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date: 30 March 2023


, philosopher, 384–322 bce


, philosopher, 384–322 bce
  • Martha C. Nussbaum
  •  and Catherine Osborne


Aristotle (384–322 BCE), philosopher, pupil of *Plato (1), was born in *Stagira in *Chalcidice. His father Nicomachus, a member of the medical guild of the Asclepiadae (see asclepius), was court physician to *Amyntas II of Macedonia, and Aristotle may have spent part of his childhood at the court in *Pella. Although his interest in biology may have developed early because of his father's career, there is no evidence that he began systematic study. Asclepiad doctors taught their sons dissection, but Aristotle probably did not receive this training, since both of his parents died when he was extremely young.

2. At the age of 17 he travelled to Athens and entered Plato (1)'s *Academy, remaining until Plato's death in 348/7 bce. Plato's philosophical influence is evident in all of Aristotle's work. Even when he is critical (a great part of the time) he expresses deep respect for Plato's genius. Some scholars imagine that no dissent was tolerated in the Academy; they therefore conclude that all works in which Aristotle criticizes Plato must have been written after Plato's death. This is implausible. Plato's own work reveals a capacity for searching self-criticism. Frequently these criticisms resemble extant Aristotelian criticisms. An attractive possibility is that the arguments of his brilliant pupil were among the stimuli that led Plato to re-examine his own ideas.


  • Philosophy

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