Aristotle was born in the city of Stagira in the province of Chalcidice in northern Greece, and his father died when he was a teenager. Proxenus of Artaneous became his guardian after his father died. Aristotle enrolled in Plato’s Academy in Athens when he was eighteen years old and remained there until he was thirty-seven years old. During his time at Plato’s Academy, Aristotle remained a student and a colleague of Plato until his master’s death. Aristotle, like his teacher Plato, began writing in dialogue form, and his early ideas reflected platonic influence, propelling him to fame as a Greek philosopher (Sim 43). Aristotle wrote works in astronomy, metaphysics, poetry theater, linguistics, philosophy, biology, and zoology. Teaching at Alexander the great gave Aristotle many opportunities hence establishing a library in Lyceum, which helped him to publish many of his hundreds of books.
Aristotle believed that arguing against the practice of philosophy is a form of philosophizing and therefore anyone has to do philosophy. Besides, Aristotle also advocates that the best form of philosophy is the contemplation of the universe of nature and he advocates that it is due to this purpose that God made people and provided them with god-like intellect. Besides, Aristotles works of writings were based on main ideas or themes and the sophistical refutation. These themes helped him in constructing arguments for a subject that he had decided to discuss and the sophistical refutations showed him how to detect weakness in other philosophers arguments.
Aristotle begins his argument by talking about teleology of nature. Teleology is the study of the purposes that things serve and his emphasis on the concept has repercussions throughout his philosophy. This Greek philosopher argues that the best way to understand why things are the way they are is by understanding the purpose that they were made to accomplish. For example, we can cut up an animal to see how its structural body parts appear and what they are made up of, but we only understand each organ when we perceive what its function. Aristotle emphasis on teleology shows that there is a reason for everything. Besides, just as Aristotle sees the purpose in a biological system of an animal, he also sees the life of human beings as organized and directed towards a particular goal to be achieved. Since human beings are seen as essentially rational, he argues that rationality is the final cause and the highest aim of a human being is to fulfill his or her rationality. Such a concept or idea had a great impact on Aristotle work of writing in politics, and these made him come up with the notion that the aim of the city-state is to arrange matters in a way that it will maximize the opportunity for its citizens to pursue the good life.
The primacy of substance is also another theme discussed by Aristotle. The term substance entails things that are most important for existence. Although there no clear definition of what those things are, the substance is effective, a metaphysical placeholder a word referred to a problem rather than a definable thing. Aristotle believes that some things are more important than others are, for example, colors can only exist when there are physical objects to be colored. If some things are more important than others are, then there must be an essential thing that everything depends on (Sim 51). Therefore, this philosopher thinks that approaching these definitions can be done by examining its relationship with other objects. Aristotle also believes that a definition should list those items without which the thing defined could not exist as it is. For example, when defining a toe, one should mention a foot because feet cannot exist without toes.
Aristotle insisting on the primacy of substance concludes that he believes there is no single category of being. When individual talks about something, he or she should know that existence is in connection with all sorts of things. Despite that, there are different forms of existence such as colors, ideas, places and movement and Aristotle advocates that these things do not exist in the same way and the fact that color and substance have different ways of existence does not prevent an object from being colored. As such for the space to be unified there must be a base unit of the existence of which all substance depends on. Aristotles argument and ideas brought out in the primacy of substance shows his way of saying that it is substance and not the location that binds the cosmos together.
Moreover, concerning the vagueness of practical science, Aristotle never sets down hard and first rule in the practical sciences because he believes that those fields are naturally inclined to a degree of vagueness. Aristotle is therefore credited as being the first thinker to recognize that knowledge is compartmentalized. For instance, he recognizes that practical sciences such as politics are less precise in their procedures and methods compared to logic. Ethics and politics involve dealing with individuals who have different behavior. Aristotle recognizes that there is no constitution that is considered best to its citizens and therefore, a thriving democracy depends on an educated and unselfish population and failure of these, another form of government is likely to be preferred. In the Nicomachean Moral code, Aristotle does not consider any first rule regarding virtue because different manners are morally upright in various circumstances. The ambiguity of Aristotles commendations on the theme of practical sciences is then part and parcel of his view that diverse forms of education require different methodologies.
However, there is a problem concerning the order in which Aristotle books were written. If the books were composed at different dates, they might represent discordant stages in the development of Aristotle’s political philosophy. For example, Werner Jaeger argued that unfinished outline of the best constitution contain a youthful utopianism motivating Aristotle to emulate his teacher platonic erecting an ideal state by logical construction. In contrast, books IVVI Inferior constitution and further discussion of democracy respectively are based on sober empirical study (Sim 45). Other philosophers have seen a more realistic hence these interpretation becomes difficult since, in the book Inferior Constitution, Aristotle concerns making supreme constitutions as perfectly compatible with that of addressing challenges faced in politics. Despite Jaeger trying to discern different chronological strata in the Politics, it has resulted in no clear agreement since there is no evidence of the dates at which the books of Politics were written making the argument to be turned on unproven inconsistencies between different passages.
In conclusion, Aristotle was a famous Greek philosopher who had his ideas and arguments which led him to address many themes in his work of writings. As such, he talked about teleology of nature, the primacy of substance vagueness of practical science among others hence making people to appreciate every feature of Aristotle philosophy the object of active academic work today.
Sim, May. Remastering morals with Aristotle and Confucius. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.