We explain who Aristotle was and what were the contributions of this philosopher. In addition, its general characteristics and forms of government.
Who was Aristotle?
Aristotle of Stagira (384 BC-322 BC) was a philosopher of the ancient Greek civilization , considered today one of the main thinkers of humanity. His ideas and reflections, collected in almost 200 treatises (of which only 31 are still preserved) have had validity and influence in the intellectual history of the West for more than two thousand years.
This philosopher cultivated a large number of interests, from logic, politics , ethics, physics, biology , and rhetoric, to poetics and astronomy . In all these areas of knowledge, he played an innovative, even foundational, role by proposing the first systematic studies on the subject .
Aristotle was a disciple of other important philosophers of the time, such as Plato and Eudoxus , during the twenty years that he was trained at the Academy of Athens. In that same city he would later found the Lyceum, a place where he would teach and train his own disciples.
After the fall of Alexander of Macedon, his disciple, also known as Alexander the Great, Aristotle would go to the city of Chalcis, where he would die.
Characteristics of Aristotle :
Founder of the Lyceum of Athens
Aristotle founded his own school where he attended his disciples and apprentices in the city of Athens, following the model of Plato's Academy, where he had studied for twenty years during his youth.
Unlike the latter, however, its Lyceum (so called because it was next to a temple of the Lycian god Apollo) offered free and public studies. Most of its surviving texts come from this particular era.
Master of Alexander the Great
One of Aristotle's most famous disciples was Alexander the Great, also called Alexander the Great, who was king of Macedonia from 336 BC
. until his death.
When a prince, his father Philip II trained him in the military arts and entrusted his education to Aristotle himself, to ensure that he would be a good monarch. Alexander the Great completely changed the political order of the region during his reign
and would be remembered for conquering Egypt and regions of North Asia .
He opposed Plato
Despite having been his disciple, or precisely because of it, Aristotle proposed a new philosophical model, different from that of his teacher
, rejecting the Platonic notion that the perceptible world is only a reflection of the world of ideas, called "Theory of Ideas". shapes".
Aristotle proposed instead that things are composed of a matter and a form
, which together make up the essence of things and of reality, attainable only through experience. This model is called “ empirical ” and is of the utmost importance for the emergence of contemporary Western thought.
Father of logic
The first formal attempts to study the logic of thought
are attributed to him , for which he is considered the founder of this discipline. His are the Principle of non-contradiction, the category of the syllogism, the study of fallacies and other models capable of evaluating the validity or invalidity of a specific reasoning.
A new division of the sciences
At that time the sciences were all considered as one, philosophy , science of the truth of things. However, Aristotle proposed a new division of his fields of interest, separating it into: logic, a preparatory discipline for true study
; theoretical philosophy, which integrated physics, mathematics and metaphysics; and practical philosophy, composed of politics and ethics.
The classical theory of forms of government
Aristotle proposed a model of classification of the forms of government, in force for many future centuries, that distinguished between the number of people who held power and whether or not they pursued the common good:
- Regimes that seek the common good:
- If one person rules: Monarchy
- If few rule: Aristocracy
- If many govern: Democracy
- Regimes degraded from the previous ones:
- If one person rules: Tyranny
- If few govern: Oligarchy
- If many govern: Demagoguery
Geocentric astronomical model
Aristotle's astronomical model, which was in force until the arrival of Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei in the 16th and 17th centuries, thought of the earth as the immobile center of the Universe
, around which the Sun and the rest of the bodies orbited. existing celestial
Aristotle also proposed a theory of understanding matter that supposed it to be made up of five elements
: water , earth, fire , air , and ether. Each one had its own characteristics such as natural movements, affinities, etc., and from them all the matter in the universe could be composed.
Theory of spontaneous generation
Another important contribution of Aristotle was the Theory of the Spontaneous Generation of life, which supposed the birth of certain living beings as a consequence of the states
of matter , thus being able to be born different creatures from the dew or human sweat, thanks to a creative force which he baptized entelechy . This theory was valid for centuries.
Father of literary theory
In his Poetics , Aristotle laid the groundwork for a formal study of the imitative arts
, which included the literary genres of the day: epic, tragedy , and comedy. His studies are still important in the study of contemporary artistic disciplines.
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