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Aristotle and Plato

Aristotle and Plato are linked not only in that each are well-known Greek philosophers from the ancient world but in that Plato was once the teacher and Aristotle the student, but Aristotle diverged from the thinking of his teacher and took a different view of knowledge and of various aspects of philosophy. Allen writes, "Aristotle's thought is in some ways a mirror image of Plato's" (Allen 21). Plato was a rationalist and believed that reality can only be grasped by intuitive reason, while Aristotle was an empiricist who saw perception as the only avenue to reality. These approaches to knowledge represent two opposing types of philosophy. Plato was an idealist, while Aristotle was a realist (Allen 21). The two philosophers can be contrasted on a number of issues and on their philosophical style as well.

Plato presented his philosophical inquiries in the form utilized by his mentor, Socrates, that form being the Socratic dialogue. The philosopher-teacher would ask questions of his followers-pupils, and they would answer. Socrates would guide the discussion and convince his followers through reasoned argument (Janaway 357). Aristotle did not usually make use of the dialogue form, though he did write some dialogues. Most of his work is in the form of treatises which may or may not have been lecture notes. Plato created the Academy, a school to convey his ideas, while Aristotle created the Lyceum as a rival institution.

Plato approached the issue of knowledge and found that ideas, as he used the term, are not only something in human consciousness but something outside it as well. Platonic Ideas are subjective and do not depend on human thought but exist entirely in their own right. They are perfect patterns that exist in the very nature of things. Such an idea is not just a human idea but the idea of the universe itself, so that the universe can express itself externally in concrete form or internally as a concept in ...

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Aristotle and Plato. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 16:30, March 20, 2019, from