The Ancient Library

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On this page: Aristotle (continued)



reader," on account of his habit of incessant study. Comparing him with Xenocrates, he remarked, that the one wanted a spur, the other a bridle. On the other hand, Aristotle, in one of his writings, combating his former master's theory of ideas, lays down the maxim that friendship, especially among philosophers, must not be allowed to violate the sanctity of truth; and in a frag­ment of an elegy he calls Plato the first man who showed in word and deed how a man is to become good and happy.

After Plato had handed over his school to his sister's son Speusippus, Aristotle quitted


(Rome, Spada Palace.)

Athens, B.C. 347, and repaired to his friend Hermeias, despot of Atarneus in Mysia. When that prince had fallen a prey to Persian intrigues he withdrew, b.c. 345, with his wife PythiSs, his friend's sister, to Mitylene in ' Lesbos ; and two years later accepted an in­vitation to Macedonia to be tutor to Alex­ander, then thirteen years old. He lived at } the court eight years, though his tenure of office seems to have lasted barely half that time. Both Philip and his son esteemed him highly, and most liberally seconded his studies in natural science, for which he in- j herited his father's predilection. Alexander i

continued till his death to respect and love him, though the affair of Callisthgnes (q.v.) occasioned some coolness between them. When the king undertook his expedition in Asia, Aristotle betook himself once more to Athens, and taught for thirteen years in the Gymnasium called the Lyceum. In the mornings he conversed with his maturer pupils on the higher problems of philosophy, walking up and down the shady avenues, from which practice the school received the name of Peripatetics. In the evenings he delivered courses of lectures on philosophy and rhetoric to a larger audience. After Alexander's death, when all adherents of the Mace­donian supremacy were persecuted at Athens, a certain DemCphilus brought against him a charge of impiety, where­upon Aristotle, " to save the Athenians from sinning a second time against philo­sophy "—so he is reported to have said, alluding to the fate of Socrates —retired to Chalcis in Eubcea. There he died late in the summer of the next year, b.c. 322.

Of the very numerous writings of Aristotle, some were composed in a popular, others in a scientific form. A considerable number of the latter kind have come down to us, but of the former, which were written in the form of dialogues, only a few fragments. The strictly scientific works may be classed according to their contents, as they treat of Logic, Metaphysics, Natural Science or Ethics. (1) Those on logic were comprehended by the later Aristotelians under the name of Orgdnon (" instru­ment"), because they treat of Method, the instrument of research. They in­clude the Categories, on the fundamental forms of ideas : the De InterpretatiSne, on the doctrine of the judgment and on the proposition, important as an authority on philosophical terminology; the Analjjtlca Priora and PostcriOm, each in two books, the former on the syllogism, the latter on demonstration, definition, and distribution; the Toplca in eight books, on dialectic in­ferences (those of probability); on Sophisms, the fallacies of sophists, and their solu­tion.—(2) The metaphysics as they were called by late writers, in fourteen books, consist of one connected treatise and several shorter essays on what Aristotle himself calls " first philosophy," the doctrine of Being in itself and the ultimate grounds of Being ; a work left unfinished by Aristotle

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