Aristote (in Greek old Ἀριστοτέλης ) is a Greek philosopher who was born with Stagire (current Stavros) in Macedonia (from where the nickname from “Stagirite”), in 384 av. J. - C., and died in Chalcis, in Eubée, 322 av J. - C.


Its work comprises very few biographical details. In the same way, there hardly exists of contemporary testimonys which reached us. Its Doxographe S is posterior for him of a few centuries (Denys d' Halicarnasse, Diogène Laërce…). Its biography is thus known only on broad outlines.

Its time is marked by the revival of the empire Macedonian and the decline of the influence of the Athenian democracy . It is in Aristote that the conqueror Philippe II of Macedonia entrusted the education of his son Alexandre Large the, endorsing perhaps thus the idea of Plato according to whom since the philosophers cannot become kings, it is appropriate that the kings become philosophical (Letter VII).

Wire of Nicomaque, doctor of Amyntas III of Macedonia, and a Midwife, Aristote was assoiffé of knowledge. For these reasons, it followed to Athens the courses of Isocrate, but not very satisfied it decided to return to the Académie of Plato at the 18 years age (towards 367 av. J. - C.).
It was noticed there in particular for its intelligence. Plato gave him even the right to teach. It wrote many accounts and was interested in the local political life but could not take part in it because of its statute of Métèque (“foreign” in the city).

It lived Athens until in 348 av. J. - C., until the death of Plato, then joined with Assos, in Éolide, the king Hermias, a former school-fellow. It began there from the studies of Botanique and married Pythias there.

To died of its guard, it returned to Macedonia and became the tutor of Alexandre Large the. At the court of king de Macédoine, Philippe, it acquired many friendships. Become widowed, it remaria with Herpyllis of which it had a son that it named Nicomaque, of the name of his own father.

While returning to Athens, little satisfied by Xénocrate, successor of Plato to the Academy, it decided to found the Lycée, or peripatetic École (“to go while making course”), with Athens in 335 av. J. - C.. Threatened by the party anti-Macedonian with died of Alexandre Large the, he flees Athens and, feeling death to arrive, wrote his will in which he bequeaths his College to Théophraste. He dies in Chalcis in 322 av. J. - C. the same year, the kingdom Macedonian seizes Athens.



See also: Contenu=Voir ''' [[Metaphysical (Aristote)]], [[Metaphysical]] ''' for more details on the history of the corpus aristotelician.

Its work reached us in the form of notes of course, which explains the sometimes obscure character of some of its writings. One however knows that he wrote of sound living of the dialogs to the manner of Plato, of which it remains us only of rare fragments ( Eudème , Protreptique , Philosophy, or Of the Good ). Cicéron speaks “about gold a river of its eloquence” and the judge better written than those of Plato. These dialogs represent work Exotérique of Aristote, intended for a vast public. The notes of course which we have are the esoteric work of Aristote, intended for the Lycée. One sometimes could think that the work of Aristote contained secret lesson, because of this qualifier of esoteric. However " ésotérique" initially indicated the works of Aristote intended for the public of the College, and then only one secret teaching reserved for some initiates. After its death, its work perdure thanks to many continuators, like Théophraste. It is Andronicos of Rhodos which was charged by Rome with restoring the corpus aristotelician left in a cellar. Andronicos was given the responsability to give titles to compilations of texts which it itself gathered and which do not owe anything in Aristote although the majority indicate a strong scholarship however. All the collections are in one of the three following groups: that of theoretic sciences, that of practical sciences or that of poetic sciences.

As of the beginning, and thanks to the many translations which they carried out of works of the philosophers, the mathematicians and the Greek scientists in general, the Moslems very largely took as a starting point the work of the former Greeks; as of the 8th century, the Moslem philosophers and intellectuals, in particular Al Kindi and, especially, at the 12th century, Averroès (Ibn Rush) as well as the philosopher, theologist and Jewish doctor Maïmonide, began again and developed the ideas of the latter; Western Europe must to the Moslems have had besides truly access to work and the thought of the Greeks. Note: In the same way, the Moslems would undoubtedly have never had access to knowledge of the Greek philosophers without the conquète of the Middle-East by Alexandre the Large one who allowed to diffuse these ideas.

