Aristotle

Aristotle
384 B.C.
322 B.C.

Greek Philosopher, Student of Plato, Teacher of Alexander the Great, Scientist, Explored Physics, Metaphysics, Poetry, Theater, Music, Logic, Rhetoric, Linguistics, Politics, Government, Ethics, Biology and Zoology

Author Quotes

The happy life is thought to be virtuous; now a virtuous life requires exertion, and does not consist in amusement.

The function of man is a certain kind of life, and this is an activity of the soul embodying a rational principle, and the function of the good man is the good and noble performance of these.

The good man should be a lover of self (for he will both himself profit by doing noble acts, and will benefit his fellows), but the wicked man should not; for he will hurt both himself and his neighbors, following as he does evil passions.

The coward... is a despariging sort of person; for he fears everything. The brave man, on the other hand, has the opposite disposition; for confidence is the mark of a hopeful disposition... Courage is a mean with respect to things that inspire confidence or fear.

The chief good is the exercise of virtue in a perfect life.

The blind are more understanding than the deaf because hearing exerts a direct influence on the formation of moral character, which is not immediately true of what is seen. The human soul can also become diffused by way of the eye whereas what is heard results in focus and concentration.

The avarice of mankind is insatiable... it is of the nature of desire not to be satisfied, and most men live only for the gratification of it.

Suffering becomes beautiful when any one bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility, but through greatness of mind.

Some think that we are made good by nature, others by habituation, others by teaching... but the soul of the student must first have been cultivated by means of habits for noble joy and noble hatred... The character, then, must somehow be there already with a kinship to virtue, loving what is noble and hating what is base.

Since things that are found in the soul are of three kinds - passions, faculties, states of character, virtue must be one of these. By passions I mean appetite, anger, fear, confidence, envy, joy, friendly feeling, hatred, longing, emulation, pity, and in general the feelings that are accompanied by pleasure or pain; by faculties the things in virtue of which we are said to be capable of feeling these, for example, of becoming angry or being pained or feeling pity; by states of character the things in virtue of which we stand well or badly with reference to the passions, for example, with reference to anger we stand badly if we feel it violently or too weakly, and well if we feel it moderately; and similarly with reference to the other passions. Now neither the virtues nor the vices are passions, because we are not called good or bad on the ground of our virtues and our vices, and because we are neither praised nor blamed for our passions (for the man who feels fear or anger is not praised, nor is the man who simply feels anger blamed, but the man who feels it in a certain way), but for our virtues and our vices we are praised or blamed.

Some of the virtues are intellectual and others moral, philosophic wisdom and understanding and practical wisdom being intellectual, liberality and temperance moral. For in speaking about a man’s character we do not say that he is wise or has understanding but that he is good-tempered or temperate; yet we praise the wise man also with respect to his state of mind; and of states of mind we call those which merit praise virtues.

Perfect friendship is the friendship of men who are good, and alike in virtue; for these wish well alike to each other qua good, and they are good in themselves.

Piety requires us to honour truth above our friends.

No one loves the man whom he fears.

Music has a power of forming the character, and should therefore be introduce din to the education of the young.

No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness.

It is in the nature of desire not to be satisfied, and most men live only for the gratification of it. The beginning of reform is not so much to equalize property as to train the noble sort of natures not to desire more, and to prevent the lower from getting more.

Knowing what is right does not make a sagacious man.

Intellectual virtues owes both its birth and its growth to teaching (for which reason it requires experience and time), while moral virtue comes about as a result of habit... From this fact it is plain that none of the moral virtues arises in us by nature; for nothing that exists by nature can form a habit contrary to its nature.

It is absurd to suppose that purpose is not present because we do not observe the agent deliberating. Art does not deliberate.

If, then, being is in itself desirable for the supremely happy man (since it is by its nature good and pleasant), and that of his friends very much the same, a friend will be one of the things that are desirable. Now that which is desirable form him must have, or he will be deficient in this respect. The man who is to be happy will therefore need virtuous friends.

If thinking is perceiving, it must be either a process in which the soul is acted upon by what is capable of being thought, or a process different from but analogous to that. The thinking part of the soul must therefore be, while impassable, capable of receiving the form of an object; that is, must be potentially identical in character with its object without being the object. Mind must be related to what is thinkable, as sense is to what is sensible.

I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is the victory over self.

If happiness is activity in accordance with virtue, it is reasonable that it should be in accordance with the highest virtue; and this will be that of the best thing in us... proper virtue will be perfect happiness.

Happiness... is something final and self-sufficient, and is the end of action.

Author Picture
First Name
Aristotle
Birth Date
384 B.C.
Death Date
322 B.C.
Bio

Greek Philosopher, Student of Plato, Teacher of Alexander the Great, Scientist, Explored Physics, Metaphysics, Poetry, Theater, Music, Logic, Rhetoric, Linguistics, Politics, Government, Ethics, Biology and Zoology