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Transcript of Aristotle
Aristotle continues to hold an importance in today's society for his influential writings and works on various subjects, his introduction to the subject of political law and the ways in which his theories have led to advancements in technology and principles.
The Life of Aristotle
Aristotle was born in Stagira, a northern colony of Greece.
He was introduced to anatomy and medical practices at a young age by his father, a personal physician for King Amyntas of Macedon.
At the age of eighteen, he went to Athens to continue his education at Plato’s Academy, where he studied for nearly twenty years.
Aristotle was requested by Philip II of Macedon to become his son Alexander’s, whom we know as Alexander the Great’s tutor, in 343 BC.
By 335 BC, Aristotle had returned to Athens and established his own school, Lyceum, where he conducted courses for the next twelve years. During this time, it is said that Aristotle composed many of his works on the subjects of logic, nature, psychology, ethics, politics, and art.
Early in the year 322 BC, political feelings changed and Aristotle feld Macedonia.
Aristotle later died of natural causes in 322 BC.
The Writing and Works of Aristotle
Key Historical Event
Upon Alexander's death, anti-Macedonian sentiment in Athens once again flared. Aristotle was denounced for not holding the gods in honor. For this reason, he then fled the city to his mother's estate in Chalcis, explaining, "I will not allow the Athenians to sin twice against philosophy," a reference to Athens's prior trial and execution of Socrates. This historical event not only shaped his philosophies but also reinforced what he had always believed.
Aristotle’s works have been lost and rediscovered many times. It is believed that only one fifth of his work has survived.
One of Aristotle’s students, Theophrastus managed to preserve Aristotle’s books in a vault to protect them from theft. Unfortunately, the books were damaged from dampness, and an infestation of worms and moths. These books were later found by Apellicon, in the year 100 BC, who took the books to Rome, where new editions were made by interested students.
Aristotle’s works include Politics, which is made up of 8 books on political philosophy. Politics was influenced by Plato's Republic and Laws. Aristotle also wrote about his philosophies on justice and ethics in the book Nicomachean, which is one of his best known works.
Philosophy on Justice:
Aristotle defined justice in two parts, general justice and particular justice. General justice refers to a form of a universal justice that can only exist in a perfect society. Particular justice is defined as the idea of a crime consequently given a punishment.
Philosophy on Ethics:
Aristotle believed that ethics were a philosophical subject which handled the question of the best way to live. His answer to this was to live the life of philosophy and contemplation. He believed that in order to obtain true happiness in life, one must live a virtuous life.
Philosophy on Politics:
Aristotle defined politics as the natural community of a city. In Aristotle's opinion, the aim of a city is not just to prevent injustice or keep economic safety, but rather to allow at at least some citizens the possibility to live a good life.
*Aristotle had many other philosophies on the subjects of science and literature.
Influence on Later Groups
Aristotle is considered to be one of the most important figures in Western philosophy. He was one of the first of the great thinkers to systematize philosophy and science. His workings of logic contain the earliest formal study of logic that was recorded and was not superseded until the late nineteenth century. It is believed that Aristotle not only studied almost every subject possible at the time, but also made significant contributions to most of them. His theories continue to be the basic methods by which we understand ourselves and the world today.
History of Legal Thought
"It is in justice that the ordering of society is centered."
Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)
"Politics appears to be the master art for it includes so many others and its purpose is the good of man. While it is worthy to perfect one man, it is finer and more godlike to perfect a nation."
Aristotle (Nico. I.2.)
"We punish a man for his ignorance if he is thought to be responsible for his ignorance."
Aristotle (Nico. III.5.)
"Law exists for men between whom there is injustice. Injustice is the assigning of too much good to oneself and too little evil."
Aristotle (Nico. V.6.)
"Men think that acting unjustly is in their power and therefore that being just is easy. But to act justly a certain state of character, which is not in our power, is necessary and not always easy to find."
Aristotle (Nico. V.9.)