The development of the ideas of Aristote.

The state of the corpus aristotelician puts the question about drafting of the whole of works of Aristote; in its History of the philosophy of the Greeks , Edouard Zeller written:

All works in question belong to the last years of the life of Aristote. If one day happy discovered were to enrich our knowledge on the chronological order by these writings, there would not be to however hope that the oldest work makes us go back to one time when Aristote still worked with its system. In all its parts, this one is presented to us like a completed whole; nowhere we do not see the architect with the œuvre. yet

This assumption was a long time allowed, and this influence is explained by the design Scolastique of the Philosophie of Aristote. Traditional interpretation, according to the expression of Werner Jaeger, thus gave him a rigid air of conceptual schematism. This is why, in the history of interpretation aristotelician, the work of Jaeger ( Aristoteles, Grundlegung einer Geschichte seiner Entwicklung ) is regarded as an major event. Instead of presenting a system done everything, Jaeger endeavors to find to become to it internal doctrines. It divides this to become in three stages:

  • the time of the Academy: time of Platonic dogmatism.

  • years of voyage: birth of a critical platonism.
  • the Master: second stay with Athens, and advent of the aristotelism itself.

The time of the Academy.

It is the time of Platonic dogmatism (early works, the Éthique in Eudème , Protreptikos ). Jaeger brings the form closer to the dialog aristotelician and the last dialogs of Plato where the method of classification and abstraction dominates, the Dialectique. The Éthique in Eudème shows us Platonic Aristote (Substance and heart, transcendence of the Bien, reminiscence, immortality, Idées). As for the Protreptikos , it goes back to before death from Plato, and it is a program of life and Platonic formation; the phronèsis is a definitely Platonic concept, and the returns us to the speculations of the Timée , of the Philèbe , the Lois . However, one does not find any more this concept in the Métaphysique. One does not find either any more in the Éthique in Nicomaque an ethics as exact as the Mathématiques; this design is even fought there.

Years of voyage

It is the birth of a critical platonism. Plato dies into 348-347, and Aristote leaves Athens. It is, according to Jaeger, the Peri philosophias which makes it possible to at that time have an idea of the philosophical activity of Aristote. Jaeger endeavors to reconstitute this work. It would express a philosophy of transition, while carrying out corrections of the platonism. The first book makes the history of wisdom ancient, and made Platonisme a top of philosophy. The second book criticizes the theory of the Idea-numbers. The Peri philosophias would have been written besides at the same time as the criticism of the Ideas in the first book of the Métaphysique . Lastly, the third informs us about the Cosmologie and the Théologie of the Aristote young person. Several Platonic topics are taken again there: identification of theology and astronomy; principle of the first motionless engine (idea which has its origin in the Lois ); the heart of the stars; but Aristote moves away sometimes from Plato. It would be there the moment of foundation of Hellenic theology and even of the Philosophie of the religion. One can say that even after the criticism of the Ideas, Aristote keeps certain Platonic concepts still long enough (heart, Immortalité, etc)

Jaeger also examines the Métaphysique , and distinguishes several states from the text: it finds there a primitive Métaphysique and a corrected platonism. Thus we have two texts which make the criticism of the Ideas (has, 9 and M, 4-5). For Jaeger, the first two books would make parts of a primitive metaphysics then; the book M would go back to one time when the school peripatetician is opposed to the Platonic school (thus, at the time of the second stay with Athens). But the part M, 9-10 would also form part of the primitive Métaphysique, before being replaced per M, 1. Book Z, on the Substance, would have been introduced later, to give a plan to the unit, since in this book metaphysics is not any more the Science the suprasensible one, but of the to be as being; this point would thus reveal also the critical evolution of Aristote compared to Plato, without it being known well if Aristote managed to overcome this contradictory design of metaphysics: theology or science to be it as being?

