Christianity and Greek Philosophy: Or, the Relation between Spontaneous and Reflective Thought in Greece and the Positive Teaching of Christ and His Apostles

By B. F. Cocker | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII.
THE PHILOSOPHERS OF ATHENS (continued).

THE SOCRATIC SCHOOL (continued). ARISTOTLE.

ARISTOTLE was born at Stagira, a Greek colony of Thrace, B.C. 384. His father, Nicomachus, was a physician in the Court of Amyntas II., King of Macedonia, and is reported to have written several works on Medicine and Natural History. From his father, Aristotle seems to have inherited a love for the natural sciences, which was fostered by the circumstances which surrounded him in early life, and which exerted a determining influence upon the studies of his riper years.

Impelled by an insatiate desire for knowledge, he, at seventeen years of age, repaired to Athens, the city of Plato and the university of the world. Plato was then absent in Sicily; on his return Aristotle entered his school, became an ardent student of philosophy, and remained until the death of Plato, B.C. 348. He therefore listened to the instructions of Plato for twenty years.

The mental characteristics of the pupil and the teacher were strikingly dissimilar. Plato was poetic, ideal, and in some degree mystical. Aristotle was prosaic, systematic, and practical. Plato was intuitive and synthetical. Aristotle was logical and analytical. It was therefore but natural that, to the mind of Aristotle, there should appear something confused, irregular, and incomplete in the discourses of his master. There was a strange commingling of questions concerning the grounds of morality, and statements concerning the nature of science; of inquiries concerning "real being," and speculations on the ordering of a model Republic, in the same discourse. Ethics,

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