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Aristotle, (Stagira, 384 BC - Chalcis, 322 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher and scientist, known as the "philosopher of immanence. " He is considered one of the most innovative and prolific men of Western culture in the ancient world and one of the most respected and influential philosophical minds, as well as a precursor of discoveries in various fields of knowledge.
Remains of the walls of Stagira
Aristotle was born in 384 BC to Stagira, Macedonian city in Chalkidiki (northern Greece). It is said that his father, Nicomachus, and lived with Amyntas, king of the Macedonians, by lending the services of doctor and friend. Aristotle, as the son of the royal physician, must therefore reside in the capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia, Pella. Orphaned at a young age, he had to move to Atarneo, a town in Asia Minor, opposite the island of Lesbos, Prosseno guardian, who, around 367 BC, he sent him to Athens to study in the Academy, founded by Plato about twenty years ago, where he remained until the death of his master. Aristotle was therefore never a citizen of Athens but a metics.
When the seventeen year old enters the Academy Aristotle, Plato was in Syracuse for a year, at the invitation of Dion, a relative of Dionysius I, and only return to Athens in 364 BC in recent years, according to the teaching approach of the Academy, Aristotle had to start with the study of mathematics, to spend three years after the dialectic.
To hold the school is Eudoxus of Cnidus, a scientist who had influenced the young student who, after many years, Nicomachean Ethics wrote that the reasoning of Eudoxus' faith they had bought more for the virtues of his costumes for themselves: it appeared an unusual temperance, seeming to think, in identifying the good with pleasure, not because a lover of pleasure, but because he thought it was really like that. "
The early works
The Cricket on the rhetoric
Around 360 BC the young Aristotle wrote his first work entitled On the Grill or rhetoric in reaction to a series of writings of praise - some composed of Athenian orators, among whom Isocrates, to celebrate Grillo, son of Xenophon, who died in 362 BC the Battle of Mantinea - Aristotle contended against rhetoric as a means to act on feelings, the irrational part of the soul. Plato, the Gorgias, had argued that the rhetoric was not an art nor a science, but simply a εμπειρία (empeirìa), a pervasive practice that can only be successful on the ignorant. The success of the Academy Cricket authority to Aristotle, the task of maintaining a course in rhetoric, in which, following Plato's Phaedrus, he argued that the rhetoric was to be based on the dialectic. In that respect, it was handed down in the years he made his debut in the first lesson with the phrase: "It is shameful silence and let Isocrates speak."
Written shortly after the Cricket, the Treaty on the ideas has been lost except a few fragments, submitted by Alexander of Aphrodisias. We are addressing the difficulty of understanding the relationship between ideas and things, conceived by Plato as a sharing of things to ideas, however, that they are separate.
Eudoxus alleged that between ideas and things there was no separation, or participation, but mixis, mix: ideas and things are mixed together. Aristotle does not accept the theory Eudossiana, that does not solve the problem, but also criticizes the Platonic theory of separation of aporia in Plato himself was well aware of the rest, as in his dialogue Parmenides. For Aristotle, the principle of all things lies not in transcendent ideas, but in their "forms" immanent.
Plato and Aristotle, detail from the relief of the Giotto's bell tower of Luca della Robbia, 1437-1439, Florence
In an attempt to overcome another difficulty of the ideas contained in the theory, which, being many, according to Plato, they need to be justified by a unitary principle, Plato introduced the principles of unity (identified with the Good) and Dyad (the large and small), the first has the function of formal principle and the second serves as a material principle.
It is likely that the conclusions of the Treaty on the Aristotelian Well, written around 358 BC and of which a few fragments remain, were those exposed in the mature Met (A 6, 987 b 6 ff.) "Plato called ideas other than sensitive beings and said that all the sensible things we talk about addiction in the ideas and according to the ideas: in fact many things that have the same name ideas exist for participation [...] but what was the participation or the imitation of ideas is a problem that [Plato and the Pythagoreans] left open. Plato also says that in addition to sensible things and ideas are things mathematical, which are intermediate and vary from sensible things because they are eternal and immovable, and ideas differ from the fact that there are many similar, and each idea is unique in itself [...]. Basically, Plato placed the Dyad, that is the great and small, as the subject, and posed as the One substance, the large and small, for participation in the One, we are the ideas, which are the numbers that come from [...] those principles Plato argued a thesis similar to that of the Pythagoreans, and there were doubts about their positions, when he said that the numbers are the cause of the substance of the other things [...] he appointed only two cases, the 'essence and the material cause, because the ideas are the cause of the essence of things, while the One is because the essence of ideas. "
Aristotle, therefore, already rejected in the first period of its formation the theory of ideas in the long process made by Plato, but by meditating on it, drew his own teaching because of the formal and material cause.
