107 Facts About Aristotle


Aristotle was an Ancient Greek philosopher and polymath.


Aristotle's writings cover a broad range of subjects spanning the natural sciences, philosophy, linguistics, economics, politics, psychology and the arts.


Aristotle was born in the city of Stagira in northern Greece during the Classical period.


Aristotle's father, Nicomachus, died when Aristotle was a child, and he was brought up by a guardian.


Shortly after Plato died, Aristotle left Athens and, at the request of Philip II of Macedon, tutored his son Alexander the Great beginning in 343 BC.


Aristotle established a library in the Lyceum which helped him to produce many of his hundreds of books on papyrus scrolls.


Aristotle provided a complex synthesis of the various philosophies existing prior to him.


Aristotle influenced Judeo-Islamic philosophies during the Middle Ages, as well as Christian theology, especially the Neoplatonism of the Early Church and the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church.


Aristotle's works contain the earliest known formal study of logic, and were studied by medieval scholars such as Peter Abelard and John Buridan.


In general, the details of Aristotle's life are not well-established.


At the age of seventeen or eighteen, Aristotle moved to Athens to continue his education at Plato's Academy.


Aristotle then accompanied Xenocrates to the court of his friend Hermias of Atarneus in Asia Minor.


In 343 BC, Aristotle was invited by Philip II of Macedon to become the tutor to his son Alexander.


Aristotle was appointed as the head of the royal academy of Macedon.


Aristotle encouraged Alexander toward eastern conquest, and Aristotle's own attitude towards Persia was unabashedly ethnocentric.


Aristotle conducted courses at the school for the next twelve years.


Aristotle wrote many dialogues, of which only fragments have survived.


Aristotle died in Chalcis, Euboea of natural causes later that same year, having named his student Antipater as his chief executor and leaving a will in which he asked to be buried next to his wife.


Kant stated in the Critique of Pure Reason that with Aristotle logic reached its completion.


The logical works of Aristotle were compiled into a set of six books called the Organon around 40 BC by Andronicus of Rhodes or others among his followers.


Aristotle called it "first philosophy", and distinguished it from mathematics and natural science as the contemplative philosophy which is "theological" and studies the divine.


Aristotle examines the concepts of substance and essence in his Metaphysics, and he concludes that a particular substance is a combination of both matter and form, a philosophical theory called hylomorphism.


Aristotle's ontology places the universal in particulars, things in the world, whereas for Plato the universal is a separately existing form which actual things imitate.


Aristotle disagreed with Plato on this point, arguing that all universals are instantiated at some period of time, and that there are no universals that are unattached to existing things.


Where Plato spoke of the forms as existing separately from the things that participate in them, Aristotle maintained that universals exist within each thing on which each universal is predicated.


Aristotle uses induction from examples alongside deduction, whereas Plato relies on deduction from a priori principles.


Aristotle makes philosophy in the broad sense coextensive with reasoning, which he would describe as "science".


Aristotle's scheme added the heavenly aether, the divine substance of the heavenly spheres, stars and planets.


Aristotle implies that in a vacuum the speed of fall would become infinite, and concludes from this apparent absurdity that a vacuum is not possible.


Opinions have varied on whether Aristotle intended to state quantitative laws.


Aristotle suggested that the reason for anything coming about can be attributed to four different types of simultaneously active factors.


Aristotle describes experiments in optics using a camera obscura in Problems, book 15.


Aristotle noted that increasing the distance between the aperture and the image surface magnified the image.


Aristotle was one of the first people to record any geological observations.


Aristotle stated that geological change was too slow to be observed in one person's lifetime.


Aristotle was the first person to study biology systematically, and biology forms a large part of his writings.


Aristotle spent two years observing and describing the zoology of Lesbos and the surrounding seas, including in particular the Pyrrha lagoon in the centre of Lesbos.


Aristotle's apparent emphasis on animals rather than plants is a historical accident: his works on botany have been lost, but two books on plants by his pupil Theophrastus have survived.


Aristotle describes the catfish, electric ray, and frogfish in detail, as well as cephalopods such as the octopus and paper nautilus.


Aristotle gives accurate descriptions of the four-chambered fore-stomachs of ruminants, and of the ovoviviparous embryological development of the hound shark.


