What is the Difference Between Plato and Aristotle Philosophy

The main difference between Plato and Aristotle philosophy is that the philosophy of Plato is more theoretical and abstract in nature, whereas the philosophy of Aristotle is more practical and experimental in nature.

Plato (c. 428–c. 348 BCE) and Aristotle (384–322 BCE) are two of the most well-known and studied figures in Western philosophy. Plato was a pupil of Socrates, while Aristotle was a pupil of Plato. Therefore, we can observe several connections in their philosophy.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Plato’s Philosophy
     – Definition, Features
2. What is Aristotle’s Philosophy
     – Definition, Features
3. Difference Between Plato and Aristotle Philosophy
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Aristotle, Plato, PhilosophyDifference Between Plato and Aristotle Philosophy - Comparison Summary

What is Plato’s Philosophy

In his early days, Plato was a faithful pupil of Socrates. Therefore, Plato believed that wisdom was the most important virtue and the supreme goal of existence. It is the foundation of all good and embodies all virtues. Through knowledge, virtues could be taught to anybody. Moreover, he believed that teaching a person the difference between right or wrong would make that person a virtuous man. In other words, virtue was knowledge, while vice was ignorance. However, it’s important to note that Plato’s philosophy was theoretical in nature.

Plato vs Aristotle

Plato also held that true virtue, character, and love for God could lead to ultimate happiness. However, this can be only achieved when the whole society (each individual in the society) fulfils his person and adopts virtuosity, self-control, and love for God. He further believed that soul was the guide to body and mind, comparing it to a chariot driven by two horses at a time. He also divided the soul into emotion, desire, and reason and stated that true knowledge is acquired through reason, and the soul is part of reality. Moreover, he viewed art as an imitation of the world. For him, art was completely the reflection of the actual picture, and it misled the minds of people. This view of art involves the theory of imitation and the theory of forms.

What is Aristotle’s Philosophy

Aristotle was a student of Plato, so his views are coloured by Plato’s philosophy. But there are differences between their views. Aristotle proposed that true happiness is dependent on a person and not on society. It could be achieved if a person practices virtues. He also believed that wisdom was a virtuous goal one could achieve with effort and diligence. It was not a virtue that appeared automatically, nor was it a unification of other virtues. According to Aristotle, virtues are the basis of true happiness. But he also proposed that it was possible to achieve happiness with help from other social constructs.

Difference Between Plato and Aristotle Philosophy

Nature

The philosophy of Plato is more theoretical and abstract in nature, whereas the philosophy of Aristotle is more practical and experimental in nature.

Ultimate Happiness

Plato saw ultimate happiness as dependent upon society, whereas Aristotle saw ultimate happiness as dependent upon the individual.

Ultimate Goal

Plato believed that man’s ultimate goal was becoming one with the universe. But Aristotle believed that man’s ultimate goal was achieving excellence and becoming a master.

Wisdom

Plato believed that wisdom was the most important virtue and the foundation of all good and embodied all virtues. However, according to Aristotle, wisdom was a virtuous goal one could achieve with effort and diligence, and it was not a virtue that appeared automatically, nor was it a unification of other virtues.

Soul

Plato believed that soul was the guide to body and mind. He further divided the soul into three: emotion, desire, and reason. According to him, the soul is the part of reality. Aristotle believed that soul was the form of a living thing and was inseparable from the body.

Conclusion

In brief, the main difference between Plato and Aristotle philosophy is that the philosophy of Plato is more theoretical and abstract in nature whereas the philosophy of Aristotle is more practical and experimental in nature.

Reference:

1. “Plato.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 30 July 2021.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Plato and Aristotle” By Image Editor (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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