Aristotle and Plato are two of the most famous philosophers of time. Plato was actually a teacher of Aristotle at his academy. Aristotle found a lot of faults in the philosophical theories developed by Plato even though he was his teacher. He became his teacher’s greatest critic. In spite of this criticism, Aristotle was significantly influenced by Plato. This makes it relatively easy to compare their works due to the fact that they target the same philosophical aspects even though the most of the points in their philosophies are contradictory. The philosophical aspects explored by the two included metaphysics, ethics, politics and epistemology.
Just like Aristotle was Plato’s student, Plato had actually been a student of Socrates, another great philosopher and was deeply influenced by him. Both philosophers had a firm belief in knowledge. Plato had been on Socrates side when he was being prosecuted for his beliefs. He believed that there was no logical reason for the killing of Socrates. Plato is considered to be an idealist. For example, when it came to the political philosophy, Plato believed that there were three distinct classes of leaders. These were: philosophical kings, military kings and artesian kings. The philosophical kings are very smart leaders who treat all of humanity in equal terms. However, these kings do not believe in democracy because they think that if democracy is exercised, idiots or fools will have a say when it comes to politics and this will not be beneficial to anybody. The second class of rulers is military rulers. These are rulers who are warriors in being but lack intelligence. They fight with muscle but not brains. The third class of rulers is the artesian rulers who are actually the average and the normal people in the society with no dominant traits like intelligence or muscle power.
Plato did not believe in science and therefore had no natural philosophical views. However, with regards to metaphysics, he believed that the reality and truth in one’s being relied on his mind. To support this theory, he used the Allegory of the Cave. In this fictional situation, a group of prisoners bound in chains in cave watch various shadows projected on the cave’s walls by things passing around a fire that is behind them. The prisoners then start to ascribe life forms to these shadows. These shadows are the closest thing to reality that the prisoners may ever get to see. A prisoner who escapes from this cave finally comes to understand that the shadows are not actual forms of reality at all because he can finally perceive a new reality form due to the alteration of his former status.
Unlike his teacher Plato, Aristotle believed that the three major forms political philosophies existing in the world are: monarchies, aristocracies and polities. He believed that the monarchy type of political philosophy was bad because it exhibited tyrannous characteristics. The aristocracy is also not a favorable because of the oligarchy aspect which is where an entire nation or community is ruled by a select few. He also criticized the polity philosophy claiming it could result situation where democracy would be ruled by the poor society members which is actually not good.
Aristotle was also different to Plato because he believed in science, something that Plato did not believe in. He particularly believed in the four elements of science, that is air, water, earth and fire. Aristotle also believed in private property showing that he was indeed materialistic. Aristotle is sometimes referred to as the father of logic because of his deep drive to seek the truth.