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Aristotle

Aristotle was born in 384 BC in the city of Stagira in Chalkidiki (Macedonia, Greece). We know that his father’s name was Nichomachus and he was court physician to Amyntas III of Macedonia (the father of Philip II of Macedon and grandfather of Alexander the Great). Aristotle was no doubt introduced to Greek medicine and biology at an early age. After his father’s death (in 367 BC), Aristotle was sent to Athens and became a pupil and later a teacher at Plato’s Academy. He remained there for 20 years, until Plato’s death in 347 BC, and gained a reputation in rhetoric.

What is Aristotle known for?

Aristotle is one of the most prolific philosophers of ancient Greece, along with Plato. He is one of the greatest thinkers in politics, psychology, and ethics and he is considered the “Father of Western Philosophy”.

Aristotle was also the teacher Alexander the Great. He established a library in the Lyceum in Athens which aided in the production of many of his hundreds of books.  After Plato’s death, Aristotle immersed himself in empirical studies and shifted from Platonism to empiricism. Aristotle believed that all peoples’ concepts and all of their knowledge were ultimately based on perception. Aristotle’s views on natural sciences represent the groundwork underlying many of his works.

The medieval scholarship was profoundly shaped by Aristotle’s views on physical science. His influence extended into the Renaissance and was not replaced systematically until the Enlightenment and theories such as classical mechanics. Some of Aristotle’s zoological observations were not confirmed or refuted until the 19th century. His works contain the earliest known formal study of logic, which was incorporated in the late 19th century into modern formal logic.

In metaphysics, Aristotelianism profoundly influenced Judeo-Islamic philosophical and theological thought during the Middle Ages and continues to influence Christian theology, especially the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church. Aristotle was well known among medieval Muslim intellectuals and revered as “The First Teacher”.

His ethics, though always influential, gained renewed interest with the modern advent of virtue ethics. All aspects of Aristotle’s philosophy continue to be the object of active academic study today. Though Aristotle wrote many elegant treatises and dialogues – Cicero described his literary style as “a river of gold” – it is thought that only around a third of his original output has survived.