Aristotle, a towering figure in ancient Greek philosophy, was a polymath whose ideas continue to shape various fields of study to this day. As a student of Plato and a tutor to Alexander the Great, Aristotle delved into diverse subjects such as logic, ethics, politics, metaphysics, biology, and more. His rigorous approach to knowledge, emphasis on observation, and logical reasoning have had a profound influence on Western thought, establishing him as one of the most influential thinkers in human history. Here are a few interesting facts about this legend:
1. Raised by his sister!
Aristotle was born in Greece in 384 BC. His parents passed away while he was a young boy. Aristotle’s elder sister, Arimneste, and her husband, Proxenus of Atarneus, became Aristotle’s guardians until he came of age.
2. Learnt from the best!
When he was 17, Aristotle enrolled in Plato’s Academy and spent 20 years of his life acquiring knowledge from the best teacher. Aristotle was, in fact, a gifted student of Plato.
3. Aristotle’s writings
Aristotle is said to have composed approximately 200 works, but only 31 survive today. His theoretical works on animals, cosmology, and the “Physics” is a quasi-theological investigation of existence. His practical works, “Nicomachean Ethics,” and “Politics,” are investigations into the nature of human flourishing on the individual, familial and societal levels. Finally, his “Rhetoric” and “Poetics” examine the finished products of human productivity.
4. The “Organon”
Aristotle had compiled a set of writings that provides a logical toolkit for scientific and philosophical investigations. The Organon is a collection of his 6 works on logic.
5. Source of Aristotle’s work
Aristotle’s works are mostly in the form of notes and manuscripts. His work comprises a set of dialogues, records of scientific observations, and systematic works which his student Theophrastus looked after and later passed to his student Neleus. His writings were later taken to Rome and used by scholars there.
6. Founder of the World’s first great library!
After Plato’s death, Aristotle established his school called the Lyceum in 335 B.C. in Athens, where he delivered lectures and conducted research. It was famously known as the Peripatetic School. The lectures at the school were divided into morning and afternoon sessions. The Lyceum also housed a collection of manuscripts comprising one of the world’s first great libraries.
7. Teacher of the most powerful person on Earth
Alexander the Great was tutored by Aristotle. He became a student of Aristotle in 343 BC and took much advice from his teacher. Aristotle also taught Ptolemy and Cassander, who were eventually crowned kings.
8. A study dedicated to his son!
Aristotle’s compilation of his quest into the nature of humans on the individual, familial, and societal levels, known as Nicomachean Ethics, was a dedication to his son. His son, Nicomachus died in a battle at a very young age, and the compilation was to memorize him.
9. The Philosophical Romances!
Aristotle married Pythias and had a daughter, Pythias, named after her mother. After the death of his first wife, Aristotle fell in love with Herpyllis who was a former slave of Pythias. Herpyllis was the mother of Nicomachus.
10. Started dissecting animals!
Aristotle was a man ahead of his time. He had new ideas on how to study the world. He used to make detailed observations of the world and recorded what he saw. In his quest to learn more about the anatomy of animals, he started dissecting them, which was a new practice. Greek philosophers and educators of those times used to do all their work in their minds, thinking about the world without observing it.
11. Heart is the center of intelligence, not the brain
While Aristotle made some exceptional discoveries during his lifetime, he wasn’t always correct. According to Aristotle, the heart is the center of intelligence, not the brain. He also thought that the gender of goats depends on the direction of wind flow.
12. Classification of plants and animals!
Aristotle pioneered the classification of plants and animals. His findings closely correspond with modern classifications.
13. Father of Biology!
It’s not that Aristotle was the first to study Biology; however, he pioneered the subject by applying systematic critical empiricism to his study. It’s because of this we call him the “Father of Biology.”
14. The Mind of Greece
Aristotle was known for his exceptional intellectual abilities, often referred to as “The Mind of Greece.”
15. Father of Logic
Aristotle is often regarded as the father of logic, having made significant contributions to the field of formal logic.
16. The Golden Mean
Aristotle advocated for the concept of the golden mean, which promotes finding balance and avoiding extremes in one’s actions and behaviors.
Aristotle introduced the concept of teleology, the study of purpose or final causes, suggesting that everything in nature has a purpose or goal.
18. Unmoved Mover
Aristotle proposed the existence of an unmoved mover, a prime mover that initiates and sustains the motion of the universe.
Aristotle’s work “Poetics” examined the principles of drama, including plot, character, and catharsis, and became highly influential in the field of literary criticism.
20. Classification of Knowledge
Aristotle classified knowledge into three categories: theoretical sciences (physics, mathematics), practical sciences (ethics, politics), and productive sciences (art, craftsmanship).
21. Controversial Views
While Aristotle’s contributions were substantial, some of his views, such as his belief in natural slavery, have faced criticism and controversy.
22. Critique of Democracy
Aristotle criticized pure democracy, suggesting that it could lead to mob rule and instability.
23. Concept of Eudaimonia
Aristotle defined eudaimonia as the ultimate human goal, often translated as “flourishing” or “living well.”
24. Concept of Catharsis
Aristotle introduced the concept of catharsis, suggesting that tragedy provides emotional release and purification for the audience.
25. Founder of Formal Logic
Aristotle’s contributions to formal logic laid the foundation for deductive reasoning and influenced the field for centuries.
26. Influence on Renaissance Thought
Aristotle’s works were rediscovered during the Renaissance, shaping intellectual discourse during that period.
27. Analysis of Tragedy
Aristotle’s analysis of tragedy in his work “Poetics” provided a framework that continues to influence dramatic theory and practice.
Aristotle’s work “Metaphysics” explored the fundamental nature of reality, existence, and being.
29. Emphasis on Empirical Observation
Aristotle believed that knowledge should be based on empirical observation and reasoned inquiry rather than pure speculation.
30. Impact on Ethics
Aristotle’s ethical theories, centered around virtue and moral character, continue to be influential in contemporary ethical discussions.
31. Philosophy of Education
Aristotle wrote extensively on the philosophy of education, emphasizing the importance of practical knowledge and hands-on learning.
32. Legacy in the Islamic Golden Age
Aristotle’s works were translated and studied during the Islamic Golden Age, contributing to advancements in various fields.
33. Enduring Influence
Aristotle’s philosophical ideas and methodologies remain relevant today, making him one of the most enduring and influential thinkers in history.