Quotes by Aristotle
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Wikipedia Summary for Aristotle
Aristotle (Greek: Ἀριστοτέλης Aristotélēs, pronounced [aristotélɛːs]; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Lyceum, the Peripatetic school of philosophy, and the Aristotelian tradition. His writings cover many subjects including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theatre, music, rhetoric, psychology, linguistics, economics, politics, meteorology, geology and government. Aristotle provided a complex synthesis of the various philosophies existing prior to him. It was above all from his teachings that the West inherited its intellectual lexicon, as well as problems and methods of inquiry. As a result, his philosophy has exerted a unique influence on almost every form of knowledge in the West and it continues to be a subject of contemporary philosophical discussion.
Little is known about his life. Aristotle was born in the city of Stagira in Northern Greece. His father, Nicomachus, died when Aristotle was a child, and he was brought up by a guardian. At seventeen or eighteen years of age he joined Plato's Academy in Athens and remained there until the age of thirty-seven (c. 347 BC). Shortly after Plato died, Aristotle left Athens and, at the request of Philip II of Macedon, tutored Alexander the Great beginning in 343 BC. He established a library in the Lyceum which helped him to produce many of his hundreds of books on papyrus scrolls.
Though Aristotle wrote many elegant treatises and dialogues for publication, only around a third of his original output has survived, none of it intended for publication.\n\nAristotle's views on physical science profoundly shaped medieval scholarship. Their influence extended from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages into the Renaissance, and were not replaced systematically until the Enlightenment and theories such as classical mechanics were developed. Some of Aristotle's zoological observations found in his biology, such as on the hectocotyl (reproductive) arm of the octopus, were disbelieved until the 19th century. His works contain the earliest known formal study of logic, studied by medieval scholars such as Peter Abelard and John Buridan. Aristotle's influence on logic also continued well into the 19th century.
He influenced Judeo-Islamic philosophies (800–1400) 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 was revered among medieval Muslim scholars as "The First Teacher" and among medieval Christians like Thomas Aquinas as simply "The Philosopher". His ethics, though always influential, gained renewed interest with the modern advent of virtue ethics. Aristotle has been called "the father of logic", "the father of biology", "the father of political science", the "father of zoology", "the father of scientific method", "the father of rhetoric", and "the father of meteorology".
Happiness is a state of activity.
We make war that we may live in peace.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.
Hope is a waking dream.
A friend to all is a friend to none.
Man is by nature a political animal.
The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.
My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake.
The energy of the mind is the essence of life.
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
You are what you repeatedly do.
To love someone is to identify with them.
No democracy can exist unless each of its citizens is as capable of outrage at injustice to another as he is of outrage at unjustice to himself.
There is honor in being a dog.
Yes the truth is that men's ambition and their desire to make money are among the most frequent causes of deliberate acts of injustice.
We must be neither cowardly nor rash but courageous.
What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.
It is simplicity that makes the uneducated more effective than the educated when addressing popular audiences.
One swallow does not make a summer, neither does one fine day; similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.
Nature does nothing uselessly.
When people are friends, they have no need of justice, but when they are just, they need friendship in addition.
Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.
Nature does nothing in vain.
Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.
Courage is a mean with regard to fear and confidence.
You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.
In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. The young they keep out of mischief; to the old they are a comfort and aid in their weakness, and those in the prime of life they incite to noble deeds.
It is just that we should be grateful, not only to those with whose views we may agree, but also to those who have expressed more superficial views; for these also contributed something, by developing before us the powers of thought.
Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.
Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.
The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.
It is best to rise from life as from a banquet, neither thirsty nor drunken.
The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.
Happiness depends upon ourselves.
Quality is not an act, it is a habit.
Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting in a particular way. We become just by performing just action, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave action.
Art completes what nature cannot bring to finish. The artist gives us knowledge of nature's unrealized ends.
Music has a power of forming the character, and should therefore be introduced into the education of the young.
Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.
Teachers, who educate children, deserve more honor than parents, who merely gave them birth; for the latter provided mere life, while the former ensured a good life.
Emotions of any kind can be evoked by melody and rhythm; therefore music has the power to form character.
The good of man is the active exercise of his souls faculties in conformity with excellence or virtue, or if there be several human excellences or virtues, in conformity with the best and most perfect among them.
What is common to many is least taken care of, for all men have greater regard for what is their own than what they possess in common with others.
Tragedy is a representation of action that is worthy of serious attention, complete in itself and of some magnitude bringing about by means of pity and fear the purging of such emotions.
Character is that which reveals moral purpose, exposing the class of things a man chooses or avoids.
Anything whose presence or absence makes no discernible difference is no essential part of the whole.
Virtue is a state apt to exercise deliberate choice, being in the relative mean, determined by reason , and as a man of practical wisdom would determine...In respect of fears and confidence or boldness, the Mean state is Courage.
Neither by nature. then, nor contrary to nature do the virtues arise in us; nature gives us the capacity to receive them. and this capacity is brought to maturity by habit.