In the same way with regard to the ethical , one can distinguish a Platonic stage ( Protreptikos ), a critical platonism ( Éthique in Eudème ), and the aristotelism itself ( Éthique in Nicomaque ). The same kind of remarks can also apply to the Politique.

The Master

Lastly, the second stay with Athens mark acme of the Philosophy aristotelician. What is called usually aristotelism was elaborate during the second time. During the third time, Aristote is devoted to empirical research and it creates a new type of Science: its investigations are characterized by the description and the observation of the particular things.

Division of the philosophy of Aristote

Aristote was one of the first to proceed to systematic hierarchical classifications of knowledge and concepts , being perhaps inspired by the divisions used for the organization of the armies (this thesis would be to explain).

Its philosophy is divided into three parts; this division is remarkable, because it differs from usually received division (Logique, Physique, ethical): theoretic philosophy, practical philosophy and poetic philosophy . The theoretic part is divided in its turn into mathematical Physique, and Théologie; philosophy practices in economic, ethical and Politique; the Poétique includes/understands all the activities which produce a work.

Logic or organon

See also: Organon

The Organon is a whole of treaties which exposes logic aristotelician, but the order of these treaties is not chronological. Aristote initially thought of the rules of the discussion ( Topiques ) before its research in the field of the Logique does not enable him to invent the theory of the Syllogisme ( reasoning in Greek): it indexed the whole of the Syllogisme S in the First Analytical . (For a complete talk of the theory of the Syllogisme see in this article).

The first two treaties of Organon treat elements of the syllogism (terms and proposals); the First Analytical treat syllogism in general, the Second Analytical of the syllogisms whose premises are necessary and the Topiques treat syllogisms whose premises are probable (dialectical reasoning starting from generally accepted opinions).

If Aristote passes for the inventor of formal logic, the statute of logic in its thought is not very clear: is a organon (instrument, tool) or a Propédeutique? We do not know it. It seems, but they is extremely doubtful, which logic was to allow in its eyes to invent producing reasoning of knowing; nevertheless it uses about it very seldom. It is thus possible that Aristote actually intended to put the knowledge already made up in the systematic form of the Syllogisme.

Always it is that the Dialectique becomes for him, contrary to Plato, a simple exercise stripped of scientific certainty. But this exercise underlines however the need for distinguishing the direction well from the words, to avoid confusions. The Catégories thus analyze the terms of the proposals; in the same way, the proposal will be defined like the composition of a Sujet and a Attribut, because according to him, a dialectical problem consists in asking whether one really belongs to the other or not. The form of the proposal is thus: B belongs to A.

The logic of Aristote a long time dominant, was developed and improved with the Moyen-âge; but it is not the only logic of the Antiquité; there exists also a mégarico-stoical logic, very different in its principles (see Stoïcisme).

Logic aristotelician of the any truth or any forgery (or of the excluded third) is sometimes considered, in particular nowadays like a logic Binaire representing the Complexité badly things. It was necessary to await the beginning of the 20th century so that the obviousness of this principle of bivalence is clearly called in question, and that develop logical not standard (trivalent Logique, fuzzy Logique,…).


See also: Metaphysical (Aristote)

The word Métaphysique is not known of Aristote. It is for him the science of the to be as being, or of the principles and causes to be it and its essential attributes. Metaphysics raises the question to know with the result that a being is what it is. To answer it, research aristotelician more particularly carries on the manners of saying the to be. Thus the definition of the gasoline S depends it on philosophy first.

In the Catégories, Aristote explains several directions of what is said simply, i.e what is said without combination (terms of the proposals): substance (οὐσία/ ousía ), quality, quantity, relative, place, time, position, action, passion, to have. This categorization is the ancestor of the categories of the Entendement of Kant. This list is variable and seems to have to be supplemented by other concepts, such as to be in power or in act, deprivation, possession, former, posterior. But as regards being it, all the directions derive from the direction primitive and essential to be it substance.

