The philosophers of ancient Greece were years ahead of their time, as the philosophers
who have followed have done relatively little to advance their ideas and concepts--they've
expanded some ideas and taken a few in different directions, but the knowledge shown
by Aristotle about human nature and the meaning of life
still stands strong today as insightful, truthful, and relevant.

thinkers home

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


Anybody can become angry--that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way--that is not within everybody's power and is not easy.

Happiness depends upon ourselves.

Happiness itself is sufficient cause.  Beautiful things are right and true; so beautiful actions are those pleasing to the gods.  Wise people have an inward sense of what is beautiful, and the highest wisdom is to trust this intuition and be guided by it.  The answer to the last appeal of what is right lies within a person's own breast.

Trust thyself.

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.

The ideal person bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.

The beauty of the soul shines out when people bear with composure one heavy mischance after another, not because they do not feel them, but because they are people of high and heroic temper.

Different people seek after happiness in different ways and by different means, and so make for themselves different modes of life.


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Without friends no one would choose to live, though they had all other goods.


Friends are an aid to the young, to guard them from error; to the elderly,
to attend to their wants and to supplement their failing power of action;
to those in the prime of life, to assist them to noble deeds.


Education is the best provision for old age.


If liberty and equality, as is thought by some are chiefly
to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when
all persons alike share in the government to the utmost.


It is the nature of desire not to be satisfied,
and most people live only for the gratification of it.


Honors and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities in action.


It is easy to fly into a passion. . . but it is not easy to be angry
with the right person, in the right way, and at the right time.



All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced
that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth.


We should behave to our friends as we would
wish our friends to behave to us.


Nature does nothing uselessly. 

In all things of nature 
there is something of the marvelous.


I have gained this by philosophy:  that I do without being
commanded what others do only from fear of the law.

To enjoy the things we ought and to hate the things we ought
has the greatest bearing on excellence of character. 

Quality is not an act.  It is a habit.

The coward calls the brave man rash, the rash man calls him a coward.

We become just by performing just actions,
temperate by performing temperate actions,
brave by performing brave actions.


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Dignity consists not in possessing honors,
but in the consciousness that we deserve them.

Well begun is half done.


With regard to excellence, it is not enough to know,
but we must try to have and use it.



To be conscious that we are perceiving or thinking is to
be conscious of our own existence.


I count them braver who overcome their desires
than those who overcome their enemies.


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


384322 , Greek philosopher, b. Stagira. He is sometimes called the Stagirite.

Aristotle's father, Nicomachus, was a noted physician. Aristotle studied (367347 ) under Plato at the Academy and there wrote many dialogues that were praised for their eloquence. Only fragments of these dialogues are extant. He tutored (342c.339 ) Alexander the Great at the Macedonian court, left to live in Stagira, and then returned to Athens. In 335 he opened a school in the Lyceum; some distinguished members of the Academy followed him. His practice of lecturing in the Lyceum's portico, or covered walking place (peripatos), gave his school the name Peripatetic. During the anti-Macedonian agitation after Alexander's death, Aristotle fled in 323 to Chalcis, where he died.

Aristotle's extant writings consist largely of his written versions of his lectures; some passages appear to be interpolations of notes made by his students; the texts were edited and given their present form by Andronicus of Rhodes in the 1st cent. Chief among them are the Organum, consisting of six treatises on logic; Physics; Metaphysics; De Anima [on the soul]; Nicomachean Ethics and Eudemian Ethics; De Poetica [poetics]; Rhetoric; and a series of works on biology and physics. In the late 19th cent. his Constitution of Athens, an account of Athenian government, was found.


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