Who was Aristotle?

          Aristotle, considered as a great thinker of all times, is still revered by the intellectuals and academicians all over the world for his brilliant and original works. His contributions cover a wide range of subjects which still find relevance in the context of the present day world. His studies invaded the areas of Political Science, Biology, Sociology, Education etc. In terms of importance, his works are considered as next only to the Bible. Most of the later day philosophers borrowed his ideas and theories to develop their own propositions. Aristotle’s life and times are equally interesting and hence worth-knowing.

          Aristotle was born at Stageira in Greece in 384 B.C. This city was then ruled by the kings of Macedonia. Aristotle’s father was a doctor to the royal family. At the age of 17, he went to Athens which was then the centre of learning and joined Plato’s Academy. He stayed there for 20 years and later became a teacher himself. After some years Aristotle left the Academy and crossed the Aegean Sea to settle on the island of Lesbos in pursuit of his research. There he continued his studies about the nature and characteristics of human beings and concluded that man is both a social as well as a political animal. They live together in groups and govern themselves in an organized way. Later he wrote down these ideas in his famous book The Politics.

          In 343 B.C. Aristotle returned to Macedonia as he was appointed by King Philip as the tutor of his son who later became Alexander the Great. A few years later Aristotle went back to Athens to set up his own school, The Lyceum. He wrote many books and often disagreed with the earlier philosophers — Socrates and Plato.

          His thoughts and ideas are accessible by natural means and supported by reason. Aristotle was a thinker, logician and scientist — all at the same time. He characterized the orientation and content of all that termed western civilization. His works and writings also cover the field of language and literature. Among his literary works, Rhetoric deals with the use of language to argue and persuade, and the Poetics is the first textbook of literary criticism on which we still depend for our basic definitions of tragedy and comedy.

          About a year before his death, Aristotle had to flee from Athens because his foes accused him of lack of reverence for God.