The fundamental question of the Métaphysique is thus the Substance. According to him, indeed, all Métaphysique is reduced to the following question: what the Substance? Book Z of the Métaphysique seeks to answer this question (see Substance (Aristote)).

Aristote is always based on the same network of concepts, which are defined in the books Α and Δ of Métaphysique :


In the field of the action, Aristote distinguishes the praxis , action immanente which have its end in itself, and the poïesis , in the broad sense the production of a work external with the agent. This distinction places on the one hand practical sciences (ethical and Politique) and poetic sciences.


According to Aristote, any action tightens well towards a which is its end; but one can subordinate the ends to fine the last of the Homme compared to which they are themselves of the means. The postulate is thus the unit of the human ends. It does not seem to consider the possibility of conflicts for example between fine techniques and fine morals.

The supreme well is the Bonheur, but the opinions relating to it are variable: this good would be the pleasure, the honors or the richnesses. However for Aristote, the supreme good is beyond the particular goods which are only means by which happiness can be carried out. The significance of the good is thus not single, it is not a substance, but an analogical unit between various meanings. Aristote underlines three characteristics of the Bien sovereign:

  • self-sufficiency or Autarky: the happy man, a such God, does not need anything nor of anybody. The means do not make the quiddity of the end;
  • completion: it is finished, one cannot nothing add to it;
  • its functional character.

In its design of happiness, Aristote is not limited to the Vertu: happiness cannot be completed without the goods of the body and the goods external. Also the happiness of the man, if it depends on him, also depends on the external circumstances; to say as the Stoical that the wise one is happy until under torture, “is to speak anything to say”. On the contrary, the virtuous man is that which benefits from the circumstances to act with always the most possible nobility: the man is satisfied with best possible, without being passive, and does not seek an illusory absolute.

Lastly, the last character of the good, is to be the clean Acte of each to be:

  • happiness is not to be, possession or simple potentiality, it is effective use, activity and to make;
  • the clean act of each being is that which is in conformity with its gasoline: it is the excellence of the heart, in the intellectual virtues and morals.

The virtue

The virtue ( edge , excellence) is an acquired provision, consistent in a " happy medium relative to us, which is determined by the line regulates and such as the man prudent" would determine it; ( Ethical with Nicomaque ). It is neither a gift, nor a Science. Morality is not only about the logos (to know the well is not enough to make it), but pathos and êthos (manners). The virtue must thus penetrate the irrational part of the heart, seat of the virtues morals (contrary to the virtues dianoetic, suitable for the rational part of the heart).

No general Définition of the virtue can be given, because it is the experiment of the careful man, his acquired understanding which is the criteria of the right-hand side regulates. There is nevertheless a standard objectivable: medium between a defect and an excess, the measured use of the Passion which is not a mathematical average but a balance individualized and relating to the situation. Aristote thus defines the virtues in the situations without which they do not exist. The existence thus precedes the Concept of a virtue.

The virtue can take two forms: the ethical virtue or " prudence" (phronesis) and the intellectual virtue or " sagesse" (sophia).


Prudence is a virtue relative with the use of our passions i.e. it consists of a right use of our passions and affects (pathoi) according to the circumstances. Prudence consists in for example knowing when it is necessary to be in anger, up to which point and with which. It is thus capacity to be acted according to the circumstances in an adequate way.


Wisdom or sophia as for it consists of contemplation to be it divine such as it is described in the tenth book of ethics with Nicomaque. That which is wise (sophos) thus devotes to a contemplative life (bios theoretikos) far from passions and of the sufferings. It is this virtue which constitutes the highest form of virtue according to Aristote and not prudence.

Will and responsibility

See also: Will, Responsibility

Aristote is the first Philosophe of the Antiquité to have analyzed the conditions of the voluntary determination.

Some of our actions cannot be paid to our Volonté and one cannot to consequently return some us responsible. These actions, these are those that we do by Violence or by ignorance. Indeed sometimes we undergo external pressures to which it is impossible for us to resist. We are thus not responsible for our control.

