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Aristotle vs Plato

Post  Achrelus on Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:34 pm

Was Aristotle's philosophy coniderabley different from Plato? If so, where are some key points of difference?

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Re: Aristotle vs Plato

Post  Erodius on Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:11 pm

I am really not especially familiar with Peripateticism/Aristotelianism. However, the traditionally-considered differences between the two include that Aristotelian philosophy is largely unconcerned with the non-physical world — it is much more 'scientific' by modern standards; Aristotle is considerably less mystical than Plato. Plato's eyes are turned to heaven, Aristotle looks down at earth. It is perhaps because of this that the later philosophies of the  Christian church, particularly that of Thomas Aquinas, is mainly Aristotelian. Although Platonism was extraordinarily influential in the formative years of Christianity, there always remained a bit of uneasiness toward Plato, who, though clearly defining them as subservient to the Supreme Power, unambiguously incorporates a variety of lesser divine powers.  

However, in Late Antiquity, the separation between Platonism and Aristotelianism faded. In reality, the Peripatetic school (Aristotle's disciples), sort of died out as a living institution, although Aristotelian works continued to be read, and they were, in general, preserved by the Later Platonists, who often sought to reconcile them with Platonism.

Further, while Plato (or Socrates, there's always the Socratic problem), seems to consider some of the Orphic missionaries of the time to be something like the Jehovah's Witnesses of the 4th century BCE — i.e. as bothersome evangelists with pamphlets, books and hellfire stories Rolling Eyes(though, certainly, thinking highly enough of them to routinely reference the theology) — Aristotle is supposed to have denied that Orpheus even existed.

You can always do an internet search to investigate the generalities of the differences between Plato and Aristotle, but ultimately, it would be best to read Aristotle for yourself — something I've yet to get around to doing. With the free-reading time I have available to me, I tend to reach for things I want to read, and, being as I do not have an especially high opinion of Aristotle, it's never been by selection.

I've read Pseudo-Aristotle, and love him dearly. However, he was a different person entirely, and, evidently, a Platonist, or something like it. Laughing

"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

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-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

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