Week 5 Aristotle 1Week 5 Lecture NoteThis Week•Comparing Plato and Aristotle•Nicomachean Ethics Book 1•Politics Book 1, 2 (partial) Bio- Born in 384BC in Stageria- Father was personal physician to king of Macedonia- At age 17, he went to Athens to study at Plato’s academyHe stayed there for 20 years until Plato’s death in 347BC- Aristotle fled Athens in 347, maybe because of anti-Macedonian sentiment- In 343BC, he was called to tutor 13-year-old Alexander, son of Phillip of Macedondid this for 3 years- In 335BC, Aristotle returned to Athens to establish his school the Lyceum and died 12 years later- Lyceum was known for its extraordinary library, which became the model for the famous library at Alexandria- He had assistants gather evidence and materials relating to a number of diverse subjects: biology, medicine, astronomy, politics- Aristotle also was responsible for systematizing knowledge into distinct categories based on the type of thinking that was appropriate to each- Aristotle conducted nightly lectures that were open to any young men who were interested1
Week 5 Aristotle 1- But he also held morning lectures that were exclusive to those who had sufficient education and dedication- It was in these lectures that Aristotle clarified his views on ethics and politics- The works that survive from Aristotle were intended for his advanced studentsPlato and Aristotle: Ideas and Down to Earth Picture: A part of Raphael’s fresco “The school of Athens”Plato points upward and Aristotle downward.Plato- For Plato, the ultimate subject of knowledge is the form of the good and the forms.- The forms: The forms exist beyond the sensible world. The objects in sensible world participate in or resemble the form. So, the real world is a full of imperfect imitations. 2
Week 5 Aristotle 1- The just city: Constructing an ideal city (a just city) and try to build a city closely resembles the ideal city in the real world.- How the just city works: Share of women and child, women guardians, etc. The radical arguments of Plato are driven from his thoughts that share of women and child among the guardians will maintain the unity of the city andthat some women are as qualified as some men. The radical arguments of his could not have been made if he based his arguments on the reality, in which owning property and keeping women at home are unquestionable practices.Aristotle- Aristotle’s Division of knowledge- Ethics and politics for Aristotle is different than metaphysics and mathematics.- For Plato, the rulers should know the form of the good. From Aristotle’s perspective, Plato is saying that theoretical knowledge makes one a good ruler. Butethics and politics are practical sciences.3
Week 5 Aristotle 1While theoretical knowledge looks for the “truth” or “true knowledge”, practical sciences aim to realize “a good life”. Aristotle thinks that knowing the truth itself does not teach us how to live a good life. Living a good life is action and practice, not knowledge.