But a man can also make bad a action because he is unaware of that it is bad, and that he does not have the idea of an action better than it would be necessary to make. One cannot thus show it to voluntarily make the Mal. Nevertheless, the Ignorance does not do all to forgive: there are cases where ignorance is punished, because it is things which it depended on the Homme of knowing and which it should have known ( Éthique in Nicomaque , III). And thus, we realize sometimes our ignorance and our error, and we recognize that we badly acted. But, at all events of our ignorance, it is never absolute, and we always consider the general principles which must direct the will. Consequently, we make the evil by misleading us on the circumstances where we are and on the means which it is a question of employing.

What is it actions made for pleasure? We always make them ourselves, that we are motivated by noble feelings or the selfishness of the Passion. Our will makes them because we find our pleasure there: we of it are thus responsible: That if it is claimed that all that is pleasant and beautiful exerts on us a kind of constraint, waited until they are external objects, then it would have to be said that all exerts on us a violent empire; because it is always for these things which the men make all that they make, in spite of them and consequently with sorrow, others with pleasures, because they consider only the pleasant side. However it is ridiculous to show the external objects rather than to be caught of it with oneself facility which one has to let allure. ( Ethical with Nicomaque , III)

Politics and economics

'' the Policy '' is one of the oldest treaties of political Philosophie of the ancient Greece.

The political word draws its etymology from the Greek word Polis , which corresponds to the Cité (in the Latin etymology civitas ).

In the Policy , Aristote tends to analyze the origin, the Finalité and the operation of the State, but also to study the operation of the Political regimes of its time. Its goal is to release best the possible Political regime, the ideal State. At the same time, he wants that is realizable.

In addition, Aristote further pushed the reflection on the economy that Plato. Aristote is a founder of the medieval thought, in economy in particular, and one finds in his works of the precursory concepts of the modern economic thinking.

Aristote shows with economic the and the Éthique in Nicomaque the basic difference between the economic one and the Chrématistique. The chrematistic one (of khréma, richness, possession) is art to grow rich, to acquire richnesses. According to Aristote, the accumulation of the Monnaie for the currency is an activity against nature and which dehumanizes those which are devoted to it: according to the example of Plato, he thus condemns the taste of the profit and the accumulation of richnesses.

See also: History of the economic thinking


See also: Poetic (Aristote)

Last work of the corpus aristotelician, probably one of most known of Aristote, Poetic the is interested in the various aspects of poetic art, like the tragedy, the epopee, and in an anecdotic way the music. Aristote mentions a future work on the comedy which belongs to the works disappeared from Aristote.

Contrary to its Master, Plato, which inter alia in the République and the Lois had been shown very critical towards the tragedy, considering that it degraded made the man and him believe on the gods of the false things, Aristote sees in this art a means for the man of purifying the heart of its passions.

This purification, or Catharsis comes from pity and the fear which test the spectators towards the characters of the Tragédie. So that this catharsis is possible, is needed that the characters is an imitation ( mimêsis ) of human passions, imitations as probable as possible. The intrigue, it, must be as coherent as possible, and proceed without tear since the starting situation until the conclusion. The best example, for Aristote, it is the Oedipus King, of Sophocle; on the other hand, the Médée of Euripide is regarded as a lower example of tragedy, because of the final deus ex machina (Médée carries the corpses of the children which it had with Jason on a carriage of fire).

The way in which the catharsis operates is not clear, in the text of Aristote. The spectators of the tragedies take pleasure to see scenes which would be insupportable for them in the daily life: it is perhaps in this esthetisation that the feelings can purify.


A body organized with the Vie in power, i.e. it will not have the vital functions of nutrition, growth, etc that if it has the form-substance of the heart. In Of the Heart (delivers II), Aristote defines this one as “the entéléchie first of a natural body which with the life in power. ” The heart is not always in Acte in the body (as in the sleep for example), but it is always the requirement of the functions of the body. It is thus the animating principle of the body, its motionless engine: Aristote is opposed here still to Plato, by rejecting the theories of the heart as pilot of the body which implies the independence of the first compared to this last. Actually, for Aristote, there is no separate life neither nor other.

