Aristotle [School of Life]

Publication1AVPhilosophy – Aristotle [School of Life]
– Aristotle was born around 384 BC in the Ancient Greek capital of Macedonia
– father was the Royal doctor
– Aristotle grew up to be arguably the most influential philosopher ever
– Tutored Alexander the great (Who conquered The then known world)
– Aristotle worked with Plato in Athens
– Established Lyceum (French secondary schools are today named in honour of this)
– his Followers were nicknamed peripatetics or Wanderers (Because Aristotle would walk as he thought)
– He had many interests
– Main interest was what makes a society work well
– He looked at four big philosophical questions:
1. What makes people happy?
– He believed successful people had virtues & identified 12:
a) courage (Bravery and valour) [extremes are: cowardice & rashness]
b) temperance (Self-control and restraint)
c) liberality (big heartedness, generosity & charity)
d) magnificence (joi de vivre, radiance) [extremes are: stinginess & vulgarity]
e) pride (self-satisfaction)
f) honour (Respect, reverence, admiration)
g) good temper (equanimity, level-headedness)
h) friendliness (Conviviality & sociability)
i) Truthfulness (Straightforward, Frank, candid)
j) wit (Sense of humour – Meaninglessness and absurd) witty, but tactful – between boorishness & buffoonery
k) Friendship (Camaraderie and comradeship)
l) Justice (Impartiality, Evenhanded, fair)
[He noted that every virtue is in the middle of two vices and requires a balanced approach
[written in nichomachean ethics book – i.e. edited by his son]
– change is possible in these areas – eventually….
– these traits are the result of habit – to make change takes time, practice & encouragement
– He believed that people who lacked virtue should be viewed as unfortunate rather than wicked & deserving of being scolded
– also Knowing how to have a conversation
2. What is art for?
– wrote a book called “Poetics”
– believed stories should have certain features or characteristics
– a Change in the character’s fortunes
– A dramatic revelation (Where the hero works out that his life is a catastrophe)
– Art serves the purpose of providing the community with catharsis (a cleaning out of our emotions around fear & pity
– Tragedy reminds us that awful things can happen to decent people
– That a small flaw can lead to a life unravelling – what is needed is more compassion & pity for those people for whom things have gone wrong in life
– art ensure profound truths about life stick in our minds
3. What are friends for?
– He defined 3 kinds of friendship:
a) That which comes about when people are seeking fun
b) Those which are strategic acquaintances (pleasure in each other’s company only if there is personal advantage in it
c) true friend – someone you care about just as much as yourself (you share their sorrows & joys; it is strengthening too; You share virtues and cancel out each other’s defects)
4. How can ideas cut through in a busy world?
– He knew the best argument often did not win the battle & wondered why this was so
– People are often swayed by what is not necessarily rational
– Aristotle invented rhetoric – the art of getting people to agree with you – That is how to be persuasive and influence people who do not agree with you already – You do this by:
– Recognising people’s fears
– see the emotional side (Is a person’s pride on the line? are they feeling embarrassed?
– Make it funny because attention span is short
– use illustrations & examples to make your point come alive


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