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Aristotle's Writings

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) was born in the northern Greek town of Stagiros, (Dickson & Shepherd, 1996). Aristotle was heavily influenced by the works and ideas of Plato, having spent twenty years studying at PlatoÆs school, the Academy. Aristotle was the son of a physician, who was the personal physician of king Amyntas II, of Macedonia, the grandfather of Alexander the Great. AristotleÆs knowledge of anatomy and organic structure helped him develop powerful observation skills that led to many of his discoveries. When he was a young boy, both of AristotleÆs parents died, forcing him to be raised by his guardian named Proxenus.

At seventeen, Aristotle enrolled in PlatoÆs Academy in Athens, where he remained for two decades as a student, researcher, lecturer, and scientist, (Dickson, et al., 2004). When Plato died, Aristotle moved and lived with another pupil of Plato, Hermeias, whose daughter, Pithias, he married. Aristotle was the teacher of Alexander until the murder of Philip of Macedon. In 335 B.C. Aristotle returned to Athens and founded his own school, the Lyceum, (Dickson, et al., 2004). When Alexander died a twelve years later, Aristotle was charged with ôimpietyö by the Athenians, but he asserted he would not let the Athenians ôsin twice against philosophy,ö (Dickson, et al., 2004, p. 1). Aristotle succumbed to illness a year afterward, dying at the age of sixty-two.

AristotleÆs writings include memoranda, popular writings, and treatises which he used for lectures and teaching at the Lyceum. Within these writings we find the philosophy of Aristotle on a number of topics, from epic art and tragedy to his views on virtue, justice, and the good life. Three of AristotleÆs most significant writings that remain influential to this day are his treatises known as Rhetoric, Poetics, and Nichomachean Ethics. In Rhetoric, Aristotle took issue with PlatoÆs disdain for rhetoric as an art and skill.


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