Aristotle : biography
Aristotle ( , Aristotélēs) (384 BC – 322 BC)That these undisputed dates (the first half of the Olympiad year 384/383 BC, and in 322 shortly before the death of Demosthenes) are correct was shown already by August Boeckh (Kleine Schriften VI 195); for further discussion, see Felix Jacoby on FGrHist 244 F 38. Ingemar Düring, Aristotle in the Ancient Biographical Tradition, Göteborg, 1957, p. 253. was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology. Together with Plato and Socrates (Plato’s teacher), Aristotle is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. Aristotle’s writings were the first to create a comprehensive system of Western philosophy, encompassing ethics, aesthetics, logic, science, politics, and metaphysics.
Aristotle’s views on the physical sciences profoundly shaped medieval scholarship, and their influence extended well into the Renaissance, although they were ultimately replaced by Newtonian physics. In the zoological sciences, some of his observations were confirmed to be accurate only in 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 had a profound influence on philosophical and theological thinking in the Islamic and Jewish traditions in the Middle Ages, and it continues to influence Christian theology, especially the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church. Aristotle was well known among medieval Muslim intellectuals and revered as ‘المعلم الأول’ – "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 the majority of his writings are now lost and only about one-third of the original works have survived.Jonathan Barnes, "Life and Work" in The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle (1995), p. 9.
Aristotle, whose name means "the best purpose," was born in Stagira, Chalcidice, in 384 BC, about east of modern-day Thessaloniki. His father Nicomachus was the personal physician to King Amyntas of Macedon. Although there is little information on Aristotle’ childhood, he probably did spend some time then in the Macedonian palace, making his first connections with the Macedonian monarchy.Anagnostopoulos, G., "Aristotle’s Life", A Companion to Aristotle (Blackwell Publishing, 2009), p. 4. At about the age of eighteen, he went to Athens to continue his education at Plato’s Academy. Aristotle remained at the academy for nearly twenty years before leaving Athens in 348/47 BC. The traditional story about his departure reports that he was disappointed with the direction the academy took after control passed to Plato’s nephew Speusippus upon his death, although it is possible that he feared anti-Macedonian sentiments and left before Plato had died.Carnes Lord, Introduction to The Politics, by Aristotle (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984). He then traveled with Xenocrates to the court of his friend Hermias of Atarneus in Asia Minor. While in Asia, Aristotle traveled with Theophrastus to the island of Lesbos, where together they researched the botany and zoology of the island. Aristotle married Hermias’s adoptive daughter (or niece) Pythias. She bore him a daughter, whom they named Pythias. Soon after Hermias’ death, Aristotle was invited by Philip II of Macedon to become the tutor to his son Alexander in 343 BC.Bertrand Russell, "A History of Western Philosophy", Simon & Schuster, 1972