Metaphysics is universal and is exclusively concerned with primary substance. And here we will have the science to study that which is, both in its essence and in the properties which it has.
Beauty depends on size as well as symmetry. No very small animal can be beautiful, for looking at it takes so small a portion of time that the impression of it will be confused. Nor can any very large one, for a whole view of it cannot be had at once.
He who on conviction does and pursues and chooses what is pleasant would be thought to be better than one who does so as a result not of calculation but of incontinence; for he is easier to cure since he may be persuaded to change his mind.
Inferiors revolt in order that they may be equal, and equals that they may be superior. Such is the state of mind which creates revolutions.
To give away money is an easy matter and in any man's power. But to decide to whom to give it, and how large and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every man's power nor an easy matter.
A good style must, first of all, be clear. It must not be mean or above the dignity of the subject. It must be appropriate.
This world is inescapably linked to the motions of the worlds above. All power in this world is ruled by these options.
Conscientious and careful physicians allocate causes of disease to natural laws, while the ablest scientists go back to medicine for their first principles.
All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, and desire.
One can aim at honor both as one ought, and more than one ought, and less than one ought. He whose craving for honor is excessive is said to be ambitious, and he who is deficient in this respect unambitious; while he who observes the mean has no peculiar name.
While those whom devotion to abstract discussions has rendered unobservant of the facts are too ready to dogmatize on the basis of a few observations.
If every tool, when ordered, or even of its own accord, could do the work that befits it... then there would be no need either of apprentices for the master workers or of slaves for the lords.
Whatsoever that be within us that feels, thinks, desires, and animates, is something celestial, divine, and, consequently, imperishable.
A friend is a second self, so that our consciousness of a friend's existence...makes us more fully conscious of our own existence.
But the whole vital process of the earth takes place so gradually and in periods of time which are so immense compared with the length of our life, that these changes are not observed, and before their course can be recorded from beginning to end whole nations perish and are destroyed.
To die to escape from poverty or love or anything painful is not the mark of a brave man, but rather of a cowrd; for it is softness to fly from what is troublesome, and such a man endures death not because it is noble but to fly from evil.
It is of itself that the divine thought thinks (since it is the most excellent of things), and its thinking is a thinking on thinking.
Teenagers these days are out of control. They eat like pigs, they are disrespectful of adults, they interrupt and contradict their parents, and they terrorize their teachers.
When there is no middle class, and the poor greatly exceed in number, troubles arise, and the state soon comes to an end.
The Good of man is the active exercise of his soul's faculties in conformity with excellence or virtue, or if there be several human excellences or virtues, in conformity with the best and most perfect among them.
Now the goodness that we have to consider is clearly human goodness, since the good or happiness which we set out to seek was human good and human happiness. But human goodness means in our view excellence of soul, not excellence of body.
The greatest injustices proceed from those who pursue excess, not by those who are driven by necessity.
In practical matters the end is not mere speculative knowledge of what is to be done, but rather the doing of it. It is not enough to know about Virtue, then, but we must endeavor to possess it, and to use it, or to take any other steps that may make.
The citizens begin by giving up some part of the constitution, and so with greater ease the government change something else which is a little more important, until they have undermined the whole fabric of the state.
Gentleness is the ability to bear reproaches and slights with moderation, and not to embark on revenge quickly, and not to be easily provoked to anger, but be free from bitterness and contentiousness, having tranquility and stability in the spirit.
The principle aim of gymnastics is the education of all youth and not simply that minority of people highly favored by nature.
A good man may make the best even of poverty and disease, and the other ills of life; but he can only attain happiness under the opposite conditions.
Excellence or virtue in a man will be the disposition which renders him a good man and also which will cause him to perform his function well.
Experience has shown that it is difficult, if not impossible, for a populous state to be run by good laws.
Men must be able to engage in business and go to war, but leisure and peace are better; they must do what is necessary and indeed what is useful, but what is honorable is better. On such principles children and persons of every age which requires education should be trained.
Quite often good things have hurtful consequences. There are instances of men who have been ruined by their money or killed by their courage.
For we are inquiring not in order to know what virtue is, but in order to become good, since otherwise our inquiry would have been of no use.
Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim.
The female is, as it were, a mutilated male, and the catamenia are semen, only not pure; for there is only one thing they have not in them, the principle of soul.
I have gained this by philosophy … I do without being ordered what some are constrained to do by their fear of the law.
Meanness is more ingrained in man's nature than Prodigality; the mass of mankind are avaricious rather than open-handed.
One who faces and who fears the right things and from the right motive, in the right way and at the right time, posseses character worthy of our trust and admiration.
Even hackneyed and commonplace maxims are to be used, if they suit one's purpose: just because they are commonplace, every one seems to agree with them, and therefore they are taken for truth.
It is accepted as democratic when public offices are allocated by lot; and as oligarchic when they are filled by election. -- Aristotle, Politics, Book IV.
Because the rich are generally few in number, while the poor are many, they appear to be antagonistic, and as the one or the other prevails they form the government. Hence arises the common opinion that there are two kinds of government -- democracy and oligarchy.