The study of the heart will thus concern the Biologie and the Physique, by the study of the powers of the heart, which we would call psychophysiology: study of the functions nutritive, sensitive, driving and cognitive. These functions are treated on a hierarchical basis in the living organism, i.e for example, to have cognition, it is necessarily necessary to have the feeling. These functions do not differ really from/to each other, the heart is well one in the body, but one logically distinguishes them, according to their function.

The study of nature


See also: Physics (Aristote)

The Physique is, as its name indicates it, the Science of the Nature (“physical” comes from the “natural” Greek physikê meaning). Like any science, the purpose of it is to know its object by the Cause S. This concept of nature indicates for Aristote an internal principle of movement and rest. The first thing to make to establish this science, once the defined word, is to show that nature exists: are there things moving, and of this movement is it causes it a nature, i.e a principle?

Aristote tries to define the movement: “act (Entéléchie) of the power as such” ( Physical , III, 1,201, has 10s). Certain translators write “such” with the masculine. What is necessary to think about it? This question is always the object of a thorough reflection.


The works devoted to biology represent nearly one the third of the work of Aristote. One generally thinks that these works latest, are written well after the Organon ; it gives up its logic completely, with the profit of the only observation: the theory will have to return account of what is observed, and not the reverse - whereas Plato, in its classification of the animals (cf the Sophist ) puts fish in the same group that the birds, or qualified the man of “biped animal without feathers”.

These works seem addressed to a cultivated public, less broad than that for which the dialogs were intended, but not limiting itself to the members of the College.

One of the difficulties facing Aristote is that nature is the place of the accidental one: one cannot discourse on what necessarily occurs, as it is the case for theology or mathematics, but on what generally occurs: the best example is the existence of the monsters. Nature therefore is not completely delivered to chaos, an order emerges from the observation: “nature does not do anything nor superfluity in vain”: all has its raison d'être, therefore is explainable by the reason.

This work is mainly descriptive: The Histoire of the Animals is only one compilation of facts concerning the life of the various animal species; Parties the Animals is interested him in classification of the animals by kind and species. It is interesting to note that this side of science aristotelician will have one lifespan much more important than its physics: the latter was criticized and put at bottom by the discoveries of Galileo, but the classification of the animals of Aristote will perdurera it until Buffon (1707-1788).


It only evokes the plants to locate them in a more general plan of organization of the living organisms, Aristote is only interested rather little in the study of the Plantes for themselves. Aristote says that the plants nourish primarily humus, i.e. of organic matters, that they draw from the ground.


In De Coloribus , Aristote inaugurates not only the science of the colors, but also the relation between the color and the character. Thus it supports that those which are extremely black ( sea-wrack melanes ) are couards, the case of the former Egyptians which according to him was sea-wrack melanes , too blacks. But it continues, those which are too white are also couards, the case of the white women who would be according to him for the majority whiter than the men leucodermes. De Coloribus makes of Aristote the father of the science of the colors and to a certain extent sociobiology.


Milked Aristote of the birds in book IX of the History of the animals . But the species which it quotes it are in the disorder and does not raise any attempt of classification. The facts quite real and observed well are mixed with many errors or legends. Aristote affirms thus that if the Tonnerre thunders during incubation, the eggs will not give any birth or that the Rossignol hides during all of winter to reappear only in spring.


The work of Aristote had a considerable posterity. Its work was transmitted in several stages, with strong questionings.

Thus, the works of Aristote such as we know them in fact were not conceived by Aristote itself. The classification of these notes in volumes is due to Andronicos of Rhodos, the first editor of Aristote, which lived towards the II {{E}} front century J. - C. We owe him the titles of the works of Aristote, like Éthique in Nicomaque or the Métaphysique .

