Greek Philosophers Plato and Aristotle: the Legacy of Ancient Greece

The Legacy Left by Philosophers

What makes philosophy a particularly interesting subject to study; is that it not only deals with important human issues, but also crosses over into other subjects. Some of these are: psychology, politics, social sciences, religion and teaching. The Ancient Greek philosophers helped to shape Western philosophy and culture into what it is today. The legacy left by the philosophers who lived in ancient Greece, remains to be seen.

Aristotle and His Ethics

Aristotle lived between the years: 384 and 322 BC. At this time, Greece was a politically volatile place. Power imbalance and political upheaval was common. He was tutored by the great Plato, yet had his own amazing capacity for rational thought. Aristotle found that: life could sometimes put pressures on people, which would get in the way of them being able to make the best decisions.

In his book: “The Ethics” he is sometimes in agreement with this teacher, and sometimes not. This being the case, both sides of an argument are displayed beautifully. He enjoyed a long and prosperous teaching career, becoming tutor to Alexander the Great. Alexander then founded Alexandria and Aristotle’s ethical contributions were used in governing the new civilization. This work contributes both to: a study of morality and human behavior.

It is commonly thought that most of Aristotle’s writings have been derived from his course materials, which he revised continually. If this is the case, it is extremely likely that these works would have been edited frequently. Therefore: "The Ethics" should always be read with this in mind. Writings which are available today are thought to be only a fraction of his entire life’s work.

Plato: Visions of a True Republic

Plato lived between the years: 427 and 347 BC. In his most well known work: "The Republic" he outlines his vision for the ideal civilization. In doing this, he encounters a range of related issues which lead to subjects, which are not only philosophical in nature. Some of his topics lead to the consideration of: psychology, education, social science, politics and ethics.

In this work, Plato endeavors to use reason to devise a plan for developing a more; fair and just society; than the one he lived in. He proposed an ideology which focused on the equality of individuals, united under: one morally unshakable leader. This leader, he names the: "Philosopher Ruler". He outlines a list of traits which the leader must possess. The new society which he proposes is focused on attaining these specific ideals.

He was tutored by:Socrates; whom he held in high regard. Consequently he was greatly influenced by this man, during his lifetime and this shows in his work. Socrates was Plato’s beloved mentor and friend. Plato was highly critical of politics at the time in Athens. This politics (in Plato's view) had caused the death of his revered tutor and companion.

Plato and Aristotle

Modern Societies and the Philosophical Legacy

Our societies and laws are greatly influenced by the Ancient Greek philosophical thinking. Some: modern politics, law making and moral values, are the same now as they were over 2000-years ago. For this reason, reading the most relevant work of Plato and Aristotle is the perfect place to start for: an introduction to the subject of philosophy.


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