously compensated him for teaching his son. Aristotle returned to Athens to start a learning institution soon after Alexander was named the king. The school he initiated was named Lyceum. Aristotle became known for walking and lecturing at the same time.
Visitors to the school would often see Aristotle walking around the grounds with a line of students following behind listening to his every word. These “travelling students” would come to be known as the “Periptetics” (people who travel).
Students of the school wrote their works on manuscripts that would later become known as one of the first extensive library collections in the world. It was during the same year Lyceum opened that Aristotle’s wife Pythias passed away.
Aristotle contributed to several fields including geology and marine biology. Although he was not considered a scientist, he was fascinated with the study of life. He spent hours dissecting animals, classifying animals, and studying weather phenomena.
Aristotle’s main contributions came by way of his philosophical writings. His main goal was to establish a framework for reasoning enabling man to learn about his reality. Aristotle theorized that man could learn a lot about his reality through deductive reasoning.
Aristotle contracted a digestive disease in 322 BC and passed away that same year. After his passing his works fell out of favor among academics, but were later revived in the first century. Besides his teacher Plato, Aristotle’s contributions to the humanities and social sciences are without compare. To this day, his works concerning philosophy and ethics are debated, discussed and utilized among the most prestigious academic institutions in the world.
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