Saturday, February 25, 2012

What Would Aristotle Say...

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

Aristotle, the father of logic and reason. I have often wondered what his thoughts would be about the irrational (and devoid of principles) politicians that populate the American political landscape today. Of course we will never know because he has long since been gone from this world and revisionists certainly would bastardize his works with a modern interpretation.

I suppose the only way to get a glimpse of what he might think is through reading his works as translated into English and preserved for modernity. I can tell you reading his works is by no means for the faint of heart. Getting through the reading of his works requires a discipline and scientific mind most fall short of, including yours truly.

Quotes that capture the essence of his profound intellect may be the best way to interest one into delving deeper into the realm that this great philosopher occupied and overshadowed.

Basic Information - Considered one of the most influential of all the Greek philosophers, Aristotle originally was to follow in his father's footsteps, that of physician, until he began to study under Plato. The writings of Aristotle covered the entire circle of knowledge of his time. While many of his works are lost to the ages, his most important ones Organon (or Logic), Rhetoric, Poetics and Meteorology remain. In fact, Organon gave birth to an entirely new science that continues to this day scholastic logic. He also is said to have created the discipline of natural science, introducing the method of animal classification that is still in use.


"Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence"

"A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side."

"Of all the varieties of virtues, liberalism is the most beloved."

"They [Young People] have exalted notions, because they have not been humbled by life or learned its necessary limitations; moreover, their hopeful disposition makes them think themselves equal to great things -- and that means having exalted notions. They would always rather do noble deeds than useful ones: Their lives are regulated more by moral feeling than by reasoning -- all their mistakes are in the direction of doing things excessively and vehemently. They overdo everything -- they love too much, hate too much, and the same with everything else."

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."

"Philosophy is the science which considers truth"

"The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes."

"Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach."

"Republics decline into democracies and democracies degenerate into despotisms."

"Good has two meanings: it means that which is good absolutely and that which is good for somebody."

"Man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all."

"A state is not a mere society, having a common place, established for the prevention of mutual crime and for the sake of exchange...Political society exists for the sake of noble actions, and not of mere companionship."

"Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers."

"Teachers who educate children deserve more honor than parents who merely gave birth; for bare life is furnished by the one, the other ensures a good life"

"It is more difficult to organize a peace than to win a war; but the fruits of victory will be lost if the peace is not organized."

"Inferiors revolt in order that they may be equal, and equals that they may be superior"

"Politicians also have no leisure, because they are always aiming at something beyond political life itself, power and glory, or happiness."

"Man is a goal seeking animal. His life only has meaning if he is reaching out and striving for his goals."

"Some men are just as firmly convinced of what they think as others of what they know"

Just a glimpse into a truly great thinkers mind. There is so much more for those who choose to seek knowledge and truth... If only the politicians and governing elite would do so.


  1. Charles Darwin said we were mere school boys compared to Aristotle.

    Good read Les.

  2. Love the classic introspection and interrogation of the world as we find it. I am a deist I don't believe in any one religion any more, but rather in a higher power. I believe that a personal relation with that Higher Being is all that is asked and the path is found through introspection and interrogation. Aristotle was a great thinker and makes us question the foundations of all our thoughts and beliefs, that is a very good thing. Regardless where you land on the deity spectrum as long as you arrive by rigorous thought then I think you are on solid ground. There are those that say you are doomed, but the items done in the name of religion through the ages, would make any higher being blush, so my thought is that traditions of man control the masses, more than any actually teaching by any spiritual leader.


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