Aristotle. 384-322 BC. Philosopher, one of the most influential dialecticians in the world, founder of formal logic, creator of many concepts and terms of philosophy. Aristotle's philosophical system addressed various aspects of human development and in many ways influenced the further development of scientific thinking.
Life and Work:
1. The writings of ancient historians often refer to the Philosopher, the Orator, the Poet, all written with a capital letter. The Poet for the Greeks means Homer, for the Romans it's Virgil, the Orator is Demosthenes or Cicero, respectively. And the Philosopher is always Aristotle. Both for the Greeks and for the Romans.
2. Medieval scholastics used Aristotle's authority to strike down their opponents by saying “Magister dixit,” which means “The teacher has said it.”
3. The authority of Aristotle was truly indisputable: after all, the great Greek philosopher “embraced,” as Brockhaus and Efron figuratively put it, all scientific knowledge of his time.
4. Aristotle is sometimes also described with the epithet Stagirite. This is a reference to his birthplace: the ancient Greek scholar and polymath was born in Stagira, a Greek colony not far from Mount Athos.
5. Aristotle was the son of a court physician named Nicomachus, and as a child he was a playmate of Philip, the future King of Macedon and the father of the famed Alexander of Macedon.
6. Later, Aristotle became Alexander's tutor, and the King had a high appreciation of his work, saying, “I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.”
7. Aristotle was orphaned early in his youth, but he never abandoned his study of sciences and reading. He traveled to Athens where he studied and then taught at Plato's Academy until Plato's death.
8. Later, Aristotle created his own school, or gymnasium in Greek. The school stood in a forest near the temple dedicated to Apollo Lyceus, which later earned it its name, the Lyceum.
9. Disciples and followers of Aristotle came to be known as the Peripatetics, derived from the Greek verb for “walking,” due to Aristotle's tendency to walk as he taught.
10. What did Aristotle teach? Everything he knew, everything he himself thought of. Aristotle collected and systematized almost all scientific knowledge of the ancient world and considered all the key philosophical problems of his time.
11. Aristotle brought together all information on biology, physics, astronomy, psychology, literary theory, and originated zoology and formal logic. He was the first scholar to separate astronomical phenomena from atmospheric phenomena and originated meteorology, he gave the name “politics” to the study of the state, introduced the term “category” and other less known terms to philosopher's vocabulary.
12. Metaphysics is something we owe to Aristotle as well: this is the name of his writings that followed his Physics.
13. Aristotle was married twice. His first wife was Pythias, the adopted daughter of Hermias who was a tyrant of Atarneus, a city in Asia Minor. Hermias was also a disciple of Plato and a friend of Aristotle. Aristotle and Pythias had a daughter named Pythias the Younger. After the death of his first wife, Aristotle grieved deeply and even erected a mausoleum for her. But eventually he found solace and married his slave Herpyllis. She bore him a son, Nicomachus.
14. Aristotle's vast philosophical legacy offers many wise thoughts. We repeat his aphorisms having no idea that they were first uttered by Aristotle. Just like he said, we choose the lesser of two evils, know that the roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet, and live not to eat, but eat to live.
15. It is said that when Alexander the Great fell under the influence of hetaera Phyllis, Aristotle begged her to leave Alexander. The cunning hetaera laid it down as a condition that the philosopher had to let her ride him like a horse. But as she was riding him, Alexander came in. But the philosopher's humiliation turned into his triumph as he said, “If thus it happened to me, an old man most wise, that I was deceived by a woman, you can see that I taught you well, that it could happen to you, a young man,” and so he won.
16. The grateful student erected a monument to his teacher during his lifetime.
17. After Alexander's death, the political struggle in Athens escalated, and Aristotle, who had an influence on the youth, was accused of impiety. “I will not allow the Athenians to sin twice against philosophy,” he said – a reference to the execution of Socrates, and left Athens.
18. A year after his flight from Athens to Chalcis, Aristotle passed away. According to his will, he was buried with his first wife, as she had requested.