Why not trust Aristotle, “Quality is not an act. It is a habit.”

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Why not trust Aristotle, “Quality is not an act.  It is a habit.”

Aristotle

384—322 , Greek philosopher, b. Stagira. He is sometimes called the Stagirite.

Aristotle’s father, Nicomachus, was a noted physician. Aristotle studied (367—347 ) under Plato at the Academy and there wrote many dialogues that were praised for their eloquence. Only fragments of these dialogues are extant. He tutored (342—c.339 ) Alexander the Great at the Macedonian court, left to live in Stagira, and then returned to Athens. In 335 he opened a school in the Lyceum; some distinguished members of the Academy followed him. His practice of lecturing in the Lyceum’s portico, or covered walking place (peripatos), gave his school the name Peripatetic. During the anti-Macedonian agitation after Alexander’s death, Aristotle fled in 323 to Chalcis, where he died.

Aristotle’s extant writings consist largely of his written versions of his lectures; some passages appear to be interpolations of notes made by his students; the texts were edited and given their present form by Andronicus of Rhodes in the 1st cent. Chief among them are the Organum, consisting of six treatises on logic; Physics; Metaphysics; De Anima [on the soul]; Nicomachean Ethics and Eudemian Ethics; De Poetica [poetics]; Rhetoric; and a series of works on biology and physics. In the late 19th cent. his Constitution of Athens, an account of Athenian government, was found.

All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, and desire

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All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, and desire

Aristotle was appointed as the head of the royal academy of Macedon. During that time he gave lessons not only to Alexander, but also to two other future kings: Ptolemy and Cassander. In his Politics, Aristotle states that only one thing could justify monarchy, and that was if the virtue of the king and his family were greater than the virtue of the rest of the citizens put together. Tactfully, he included the young prince and his father in that category. Aristotle encouraged Alexander toward eastern conquest, and his attitude towards Persia was unabashedly ethnocentric. In one famous example, he counsels Alexander to be ‘a leader to the Greeks and a despot to the barbarians, to look after the former as after friends and relatives, and to deal with the latter as with beasts or plants’.

By 335 BC he had returned to Athens, establishing his own school there known as the Lyceum. Aristotle conducted courses at the school for the next twelve years. While in Athens, his wife Pythias died and Aristotle became involved with Herpyllis of Stageira, who bore him a son whom he named after his father, Nicomachus. According to the Suda, he also had an eromenos, Palaephatus of Abydus.

It is during this period in Athens from 335 to 323 BC when Aristotle is believed to have composed many of his works. Aristotle wrote many dialogues, only fragments of which survived. The works that have survived are in treatise form and were not, for the most part, intended for widespread publication, as they are generally thought to be lecture aids for his students. His most important treatises include Physics, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, De Anima (On the Soul) and Poetics.

Aristotle not only studied almost every subject possible at the time, but made significant contributions to most of them. In physical science, Aristotle studied anatomy, astronomy, embryology, geography, geology, meteorology, physics and zoology. In philosophy, he wrote on aesthetics, ethics, government, metaphysics, politics, economics, psychology, rhetoric and theology. He also studied education, foreign customs, literature and poetry. His combined works constitute a virtual encyclopedia of Greek knowledge. It has been suggested that Aristotle was probably the last person to know everything there was to be known in his own time.

Near the end of Alexander’s life, Alexander began to suspect plots against himself, and threatened Aristotle in letters. Aristotle had made no secret of his contempt for Alexander’s pretense of divinity, and the king had executed Aristotle’s grandnephew Callisthenes as a traitor. A widespread tradition in antiquity suspected Aristotle of playing a role in Alexander’s death, but there is little evidence for this.

All virtue is summed up in dealing justly

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All virtue is summed up in dealing justly

The aim of Aristotle”s logical treatises (known collectively as the Organon) was to develop a universal method of reasoning by means of which it would be possible to learn everything there is to know about reality. Thus, the Categories proposes a scheme for the description of particular things in terms of their properties, states, and activities. On Interpretation, Prior Analytics, and Posterior Analytics examine the nature of deductive inference, outlining the system of syllogistic reasoning from true propositions that later came to be known as categorical logic. Though not strictly one of the logical works, the Physics contributes to the universal method by distinguishing among the four causes which may be used to explain everything, with special concern for why things are the way they are and the apparent role of chance in the operation of the world. In other treatises, Aristotle applied this method, with its characteristic emphasis on teleological explanation, to astronomical and biological explorations of the natural world

1. Discover

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If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?
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