Darwin, too, noted these sorts of differences between similar kinds of animal, but unlike Aristotle used the data to come to the theory of evolution.


Aristotle was thus critical of Empedocles's materialist theory of a "survival of the fittest" origin of living things and their organs, and ridiculed the idea that accidents could lead to orderly results.


Aristotle used the ancient Greek term pepeiramenoi to mean observations, or at most investigative procedures like dissection.


Aristotle distinguished about 500 species of animals, arranging these in the History of Animals in a graded scale of perfection, a nonreligious version of the scala naturae, with man at the top.


Aristotle's system had eleven grades of animal, from highest potential to lowest, expressed in their form at birth: the highest gave live birth to hot and wet creatures, the lowest laid cold, dry mineral-like eggs.


Aristotle grouped what the modern zoologist would call vertebrates as the hotter "animals with blood", and below them the colder invertebrates as "animals without blood".


Aristotle recognised that animals did not exactly fit into a linear scale, and noted various exceptions, such as that sharks had a placenta like the tetrapods.


Philosophers of science have generally concluded that Aristotle was not interested in taxonomy, but zoologists who studied this question in the early 21st century think otherwise.


Aristotle believed that purposive final causes guided all natural processes; this teleological view justified his observed data as an expression of formal design.


Aristotle's psychology, given in his treatise On the Soul, posits three kinds of soul : the vegetative soul, the sensitive soul, and the rational soul.


In On the Soul, Aristotle famously criticizes Plato's theory of the soul and develops his own in response to Plato's.


Aristotle believed an impression is left on a semi-fluid bodily organ that undergoes several changes in order to make a memory.


Aristotle uses the term 'memory' for the actual retaining of an experience in the impression that can develop from sensation, and for the intellectual anxiety that comes with the impression because it is formed at a particular time and processing specific contents.


Aristotle believed the chain of thought, which ends in recollection of certain impressions, was connected systematically in relationships such as similarity, contrast, and contiguity, described in his laws of association.


Aristotle believed that past experiences are hidden within the mind.


Aristotle explains that when a person stares at a moving stimulus such as the waves in a body of water, and then looks away, the next thing they look at appears to have a wavelike motion.


Aristotle compares a sleeping person to a person who is overtaken by strong feelings toward a stimulus.


In De Anima iii 3, Aristotle ascribes the ability to create, to store, and to recall images in the absence of perception to the faculty of imagination, phantasia.


Aristotle claimed that dreams are not foretelling and not sent by a divine being.


Aristotle reasoned naturalistically that instances in which dreams do resemble future events are simply coincidences.


Aristotle claimed that a dream is first established by the fact that the person is asleep when they experience it.


Aristotle wrote several treatises on ethics, most notably including the Nicomachean Ethics.


Aristotle taught that virtue has to do with the proper function of a thing.


Aristotle reasoned that humans must have a function specific to humans, and that this function must be an activity of the psuche in accordance with reason.


Aristotle identified such an optimum activity of the soul as the aim of all human deliberate action, eudaimonia, generally translated as "happiness" or sometimes "well-being".


Aristotle taught that to achieve a virtuous and potentially happy character requires a first stage of having the fortune to be habituated not deliberately, but by teachers, and experience, leading to a later stage in which one consciously chooses to do the best things.


Aristotle famously stated that "man is by nature a political animal" and argued that humanity's defining factor among others in the animal kingdom is its rationality.


Aristotle conceived of politics as being like an organism rather than like a machine, and as a collection of parts none of which can exist without the others.


Aristotle made substantial contributions to economic thought, especially to thought in the Middle Ages.


In Politics, Aristotle offers one of the earliest accounts of the origin of money.


Aristotle's discussions on retail and interest was a major influence on economic thought in the Middle Ages.


Aristotle had a low opinion of retail, believing that contrary to using money to procure things one needs in managing the household, retail trade seeks to make a profit.


Aristotle believed that retail trade was in this way unnatural.


Similarly, Aristotle considered making a profit through interest unnatural, as it makes a gain out of the money itself, and not from its use.


Aristotle gave a summary of the function of money that was perhaps remarkably precocious for his time.


