Reflections: Aristotle

10 February 2017

“Poverty is the lack of many things, greed of all”

The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle was born around 384 BCE in Stagira, a small town on the northern coastline of Greece. His father passed away when Aristotle was just a young boy, and he was raised by his sister’s husband, Proxenus of Atarneus, who sent him to Athens to pursue a higher education.

Aristotle enrolled in Plato’s Academy, which at the time was considered Greece’s premier institution of learning. Here he developed and maintained a relationship with Plato and the academy for 20 years until Plato’s death. However, instead of taking Plato’s place in the academy, like many believed he would, Aristotle began tutoring King Phillip II’s son, Alexander the Great, in Macedonia. When Alexander the Great became King, Aristotle returned to Athens, and with his permission, started his own school called the Lyceum. Here Aristotle spent most of his life teaching, researching and writing. When Alexander the Great died unexpectedly in 323 BCE, his government was overthrown and Aristotle was charged with impiety for his association with the former king. To avoid being persecuted, Aristotle fled to Chalcis where he remained until his death a year later.

Aristotle has over the years become known as one of the most influential philosophers of humanity, shaping intellectual life in Europe and laying theoretical foundations for the idea of democracy and the establishment of constitutions. The UNESCO General Conference proclaimed 2016 to be the Aristotle Anniversary Year, marking the passage of 2,400 years since his birth.

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