Democracy is the form of government in which the free are rulers, and oligarchy in which the rich; it is only an accident that the free are the many and the rich are the few.
A government which is composed of the middle class more nearly approximates to democracy than to oligarchy, and is the safest of the imperfect forms of government.
I have gained this by philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law.
We are what we repeatedly do... excellence, therefore, isn't just an act, but a habit and life isn't just a series of events, but an ongoing process of self-definition.
In painting, the most brilliant colors, spread at random and without design, will give far less pleasure than the simplest outline of a figure.
It is absurd to hold that a man should be ashamed of an inability to defend himself with his limbs, but not ashamed of an inability to defend himself with speech and reason; for the use of rational speech is more distinctive of a human being than the use of his limbs.
If you string together a set of speeches expressive of character, and well finished in point and diction and thought, you will not produce the essential tragic effect nearly so well as with a play which, however deficient in these respects, yet has a plot and artistically constructed incidents.
If, therefore, there is any one superior in virtue and in the power of performing the best actions, him we ought to follow and obey, but he must have the capacity for action as well as virtue.
Oh, wretched ephemeral race … why do you compel me to tell you what it would be most expedient for you not to hear? What is best of all is utterly beyond your reach: not to be born, not to be, to be nothing. But the second best for you is--to die soon.
It is clear, then, that wisdom is knowledge having to do with certain principles and causes. But now, since it is this knowledge that we are seeking, we must consider the following point: of what kind of principles and of what kind of causes is wisdom the knowledge?
Just as at the Olympic games it is not the handsomest or strongest men who are crowned with victory but the successful competitors, so in life it is those who act rightly who carry off all the prizes and rewards.
Such an event is probable in Agathon's sense of the word: 'it is probable,' he says, 'that many things should happen contrary to probability.'
So virtue is a purposive disposition, lying in a mean that is relative to us and determined by a rational principle, and by that which a prudent man would use to determine it. It is a mean between two kinds of vice, one of excess and the other of deficiency.
The most perfect political community must be amongst those who are in the middle rank, and those states are best instituted wherein these are a larger and more respectable part, if possible, than both the other; or, if that cannot be, at least than either of them separate.
Those who are not angry at the things they should be angry at are thought to be fools, and so are those who are not angry in the right way, at the right time, or with the right persons.
Perhaps here we have a clue to the reason why royal rule used to exist formerly, namely the difficulty of finding enough men of outstanding virtue.
Property should be in a general sense common, but as a general rule private... In well-ordered states, although every man has his own property, some things he will place at the disposal of his friends, while of others he shares the use of them.
The only stable principle of government is equality according to proportion, and for every man to enjoy his own.
If happiness, then, is activity expressing virtue, it is reasonable for it to express the supreme virtue, which will be the virtueof the best thing.
It is not easy for a person to do any great harm when his tenure of office is short, whereas long possession begets tyranny.
The rattle is a toy suited to the infant mind, and education is a rattle or toy for children of larger growth.
Justice therefore demands that no one should do more ruling than being ruled, but that all should have their turn.
What is the highest good in all matters of action? To the name, there is almost complete agreement; for uneducated and educated alike call it happiness, and make happiness identical with the good life and successful living. They disagree, however, about the meaning of happiness.
All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves.
All food must be capable of being digested, and that what produces digestion is warmth; that is why everything that has soul in it possesses warmth.
Goodness is to do good to the deserving and love the good and hate the wicked, and not to be eager to inflict punishment or take vengeance, but to be gracious and kindly and forgiving.
Now, the causes being four, it is the business of the student of nature to know about them all, and if he refers his problems back to all of them, he will assign the why in the way proper to his science-the matter, the form, the mover, that for the sake of which.
And this lies in the nature of things: What people are potentially is revealed in actuality by what they produce.
Every man should be responsible to others, nor should any one be allowed to do just as he pleases; for where absolute freedom is allowed, there is nothing to restrain the evil which is inherent in every man.
As for the story, whether the poet takes it ready made or constructs it for himself, he should first sketch its general outline, and then fill in the episodes and amplify in detail.
This element, the seat of the appetites and of desire in general, does in a sense participate in principle, as being amenable and obedient to it.
The soul suffers when the body is diseased or traumatized, while the body suffers when the soul is ailing.
To give a satisfactory decision as to the truth it is necessary to be rather an arbitrator than a party to the dispute.
Marriage is like retiring as a bachelor and getting a sexual pension. You don't have to work for the sex any more, but you only get 65% as much.
It makes no difference whether a good man has defrauded a bad man, or a bad man defrauded a good man, or whether a good or bad man has committed adultery: the law can look only to the amount of damage done.
A tragedy is the imitation of an action that is serious and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself ... with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its catharsis of such emotions.
Of governments there are said to be only two forms -- democracy and oligarchy. For aristocracy is considered to be a kind of oligarchy, as being the rule of a few, and the so-called constitutional government to be really a democracy.
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