The Life and Works of AristotleJune 26, 2021
Considered one of the two greatest thinkers of Western philosophy along with Plato, Aristotle was born in Stageira in Thrace, around 384/3 BC, and went to Athens at a young age and entered Plato’s Akademia.
He stayed in this most important philosophy school of antiquity for over twenty years, during which time he was deeply influenced by the philosophical teachings of his teacher, Plato. He himself expresses this effect with the phrase “we Platonists…” in some parts of his works. Upon Plato’s death around 398/7 BC, he left Athens and went first to Assos in Western Anatolia and then to the island of Lesbos (Lesbos), where he established schools, gave lessons and took students.
Around 343/2 BC, he was summoned to the palace of the Macedonian king to be the tutor of Alexander the Great, who was only twelve – thirteen years old at that time. (The fact that his father was one of the former doctors of the Macedonian palace must also have played a role in this invitation.) Although his close relationship with the Macedonian court played an important role in shaping Aristotle’s political and moral views, he was always viewed with suspicion by the Athenian people, who were concerned about Macedonia’s expansionist policies. Aristotle finally returned to Athens around 335/4 BC and established his own school. The school was called Liseum because it was in a region called “Liseus”, and the students of this school were also called peripathetics (wanderers) because the school students usually had their discussions by walking on the walking paths.
Since the students of the school named “Liseum” founded by Aristotle in Athens usually discussed philosophical or scientific issues in the courtyard of the school or on the walking paths, the members of this school were also called “peripathetics” meaning “wanderers”.
Even a cursory examination of Aristotle’s works is enough to determine that he wrote important works with rich content on many different subjects. There is no other name in the history of philosophy who has written so many important works on so many different subjects. Many commentators agree that Aristotle was the most ambitious and colorful researcher in the history of thought. Even a brief summary of his works will suffice to convince the reader of this idea.
One of Aristotle’s foremost works in terms of its effects on the history of thought is the Organon, in which he built the discipline of logic by himself. This work includes Categories (Categoriai), Peri Hermeneias (On Proposition), I. Analytics (Analytica I), II. It consists of six books, Analytics (Analytica II), Topiks (Topika), and Sophistic Refutations (Fairy Sophistikon Elegkon), and examines the basic principles on which reasoning is based.
Metaphysics, which is Aristotle’s work that most influenced the development of philosophy throughout the ages, is a voluminous work that deals with the problems of existence, which he calls “first philosophy” (prote philosophia). The book was named Metaphysika (after physics) because it was placed after Physika, another work of the philosopher, by his student Andronikos, who attempted to classify Aristotle’s works.
Among Aristotle’s many works, letters and writings, other important works that stand out are: Physika (Physics), in which he studies nature, Peri ta Zoa Historia (On Animals), in which he deals with animals, Peri Psyche (On the Spirit), in which he deals with the problem of the soul, and deals with moral problems. Ethika Nikomakhea (Nikomachus Ethics) and Ethika Eudemeia (Eudemos Ethics), Politics and Athenaion (State of the Athenians), in which she dealt with the problems of state and politics, Rhetorica in which she dealt with oratory, and Poetics on the subjects of art.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook