Ancient Philosophy


What was most important about Aristotle’s work?

To encourage the development of certain knowledge, Aristotle produced a theory of the rules of correct thought in his development of syllogistics, a form of logic that dominated the field until the modern period. Regarding science, Aristotle’s theory of causation was meant to show how things could come into existence and change, without reliance on Plato’s idea of a more real but hidden world. Aristotle, furthermore, advocated and practiced observation and classification in all fields.

Aristotle’s sense of ethics was also more down-to-earth than Plato’s. He believed that happiness was an appropriate and universal goal for human beings and that it could be attained by developing and practicing virtues, which were inclinations to behave in certain ways.

Unlike Plato, Aristotle did not have an idea of a utopian form of government, but rather claimed that government arises naturally from organizations of families, clans, and villages. The purpose of government, according to Aristotle, is to support individual well-being and self-sufficiency.

While Aristotle agreed with Plato that the arts were a form of imitation, he showed that they did not necessarily falsify reality, because they could be about universal human truths, rather than mere distorted copies of actual people and events.


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