One of our greatest western philosophers of all time was a man known as Aristotle. Aristotle was born in Stagira in north Greece, the son of Nichomachus, the court physician to the Macedonian royal family. Excelling in many fields, Aristotle has philosophical views that have been followed for hundreds of years. For eighteen years Aristotle was a student in Plato’s academy, where he learned but parted with Plato’s views. Unfaithful to Plato and his philosophical views, Aristotle felt that common sense was a better approach to resolve problems then to reason them. Instead of asking how something came about (which is more preferable in modern science today), he was more intrigued in why it came about. This form of thinking is known as teleology. Teleology explains something by looking for a purpose, goal or an end to it. Aristotle’s intellectual range was vast, covering most of the sciences and many of the arts, including biology, botany, chemistry, ethics, history, logic, metaphysics, rhetoric, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, physics, poetic, political theory, psychology, and zoology. He was the founder of formal logic, devising for it a finished system that for centuries was regarded as the sum of the discipline; and he pioneered the study of zoology, both observational and theoretical, in which some of his work remained unsurpassed until the 19th century. But he is, of course, most outstanding as a philosopher. His writings in ethics and political theory as well as in metaphysics and the philosophy of science continue to be studied, and his work remains a powerful current in contemporary philosophical debate.


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