According to Knight (114) Aristotle is known as the Greek Philosopher who left a mark in the philosophical word. He learnt most of his philosophical ideas from Plato. In fact together with Socrates and his teacher Plato, most of the western philosophy is attributed to them. His philosophies were the first to left a mark in the western philosophy physics. Indeed even his student Alexander the Great became just as good as he was. Aristotle’s writing covered a wide range of topics including politics, morality, metaphysics, logic, aesthetic and science. Aristotle’s physics was quite impressive and they shaped the medieval scholarship. His views on Physical science were quite remarkable and their influence continued until the Renaissance. However, his views on physical science were taken over by Newton Physics which rules the modern physical sciences. Aristotle’s philosophy also shaped the zoological sciences, however they were only considered to be accurate until the end of nineteenth century. Additionally, Aristotle’s work is considered to be the founding principles of the formal logic. Indeed the modern logic still focus on his logic studies and borrows most of his principles. In the middle ages, Aristotelian views shaped the Jews and Islamic traditions. He influenced their theological and philosophical thinking, and up to date he remains the only figure whose works are considered by the two religions (Baines, 200). Moreover, his philosophical view changed the tradition of Catholic Church, especially the scholastic traditions. This implies that Aristotle not only influenced the Jewish and Muslim theology, but also the Christian theology. In fact these three religions still consider Aristotle as the first teacher. He wrote most of his works, but today majorities are considered as lost and only a handful of his writings are available. All the same, his works and writings are still objects under study, and most colleges and Universities focus on his work to enhance understanding of the field of philosophy. Today, with the dawn of virtues of ethics, most of his ethics have been reconsidered.
According to Helper (68) Aristotle’s life is very interesting. To start with his name means “the best purpose” and indeed he lived up to his name living the best philosophy. He was born to Nicomachus, who was a physician to the Macedon’s king, king Amyntas. His birth is approximated to have taken place in Stageria, Chaldice which is approximately 55 KM away from Thessaloniki. It is also estimated that he was born in 384 BC. Aristotle schooled with the Aristocracy team. However, at 18 he left the team and went to Athens where he was taught by Plato in the Plato’s academy. He remained in the Plato’s academy until 347 BC when Plato died and the academy was handed over to Plato’s nephew. His departure was fueled by the lack of purpose which made the academy to lose control. He then left to Asia where he toured many places, but it was the death of Hermias’ which allowed Philip 11 to invite him. It is this interaction that influenced his role of tuting the King’s son, Alexander. His time at Macedon contributed to his success. This is because he taught many future rulers here including Alexander, Cassandra and Ptolemy. Towards the end of 335 BC Alexander returned to Athens where he established his school, also known as Lyceum. It is also during his 12 years at the school that most of his works were formed. Most of his surviving works he wrote as the lecture aids for his students and some are still in existence today. Alexander executed Callisthenes, Aristotle nephew, and this never pleased Aristotle who condemned him of his conducts. Following this incidence, he threatened Aristotle through letters and Aristotle replied back. However Bakalis (117) noted in one of the Aristotle quotes which stated that “I will not allow the Athenians to sin twice against philosophy” as one of the contribution to people’s anger against him. To him he referred to resisting the attempt by Alexander to execute Socrates. But this was taken out of context and he was accused of participating in the death of Alexander.
Alexander’s logic I attributed to the study of the formal logic. Kant who developed the Kantian ethics and the Critique of Reason acknowledged Aristotle’s logic as the main theory of logic which can be awarded for the deductive inference. Since it is believed that logic developed from dialect, Aristotle use of dialects and his attempts to establish logical flow from conclusions is believed to have contributed greatly to the ancient logic studies. Indeed Aristotle stated in Guthrie (61) that “on the subject of reasoning, I had nothing else on the earlier date to speak of” meaning that with his works he established enough works to withdraw conclusions from the past through a logical flow. In fact he preserved the term logic to mean dialects, and what is referred to as the Aristotelian logic he would have considered analytic. In 1 century AD his logics were complied into six books including, On Sophistical Refutations, Prior Analytics, Categories, On Interpretation, Posterior Analytics and Topics. However, it’s the Analytics, the On Sophistical Refutations and the Topics that forms the most complex forms of his logic like the syllogism in the Analytics, correct rules of reasoning and the grammar of language in the last two Topics and Posterior Analytics (Loux, 93).
Aristotle’s scientific methods focused on the universal aspects like his teacher. Indeed he established the ‘universal in particular things’ which formed his philosophy on “essence of things”. In his essence of things, Aristotle approached philosophy from both inductive and deductive methods. He also focused on the ‘natural philosophy’ which focused on learning more of the natural world. Today his natural philosophy can be considered as the modern physics. He introduced reasoning to philosophy and this is what he referred to as science. Aristotle considered science as being poetical, practical and theoretical. In the theoretical philosophy Aristotle implied the study of metaphysics, mathematics and physics. In physics Aristotle added the fifth element, earth, water, air, fire and then ether. He then led to the advent of motion, which he considered as actuality and potentiality. It is here that he discovered the four causes, including the material cause, the formal cause, the efficient cause and final cause. He also established the field of metaphysics which he referred to as the first philosophy. Aristotle contribution into the field of biology and medicine is recorded. His works in the classification of living things and empirical research programs influenced biology to date (Swanson, 145).
Aristotle contributed to almost all forms of human knowledge. Indeed most of his quotes are based on the poetic philosophy which was based on the poetry. For instance his quote, to perceive is to suffer was poetically meant to refer to the substance, potentiality and actuality.
Bakalis, Nikolaos. “Handbook of Greek Philosophy: From Thales to the Stoics Analysis and Fragments”. CA. Trafford Publishing. 2005, pp 112-131
Barnes, James. “The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle”. New York. Cambridge University Press. 2005, pp. 180-211.
Guthrie, Washer. “A History of Greek Philosophy”. New York: . 1991, pp. 40-71.
Halper, Edward. “One and Many in Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Volume 2” CA: The Central Books, Parmenides Publishing, 2005. pp, 67-68.
Knight, Kelvin. “Aristotelian Philosophy: Ethics and Politics from Aristotle to MacIntyre”. New Jersey. Polity Press, pp. 13-14.
Loux, Michael. “An Essay on Aristotle’s Metaphysics Ζ and Η”. NY: Cornell University Press, pp. 91-94
Swanson, Judith. “The Public and the Private in Aristotle’s Political Philosophy”. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, pp. 145.