The Eudemus or On the Soul
In 354 BC, the death in war, at Syracuse, friend and classmate Eudemus of Cyprus, Aristotle wrote, in the form of comforting and not speculative, another dialogue, which arrived in pieces, the Eudemus or soul, in which, modeled on Plato's Phaedo, would support the thesis of the immortality of the rational soul, as indicated in the form of back problems while Metaphysics (Λ 3, 1070 at 24-26): "If anything remains after the individual, is a matter yet to be examined. In some cases, nothing prevents that something remains, for example, the soul can be a thing of this kind, not all, but only the intellectual part, because it is not possible that the soul exists after all. "
For the mature Aristotle, the soul is not an idea but essentially informing the body nell'Eudemo is clear however is the opposition between soul and body, so that the Jaeger considered the demonstration of full accession to the young Aristotle Platonism; early supporters of the distancing of Aristotle from Plato means that instead declared as an official opposition comforting the intent of the dialogue, in which Aristotle would have deliberately overstated the fate of the soul after death.
In any case, the fragments do not allow to deduce dell'Eudemo adherence to the doctrines of Platonic ideas separate from the sensible objects and knowledge-based reminder.
The Protreptico or exhortation to philosophy, known by the numerous references contained in the work of Iamblichus same title, dedicated to Temisone king of a city of Cyprus, had to be written around 350 BC
The Protreptico is an exhortation to philosophy, this being the greatest of goods, since it has to do itself, while the other sciences have to order something other than itself. Aristotle locates the human being the division between body and soul, "one of us is the soul and the body part is, the one in charge, and the other is controlled, one of the other uses and 'other subject as an instrument that commands [...] Soul and judges for us is the reason, the remainder is controlled by nature and obeys [...] So the soul is better than the body, being more suitable for controlling, and this is the best part that has reason and thought, 'not seen as a division opposition, as nell'Eudemo, but as a collaboration: the body is the instrument of the action of the soul, the rational part of 'soul.
"Things that are generated, some are generated by the intelligence and art, for example, the house and the ship, others are generated not by art but by nature of living beings and plants, in fact, the cause is nature and by nature are created all things of this sort, but others are created for the event, and all those are not generated for either art or nature, or by necessity, and all these things, very many, we say that are generated by chance. " There is no purpose in the case but there is in art and nature: nature is the order tends to an end, and end of man is knowledge.
The philosophy is that profit is good, but goodness is to be preferred over the utility, "some things, without which it is impossible to live, we love a view of something different from them, and these must necessarily call and concurrent causes, others but we love them for themselves, even if it does not imply anything different, and these we call his property [...] It would be totally ridiculous to try to do anything other than the utility itself, and ask: "What it is beneficial and what do we help you? ". He does not look like that would put these questions in anything to someone who knows what is beautiful and good nor one that recognizes that what is cause and what is concomitant. " It is a polemic, this, against the positions of Isocrates who, in his Antidosis, written against the Aristotle of Grillo, attacked a knowledge that was of no practical benefit. In addition this work, it is certainly dated, it is crucial for studies of historiography as it enables us to create a chronological outline of some books of the Metaphysics according to the presence (or not) in them previously been discussed in Protreptico. Moreover, to do philosophy is Aristotle still need demonstrated by the fact that "those who think it is necessary to philosophize, to philosophy and those who think that we should not philosophizing, philosophizing has to demonstrate that one should not philosophize, then you should philosophize at all case or go here, bidding farewell to life, since all the other things seem to be just talk and nonsense. "
The De philosophia
De Philosophia, received in fragments, was written around 355 BC and is divided into three books: Aristotle defines philosophy in the first knowledge of the principles of reality, in the second criticizes the Platonic doctrine of ideas and ideas-numbers, in the third sets out his theology.
