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Difference Between Aristotle and Plato

Aristotle vs Plato

Plato (424/423 BC–348/347 BC) and Aristotle (384 BC–322 BC) were both Greek philosophers and mathematicians. Plato was a student of Socrates, and Aristotle was a student of Plato. Aristotle studied under Plato and remained in his academy for 20 years in Athens but left the academy after Plato’s death. Aristotle and Plato had different philosophies about many subjects like justice and injustice, the function of humans, truth, the human soul, art, politics, etc. Their studies were vast, and it is very difficult to compile all their teachings and philosophies here. This article will discuss differences in some of their philosophies especially justice and injustice as well as the concept of human functions and the human soul.

According to Plato, the soul always worked its way towards getting free from its physical form and return to being formless and thus transmigrated. True knowledge was acquired from reason, and the soul and the beauty in the world was just a part of the reality. The basic reality was the soul trying to free itself from its physical form. Thus, he was a rationalist. Aristotle also believed in the soul, but he also believed that human reasoning was divided into creative and passive. Passive reasoning comprised the physical body and its ability to die. Creative reasoning comprised the spiritual part which lived forever and moved on to join God. According to Aristotle, God was “Pure thought thinking about itself.”

Plato and Aristotle had very different views about the functions of the human. Plato refutes that injustice is better than justice. He argued that injustice was not beneficial for setting up a model city. Virtue for the model city was derived from the individuals living in the city and their capability to fulfill their functions. He defined human function as ruling, deliberating, living, and taking care of the functions attributed to each in a city. He defined a person’s function in relation to his position in the society and his existence in relation to a community.

Aristotle argues about the method to achieving ultimate good by searching for happiness by every single person. He believed that happiness or the pursuit of it was the ultimate end, and people worked their way to achieve the ultimate end which is happiness. Happiness, according to Aristotle, was attained if one fulfilled one’s reasons, functions, and expressions in the best way possible. His views focused on the individual rather than a society or community as a whole. He had a more individualistic point of view.

Summary:

1.Plato (424/423 BC–348/347 BC) was Aristotle’s (384 BC–322 BC) teacher.

2.Their philosophies were different from each other in many subjects, but the most important philosophy which sets the differentiation is the human function. Plato believed in a community or society as one and the function of humans in relation to it for achieving a model society. Aristotle was more individualistic and believed in individual happiness as the main function of humans and their achievement by being excellent in what they did and thus forming a model society or city.


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2 Comments

  1. GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT. WHERE DO YOU SAY THAT THEY STUDY UNDER THE EGPTIAN MYSTERY SYSTEMS? GIVE CREDIT WHERE IT IS DUE.

  2. Dear Sir(s) / Mme(s),

    Remark on your 4th paragraph that starts with “Aristotle argues about the method to achieving ultimate good”:

    In the book on “Ethics”, Aristotle discusses the difference between good and evil as follows: Simply, after one’s determination of his/her ultimate goal, anything that hinders you from your path is evil and anything that aids you on your path is good. Rather than saying that “He believed that happiness or the pursuit of it was the ultimate end, …”, on your paragraph.

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