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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.

Plato and Aristotle

This paper provides 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. 

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