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Greek philosopher
(384 - 322 BC)

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Aristotle (384-322 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher. He was a student of Plato and a teacher of Alexander the Great. Along with Plato and Socrates (Plato's teacher), Aristotle is one of the key founders of Western philosophy: many of the questions he raised are still being debated today.

In 335 BC he set up the Peripatetic school of philosophy in Athens (it was was dubbed "peripatetic" as the philosophers in this school loved to walk around while they discussed their philosophic ideas).

Aristotle's works included the Metaphysics, the Nichomachean Ethics, the Politics, the Ethics, the Organon, On the Soul, the Historia animalium, and Analytics.

We make war that we may live in peace.
-- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

Tragedy is thus a representation of an action that is worthy serious attention, complete in itself and of some amplitude... by means of pity and fear bringing about the purgation (catharsis) of such emotions.
-- Aristotle, Poetics

A whole is that which has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
-- Aristotle, Poetics, referring to the dramatic form of tragedy

Man is by nature a political animal.
-- Aristotle, Politics

If liberty and equality, as is thought by some are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost.
-- Aristotle, Politics

Nature does nothing uselessly.
-- Aristotle, Politics

When he was asked, "What is a friend?" he said "A single soul dwelling in two bodies."
-- Aristotle, quoted in: Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers

The Nicomachean Ethics, by Aristotle (Penguin Classics)The Nicomachean Ethics, by Aristotle (Penguin Classics) Of Aristotle's works, few have had as lasting an influence on subsequent Western thought as The Nicomachean Ethics. In it, he argues that happiness consists in "activity of the soul in accordance with virtue," defining "virtue" as both moral (courage, generosity, and justice) and intellectual (knowledge, wisdom, and insight). Aristotle also discusses the nature of practical reasoning, the different forms of friendship, and the relationship between individual virtue and the state. Featuring a lucid translation, a new introduction, updated suggestions for further reading, and a chronology of Aristotle's life and works, this is the authoritative edition of a seminal intellectual masterpiece.

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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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