Who was Aristotle and why is he such an important figure in the history of philosophy? This series aims to make learning about the history of philosophy as easy as possible by bringing together the best videos, podcasts, and articles from across the internet and allowing you to choose the type of content that best suits your learning style. Simply choose one of following links to get started:
If you want a comprehensive overview of Aristotle:
- Read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Aristotle. However, you should keep in mind that the Stanford Encyclopedia in often quite technical and this article may be difficult for beginners. It’s also quite long at around 21,000 words. Here’s a short excerpt that explains why Aristotle is such an important figure in the history of philosophy:
“Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.) numbers among the greatest philosophers of all time. Judged solely in terms of his philosophical influence, only Plato is his peer: Aristotle’s works shaped centuries of philosophy from Late Antiquity through the Renaissance, and even today continue to be studied with keen, non-antiquarian interest. A prodigious researcher and writer, Aristotle left a great body of work, perhaps numbering as many as two-hundred treatises, from which approximately thirty-one survive. His extant writings span a wide range of disciplines, from logic, metaphysics and philosophy of mind, through ethics, political theory, aesthetics and rhetoric, and into such primarily non-philosophical fields as empirical biology, where he excelled at detailed plant and animal observation and description. In all these areas, Aristotle’s theories have provided illumination, met with resistance, sparked debate, and generally stimulated the sustained interest of an abiding readership.
Because of its wide range and its remoteness in time, Aristotle’s philosophy defies easy encapsulation. The long history of interpretation and appropriation of Aristotelian texts and themes—spanning over two millennia and comprising philosophers working within a variety of religious and secular traditions—has rendered even basic points of interpretation controversial. . . .”
If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and and more engaging introduction:
If you’d prefer a video introduction:
If you prefer audio and podcasts:
- Listen to Peter Adamson discuss Aristotle’s Life and Works on the History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps podcast [20:47 mins]
If you’d like to read a short passage from a classic work of philosophy:
- Read this short passage from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics on virtue as a mean between two vices [1800 words]
If you’d just like to casually browse a few quotes:
And if you’d like to learn more:
If you’d like to get more philosophy in your life, follow us on Facebook or Twitter or enter your email below to get a quote/passage from a classic work of philosophy delivered to your inbox each day. They include key passages from Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, and many more. Each passage is paired with a link to a beginner friendly article, video, or podcast, so you can easily learn more about that day’s idea. The goal is to make it easier for everyone to get a little bit more philosophy into their life.