Reiterates not deny the transcendence of ideas and ideas-ideal number or numbers, introduced by the late Plato: "If the ideas are another kind of number, not math, we would have no understanding, who among us, including a type different number? ". And Cicero (De Natura deorum, 1, 13) to quote, critically, the third book of De philosophia, "Aristotle in the third book of his work philosophy confuses many things disagreeing with his teacher Plato. Now it gives all the gods to mind, now says that the world itself is god, now prepends to be another world and entrusted the task of ruling and governing the movement of some of the world through revolutions and retrograde movements, sometimes says that God is light, not realizing that the sky is a part of that world and elsewhere has been appointed as the divine power. "
The proof of the necessity and immutability of God is provided by the testimony of Simplicius (De Coel, 228): "Where there is a better, there is also a very good, because, between what exists, there is a reality superior to another, there will consequently a perfect reality, to be [...] the divine power, and concludes his immutability. " Pure thought and immutable, God can not create the world, which is also eternal, as reported by Cicero (Tuscolane, 15, 42): "The world has never been home since there was no beginning, for the occurrence a new decision, a work so excellent, "and also attests to the concept of divinity of the stars:" The stars then occupy the ethereal. And since this is the thinnest of all and is always moving and always maintains its vital force, it is necessary that the being who is born alive is feeling well prepared and very ready to go. Wherefore, since the stars are being born into the ether, it is logical that they include inherent sensitivity and intelligence. Since it appears that the stars must be considered in the number of gods. "
The abandonment of the Academy and the foundation of Peripato
Aristotle tutor to Alexander the Great
In 347 BC Plato died, and the direction of the Academy is called Speusippus, grandson of the great Athenian philosopher. Aristotle, who was evidently regarded as the most worthy to leave the school together with Xenocrates, another pretender to the leadership of the Academy, and moved to Atarneo, invited by the tyrant of the city, Hermia, which had operated two other students of Plato, Erastus and singers . In the same year all four moving to Ace, where they founded a school which is embraced by the son of singers, Nele, and the future successor of Aristotle in the School of Athens, Theophrastus.
In 344 BC went to Mytilene on the island of Lesbos, and teach you until 342, when it is called in Macedonia by King Philip's face as tutor to his son Alexander the Great. When in 340 BC Alexander became regent of the kingdom of Macedonia, also starting to get closer to the oriental culture, his teacher Aristotle, meanwhile, is widowed and lives with his young Erpillide which gave his son Nicomachus, perhaps Stagira and back, around 335 BC and she moved to Athens, where in a public school, said high school because sacred to Apollo Licio, founded his famous and celebrated school, called Peripato - walk, use established by Aristotle to teach walking in the garden that surrounds it.
In 323 BC Alexander the Great dies in Athens and you experience the ever dormant hatreds antimacedoni, Aristotle, regarded with hostility because of its connection with the Macedonian court, is accused of impiety: Athens and then leave with his family took refuge in Chalcis, the mother city, where died the next year.
Diogenes Laertius (Lives, V, 11-16) contains the text of Aristotle:
"It will certainly, but if something happen, Aristotle drew up the following provisions: guardian of all, in every respect, be Antipater, however, Aristomene, Timarchus, Hipparchus, Diotele and Theophrastus, if possible, take care of children, Erpillide [his partner] and I left things until the arrival of Nicanor. And at the right time, my daughter [Piziade] is given in marriage to Nicanor [...] If Theophrastus will take care of my daughter, then he is master [...]
Tutors and Nicanor, remembering me, take care also of Erpillide in every way and even if he wants to remarry, so that is not given in marriage unworthily, as has been kind to me. In particular, the data are, in addition to what has already been achieved, even a dollar of silver, and three slaves, that it chooses, a slave and the slave has already Pirro. And if you would live in Chalkis, may have given the guest house near the garden, and if you want to stay Stagira, may have given my father's house [...]
Ambracide is free and will give at the wedding of my daughter, five drachmas and the young servant who has already released Tycho [...] Whether you were married when my daughter, and so also Philo, Olympic and her little boy. Do not sell none of the young slaves who currently serve me, but to be used, once the right age, to be released, they deserve [...]
Wherever it is built my tomb, there are brought and placed the bones of Piziade, as she ordered, then devote even by Nicanor, if it is still alive - as I prayed in his favor - four cubits high stone statues to Zeus Salvatore and Athens to Stagira Saviour. "