Aristotle

biography

Aristotle is one of the most famous philosophers of ancient Greece, who lived in the 4th century BC. C. He was interested in disciplines as diverse as biology, philosophy and politics. In all of them he made interesting contributions. He was a disciple of Plato and tutor of Alexander the Great.

Aristotle's thought was studied until the fourth century, when with the arrival of the Middle Ages it was relegated to oblivion. An oblivion from which she would emerge several centuries later to once again be recognized as one of the main figures in the history of knowledge.

Aristotle was born around 384 BC. In Estagira, a city of ancient Greece located on the Calcidia peninsula. Therefore, Aristotle comes from the ancient province of Macedonia. His father was Nicómaco, doctor and personal friend of the king of Macedonia, a fact that would mark his future. His mother, Festide, came from was originally from the island of Evia.

Aristotle was a disciple and collaborator of Plato at the Academy, where he remained for about twenty years. There he learned, among other things, the art of rhetoric and dialectics. In addition, he also wrote some dialogues, of which only a few fragments have been preserved.

Although he assimilated many ideas of the master Plato, such as the immortality of the soul and the absoluteness of truth, he also developed his own original thought system. When Plato died, he left the Academy, since the ideas of Espeusipo, a new scholar, did not coincide with his.

Throughout his life he devoted himself to science and philosophy. His first field of study was biology. The result of his research was his monumental work Animal history. In this project he collaborated with Theophrastus, in whose city, Mytilene, he lived a large part of his life. In this city he founded a new Academy that claimed the sole and faithful heir to Plato's ideas.

Guardian of the future Alexander the Great

In 342 a. C. was called to occupy the position of being tutor of the son of the king Filippo II of Macedonia, the future Alexander the Great. He did so for three years, until the heir was called to participate in his father's military expeditions. It is not known for sure what he taught him, but he probably transmitted the principles of Greek culture to him. It is also possible that he taught him notions of politics, with the aim of preparing him for his future as a monarch.

With Alexander the Great acting as regent of the kingdom, Aristotle founded a new school in Athens, known as Peripatos or Lyceum. With the death of Alexander the Great, in 323 BC, Athens experienced anti-Macedonian movements. In this context, seeing his security threatened, Aristotle preferred to leave the city. He took refuge in Euboea, near his mother's house, where he died a year later.

Aristotle's thought

Aristotle cultivated various scientific and philosophical disciplines. He was also concerned with politics or the relationship between human beings and nature. There are many fields in which Aristotelian thought contributed ideas of great interest.

Philosophical thought

For Aristotle, the main end of man was happiness. However, he argued that this was not derived from pleasure, but from rational consciousness derived from fulfilling the role that each individual has reserved. That is, to comply with what is ordered by its essence. Therefore, happiness could only be achieved through the exercise of reason and through virtues. These were divided into two: dianoethics (of an intellectual nature) and ethics (which concerns the relationship between intelligence and sensitivity). These virtues were characterized because they had to be acquired through teaching and are identified as the right middle ground between excesses and extremes.

According to Aristotelian thought, it was possible to implement virtue only in the context of an organized society or within the state, which did not override the more restricted social forms.

Political thought

Aristotle argued that within the state there was always a distinction between free citizens, capable of self-government, and slaves. From this evidence, the necessary existence of the family, slavery and property was derived, which were the three pillars that sustained the community.

The state should have as its primary objective the implementation of political virtues. Virtues that were based on respect for the laws and freedoms of all citizens. He claimed that it was only possible if all the inhabitants obeyed and submitted to the laws.

According to Aristotle, politics was closely linked to morality since man could achieve happiness only in the life of the community. That is, as a member of a state, as a political community.

The philosopher also examined the various forms of government that could be implemented in a state. He differentiated between the monarchy, the aristocracy and the republic, stating that each of them was subject to the risk of degeneration. Thus, the monarchy could turn into tyranny; the aristocracy into an oligarchy and politics into a democracy.

Consequently, he affirmed that there was no perfect form of government, since all could degenerate into its negative excess. Therefore, he argued that the ideal state consisted of a form of government capable of bringing together all the merits of the monarchy, aristocracy and politics.

Inheritance and influence of Aristotelian thought

Aristotelian thought was studied until the 4th century. From that moment on, his figure was losing force and fell into oblivion, until it was rediscovered and revalued in the 12th century, by the Andalusian from Cordoba, Averroes.

In the thirteenth century, Saint Thomas was also interested in this philosopher and helped to rescue his thought. Since then he influenced some sectors of scholasticism and the birth of the School of Salamanca.

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