Ancient Philosophy


Did Aristotle lack a sense of humor?

Aristotle’s writing style is magisterial, but his surviving texts are uniformly sober and dry, despite their overall common sense. We can’t know what he was like personally, although he was described as having been thin and bald, speaking with a lisp, and displaying a sardonic disposition. When he retired to Chalcis, in the wake of anti-Macedonian reactions in Athens after Alexander died (325 B.C.E.), he is said to have remarked that he did so “lest the Athenians should sin twice against philosophy”—a thinly veiled reference to the trial of Socrates.


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