Who was Aristotle and what was his contribution to philosophy?

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Aristotle was one of the most influential philosophers in Western tradition. He was born in 384 BCE in Macedonia and studied under Plato in Athens. He was one of Plato's star pupils even though their philosophies differed in significant ways. After he left the academy, Aristotle traveled around other parts...

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Aristotle was one of the most influential philosophers in Western tradition. He was born in 384 BCE in Macedonia and studied under Plato in Athens. He was one of Plato's star pupils even though their philosophies differed in significant ways. After he left the academy, Aristotle traveled around other parts of Greece and Asia Minor where he continued to work on his philosophical theories and began studying nature and science as well. In this, he stressed the importance of making sound observations. He also served as a tutor to the young Alexander the Great. He later started his own school of philosophy and art in Athens, which became one of the leading intellectual centers in Greece.

Aristotle's philosophical contributions are vast. He formulated the first standardized treatment of the principles of reasoning and logic. His approach to logical argument and sound thinking would be Aristotle's longest lasting contribution to philosophy. In fact, it is still widely practiced today. His works were widely disseminated in the centuries after his death. They eventually became the standard framework of nearly a millennium of philosophical theory and were often cited as commentary to accompany later works. His teachings were so highly regarded in Byzantine and Arabic traditions that Aristotle was simply referred to as The First Teacher.

During the middle ages, a number of European philosophers, particularly Thomas Aquinas, sought to integrate Aristotle's teachings with Christian philosophy. As a result, Aristotle formed the backbone of Christian thought through the end of the Renaissance. During the revival of Greek teachings that took place during the Renaissance, Aristotle's teachings were studied in great earnest in Europe's universities. Most developing schools of thought during this time existed as direct outgrowths of Aristotle's body of work.

In modern times, Aristotle continues to influence philosophers. This is particularly true in his teachings concerning the school of virtue ethics, which saw a resurgence during the late twentieth century.

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