(a little history never hurts)

With the possible exception of Plato, Aristotle, 384-322 BC, is the most influential philosopher in the history of Western thought. Until the 20th century, logic was basically Aristotelian logic. The study of the natural sciences was dominated by Aristotle until early modern times, and modern physics was developed in reaction to the Aristotelian tradition. His metaphysics continues to be the subject of philosophical debate, although his ethics now constitutes that part of his philosophy which appeals most to contemporary philosophers. Aristotle's influence was such that for over 1000 years, he was referred to as "The Philosopher."

Aristotle was born in 384 BCE. in Greece. Like Plato, he came from a well-to-do family, and when he was 17 he was sent to Athens. There, he joined the Academy and studied under Plato for almost twenty years. ALthough he was one of Plato's best students, the two disagreed tremendously. Most notably, Aristotle wholeheartedly rejected the theory of forms upon which Plato based most of his ideas. He left Athens, and eventually got a job as the tutor of Alexander the Great (although he wasn't known as "great" until later on, after conquering, greece, egypt, turkey, iraq, huge parts of india, and more).

Much like Socrates, Aristotle didn't write anything on his own. Instead his books are notes taken by his students and then compiled into book or treatise form. That's when you know your teacher is good. Of course, even if your teacher isn't Aristotle (and I'm certainly not) it's a good practice- take notes!

WHen Alexander became king, Aristotle returned to Athens and founded his own School, the Lyceum. This is the name used still in most of europe for "high scool"- lycee in French, Lyceo in Spanish, etc… After a while, he was charged with impiety (lack of respect towards the gods), just as Socrates had been before him. However, instead of staying and dying as Socrates did, Aristotle chose to get out of town- he is supposed to have said that he left so that "The Athenians might not have another opportunity of sinning against philosophy as they had already done in the person of Socrates." He eventually died, since, just like Socrates, Aristotle was mortal.

For the IB we will be focusing on his Nicomachean Ethics, widely considered his most mature work on the topic.

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