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(384-322 BC)


Born at Stagira in Macedonia, the son of Nicomachus, Aristotle was together with Plato the most influential philosopher of the western tradition. At age 17 he entered Plato's academy in Athens, and remained there until Plato's death. Aristotle then accepted the invitation of Hermias to reside at Assos. Upon the death of Hermias (whose niece, Pythias, he married) in 345, Aristotle went to Mytilene on the island of Lesbos. Between 343/2 and 340 he acted as the tutor to the young Alexander the Great. In 335 he returned to Athens where he founded a school, the Lyceum. Here he organized and conducted research on many subjects, and built the first great library of antiquity. After the death of Pythias he lived with Herpyllis, by whom he had a son, Nicomachus. On the death of Alexander in 325 anti-Macedonian feeling in Athens caused Aristotle to retire to Chalcis where he died in 322.


The works known in his lifetime include dialogs modelled on those of Plato, but these are now lost. It is also known that he accumulated an immense collection of natural and historical observations during his headship if the Lyceum, but these too are mainly lost. The extant corpus is nearly all preserved through the edition of Andronicus of Rhodes, made in the 1st century BC. Important works are:

On logic

On physics

On psychology and natural history

On ethics

General investigation of the things

Other works

Aristotle on the Web

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Last modified November 7, 1995.