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Plato and Aristotle

Plato and Aristotle

Plato taught Aristotle, and, as a result of effective teaching, empowered him to think critically and autonomously. As a result, Aristotle moved beyond the bounds of Platonian thought to create his own ideas about humanity and behavior. Although Plato's description of a human being remains more accurate than his student's, Aristotle did develop a better determination for how people should act.

Your paper must provide an analysis of the views of both Plato and Aristotle, as well as a comparison of the effectiveness of their definitions of humanness and their determinations of how people should act.


Plato deemed the "soul" to be the essence of a human being, capable of existence apart from the biological body. In fact, he felt the body to be an actual barrier to the soul's optimal functioning.


Plato's student Aristotle disagreed with his teacher in the very definition of a human being. He looked upon living beings as being made up of physical matter, and determined that living beings were thus because they contained souls--that the human is a living being because it contains a soul. Also contrary to Plato's teaching, Aristotle felt that the soul, which is neither material nor non-material, is incapable of existence independently of a living body.

The Dialogues

Through the discussions that Socrates leads in the three dialogues, the understanding of the purpose of philosophy reveals itself to have many roles. The three dialogues are:

  1. The Euthyphro
  2. The Apology
  3. The Phaedo

Central to this purpose is an earnest inquiry into the true nature of reality, although this inquiry, as expressed in these dialogues, can take many forms. However, within this discussion, Plato attempts to juxtapose the temporal concerns of existence with the true concerns of philosophy, which is revealing the eternal and ideal. While Aristotle does not suppose to reveal ideals such as Plato's Forms in his understanding of philosophy, he does however, seem to suggest that philosophy is a means of inquiring that allows for greater understanding of our existence in order to achieve a balanced and happy life. Thus, in this way, while each man seems to draw different conclusions, each one is attempting to provide a kind of guide to the proper modes of living that will provide the greatest amount of harmony for the individual reality. This essay will explore the works of both men that we have studied thus far, attempting to reveal the way in which, while they take different approaches in some regards, each man seems to share a similar overall view of the purpose and reasons for philosophy.

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