Aristotle wrote that because it is impossible to determine the value of every good through a count of the number of other goods it is worth, the necessity arises of a single universal standard of measurement.


Aristotle goes on to state that money is useful for future exchange, making it a sort of security.


Aristotle's Rhetoric proposes that a speaker can use three basic kinds of appeals to persuade his audience: ethos, pathos, and logos.


Aristotle writes in his Poetics that epic poetry, tragedy, comedy, dithyrambic poetry, painting, sculpture, music, and dance are all fundamentally acts of mimesis, each varying in imitation by medium, object, and manner.


Aristotle applies the term mimesis both as a property of a work of art and as the product of the artist's intention and contends that the audience's realisation of the mimesis is vital to understanding the work itself.


Aristotle states that mimesis is a natural instinct of humanity that separates humans from animals and that all human artistry "follows the pattern of nature".


Aristotle taught that tragedy is composed of six elements: plot-structure, character, style, thought, spectacle, and lyric poetry.


Aristotle concludes Poetics with a discussion on which, if either, is superior: epic or tragic mimesis.


Aristotle was a keen systematic collector of riddles, folklore, and proverbs; he and his school had a special interest in the riddles of the Delphic Oracle and studied the fables of Aesop.


However, Aristotle gave equal weight to women's happiness as he did to men's, and commented in his Rhetoric that the things that lead to happiness need to be in women as well as men.


Aristotle contributed to almost every field of human knowledge then in existence, and he was the founder of many new fields.


Aristotle has been called the father of logic, biology, political science, zoology, embryology, natural law, scientific method, rhetoric, psychology, realism, criticism, individualism, teleology, and meteorology.


Theophrastus was much less concerned with formal causes than Aristotle was, instead pragmatically describing how plants functioned.


The immediate influence of Aristotle's work was felt as the Lyceum grew into the Peripatetic school.


Aristotle's students included Aristoxenus, Dicaearchus, Demetrius of Phalerum, Eudemos of Rhodes, Harpalus, Hephaestion, Mnason of Phocis, Nicomachus, and Theophrastus.


Aristotle had learned a great deal about Persian customs and traditions from his teacher.


The first medical teacher at Alexandria, Herophilus of Chalcedon, corrected Aristotle, placing intelligence in the brain, and connected the nervous system to motion and sensation.


Greek Christian scribes played a crucial role in the preservation of Aristotle by copying all the extant Greek language manuscripts of the corpus.


The first Greek Christians to comment extensively on Aristotle were Philoponus, Elias, and David in the sixth century, and Stephen of Alexandria in the early seventh century.


Philoponus questioned Aristotle's teaching of physics, noting its flaws and introducing the theory of impetus to explain his observations.


Aristotle was one of the most revered Western thinkers in early Islamic theology.


Maimonides considered Aristotle to be the greatest philosopher that ever lived, and styled him as the "chief of the philosophers".


Galileo used more doubtful arguments to displace Aristotle's physics, proposing that bodies all fall at the same speed whatever their weight.


Aristotle rigidly separated action from production, and argued for the deserved subservience of some people, and the natural superiority of others.


In 1985, the biologist Peter Medawar could still state in "pure seventeenth century" tones that Aristotle had assembled "a strange and generally speaking rather tiresome farrago of hearsay, imperfect observation, wishful thinking and credulity amounting to downright gullibility".


The works of Aristotle that have survived from antiquity through medieval manuscript transmission are collected in the Corpus Aristotelicum.


Aristotle wrote his works on papyrus scrolls, the common writing medium of that era.


Aristotle's writings are divisible into two groups: the "exoteric", intended for the public, and the "esoteric", for use within the Lyceum school.


Aristotle's "lost" works stray considerably in characterization from the surviving Aristotelian corpus.


Aristotle had them copied out into new manuscripts, and used his best guesswork to fill in the gaps where the originals were unreadable.


Aristotle has been depicted by major artists including Lucas Cranach the Elder, Justus van Gent, Raphael, Paolo Veronese, Jusepe de Ribera, Rembrandt, and Francesco Hayez over the centuries.


Aristotle was the first person known to conjecture, in his book Meteorology, the existence of a landmass in the southern high-latitude region and called it Antarctica.