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The Latin translator of the romance of pseudo-Callisthenes on Alexander the Great. (See CALLISTHENES.)
One of the two greatest philosophers of antiquity, born B.C. 384 at Stageira, a Greek colony in Thrace. He was the son of Nicomachus, who died while acting as physician in ordinary to Amyntas II at Pella in Macedonia. In B.C. 367, after the death of his parents and the completion of his seventeenth year, Axistotle betook himself to Athens, became a pupil of Plato, and remained twenty years, latterly working as a teacher of rhetoric. About his relations with Plato unfavourable rumours were current, which may have had their origin in his subsequent opposition to the Platonic doctrine of ideas. That he arrived pretty early at opposite opinions, and gave emphatic expression to them, is quite credible. This may have been the occasion of Plato's comparing him (so it is said) to a colt that kicks his mother; yet Plato is also said to have called him "the intellect" of his school, and " the 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 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 Pythias, 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 inherited his father's predilection. Alexander continued till his death to respect and love him, though the affair of Callisthenes (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 Demophilus brought against him a charge of impiety, where upon 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 Eubcaea. 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 Organon ("instrument"), because they treat of Method, the instrument of research. They in clude the Categories, on the fundamental forms of ideas : the De Interpretatifte, on the doctrine of the judgment and on the proposition, important as an authority on philosophical terminology; the Analytica Priora and Posteriora, each in two books, the former on the syllogism, the latter on demonstration, definition, and distribution; the Topica 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 and supplemented by foreign ingredients. The works on NATURAL SCIENCE are headed by the Physics in eight books, treating of the most general bases and relations of nature as a whole. This is followed up by four books on the Heavens or Universe, two on Beginning to be and Perishing, and the Meteorologica in four books, on the phenomena of the air. A short treaties On the Cosmos is spurious: that on the Directions and Names of Winds is a fragment of a larger work on the signs of storms; and the Problems (physical) is a collection gradually formed out of Aristotelian extracts. Of mathematical import are the Mechanical Problems (on the lever and balance) and the book about Indivisible Lines. Natural history is handled in the ten books of Animal History, and in four books on the Parts, five on the Generation, and one on the mode of Progression of Animals. The work on The Motion of Animals is probably spurious, certainly so the one on Plants in two books. Aristotle's treatise on this subject is lost. Turning to Psychology, we have the three books On the Soul and a number of smaller treatises (on the Senses and the Objects of Perception; on Memory and Recollection; on Sleep and Waking; on Dreams; on Divination by Sleep; on the Length and Shortness of Life; on Youth and Age, Life and Death; on Breathing; on Sound and Voice, etc.; that on Physiognomy is probably spurious). (4) Of the three general works on ETHICS, the Nicomachean Ethics in ten books, the Eudemian Ethics in seven, and the so-called Magna Moralia in two, the first alone, addressed to his son Nicomachus, and of marked excellence in matter and manner, is by Aristotle himself. The second is by his pupil Eudemus of Rhodes, and the third a mere abstract of the other two, especially of the second. The essay on Virtues and Vices is spurious. Closely connected with the Ethics is the Politics in eight books, a masterly work in spite of its incompleteness, treating of the aim and elements of a State, the various forms of Government, the ideal of a State and of Education. A valuable work on the Constitution of 158 states is lost, all but a few fragments.1 Of the two books on Aeconomics the first is spurious. Corresponding partly with the Logic, and partly with the Ethics, is the Rhetoric in three books,2 and the Poetics, a work of inestimable worth, not withstanding the ruinous condition in which its text has come clown to us. [The Rhetoric is a masterly treatise on oratory, regarded as an instrument for working upon the various passions and feelings of humanity.] Sundry other prose writings are preserved under Aristotle's name, e.g., that on Colours; the so-called Mirabiles Auscultationes, a collection of memoranda on all sorts of strange phenomena and occurrences, mostly bearing on natural science; on Melissus, Zeno, and Gorgias; six Letters which however are not regarded as genuine, any more than the 63 epigrams out of supposed mythological miscellany entitled Peplos. But we may safely assign to him he beautiful Scolion, or impromptu song, on his friend Hermeias, which takes the form of a Hymn to Virtue. A story dating from antiquity informs us that Aristotle bequeathed his own writings and his very considerable library to his pupil and successor in the office of teacher, Theophrastus, who again made them over to his pupil Mileus, of Scepsis in the Troad. After his death his relations are said to have buried them in a cellar, to guard them against the mania for collecting books which characterized the Pergamene princes. At last they were unearthed by Apellieon of Teos, a rich bibliophile, who brought them to Athens about 100 B.C., and tried to restore them from the wretched state into which they had fallen through the neglect of 130 years. Soon after, at the taking of Athens by the Romans, they fell into Sulla's hands, who brought them to Rome. Here the grammarian Tyrannion took copies of them, and on this basis the Peripatetic Andronicus of Rhodes prepared an edition of Aristotle's works. This would indeed partly account for the wretched condition in which some of them are preserved. At the same time it can be proved that the principal works were known during the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C., 80 that the story affects only the author's original MSS., among which a number of works till then unpublished may have come to light. Though the writings preserved form rather less than half of the number which he actually wrote, there is quite enough to show the universality of Aristotle's intellect, which sought with equal ardour and acumen to explore and subdue the entire domain of research. He was the originator of many lines of study unknown before him,-Logic, Grammar, Rhetoric in its scientific aspect, Literary Criticism, Natural History, Physiology, Psychology; he was the first to attempt a History of Philosophy and of the forms of government then existing. His method, of which he must be considered the creator, is critical and empirical at once. In all cases he starts from facts, which he collects, sifts and groups as completely as he can, so as to get some general leading points of view, and with the help of these to arrive at a systematic arrangement of the subject, and a knowledge of its in most being, its cause. For to him the Cause is the essential part of knowledge, and the philosophy that searches into ultimate causes for the mere sake of knowing is the best and freest science. The form of Aristotle's works is by no means equal to their contents. Of the beautiful harmony between style and subject, that so charms us in Plato, there is not a trace in Aristotle; his manner of expression, though scientifically exact, lacks flavour, art, and elegance. But of exact scientific terminology he is the true founder. When the ancients celebrate the "golden stream" of his writing, the opinion can only refer to his lost popular works. Aristotle's personality is one of those which have affected the history of the world. His writings, Us those of Plato, were to the Christian centuries of antiquity a most stimulating incentive to scientific inquiry; in the Middle Ages they were for the Christian nations of the West and the Arabs the chief guide to philosophical method; and in the province of logic his authority remains unshaken to this day.
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