With the disappearance of the College, certain work of Aristote disappears; works are lost (of which a part, which was probably made up only of copies of the originals, at the time of the destruction of the Bibliothèque of Alexandria), and the Métaphysique was published only very tardily.

The Latin philosopher Boèce, also consul of the Roman Empire around the year 500 pennies the king ostrogoth Théodoric the Large one, translated the Logic and the Analytical ones of Aristote. He left moreover three books of comments. Its work, at the disposal of the intellectuals of the high-Means Age, fact of him a major relay enters Antiquity and the Western Middle Ages.

With the the Middle Ages, its speculative philosophy was redécouverte, in a context of competitions of schools, thanks to the philosophers judéo-Moslems, in particular with Maïmonide and Averroès. At the 12th century was held a general movement of translation of works of philosophers and Greek and Arab scientists by teams including/understanding of the representatives of the three large Religion S monotheists (Christianity, Judaism, Islam). These translations took place between 1120 and 1190, to Tolède then in four towns of Italy (Palermo, Rome, Venice, Pisa), This period corresponds to the Renaissance of XIIe century. Works of Aristote were translated word for word into Latin by Albert Large the and Guillaume de Moerbeke, near to Thomas d' Aquin.

At the 13th century, philosophy aristotelician, transformed by Thomas d' Aquin into official doctrines of the Catholic church, then became the philosophical and scientific reference of any serious reflection, thus giving rise to the Scolastique and to the Thomisme. It is considered that Thomas d' Aquin carried out a reconciliation between works of Aristote and the Christianisme. The success of this company was so large that one named simply Aristote “the Philosopher”.

See also: Scholastic

The franciscain Roger Bacon, at the 13th century, undertook to check by curiosity certain aspects of the work of Aristote which had not been the subject of a critical revision. With its surprise, he discovered that some facts exposed in the Organon were erroneous.

Internal controversies with the Scolastique had started to involve its decline at the 16th century: in France, the first to be called into question the doctrines of Aristote was Pierre of Ramée (1515 - 1572) which declared in its thesis: quaecumque ab Aristotele dictated essent commentitia ess , all that said Aristote is only falseness .

It will be necessary to await Galileo then Torricelli and Blaise Pascal so that, on experimental bases, some of its lesson as regards physical sciences are disputed: commit suicide scorpion surrounded by flames, falling speed of the bodies proportional to their weight, horror of nature for the vacuum, etc criticisms of the modern time are not surprising since Aristote lived at fourth century BC., and that it did not lay out of the aids observation and scientific experimentation appeared as from the 17th century.

Starting from the beginning of the 17th century, the controversy on the Représentation S of the world (Géocentrisme against Héliocentrisme) involved the questioning of work of Aristote. Indeed, in what one called later on the Métaphysique (Aristote), Aristote represented the world in two parts (sublunary and supralunaire). The stars were supposed to be perfect spheres. This design in which the Earth was in the center of the Univers, already called into question by Copernic (1543), was obviously strongly discussed starting from the beginning of the 17th century by characters like Giordano Bruno, and especially Galileo. Galileo had put in scene in the Dialog on the two great systems of the world (Dialogo will sopra I due massimi sistemi LED mondo of 1632) three characters, of which one (Simplicio) was favorable to the theories of Aristote. Galileo was condemned in June 1633, and his sorrow commuted by Urbain VIII to house arrest.

See also: Galileo Galilei

Descartes learned the exit from the lawsuit of Galileo in November 1633, and when it accepted a copy of the work of Galileo, it renonça to publish its own work (the Traité world and light).

Thus Descartes decided to launch out in a philosophical career, and wrote successively celebrates it Discourse on Method (1637), the Méditations metaphysics (1641), and the Principles of philosophy (1644). Descartes, influenced by the ideas of its century, criticized the positions of the " aristotelicians ".

One reproached the work of Aristote some improbabilities in his physical, compared to the discoveries of modern science at the 17th century, such as for example:

  • sublunary World supralunaire (perfect Spheres, in contradiction with the mountains on the moon, the sunspots, Jupiter satellites observed by Galileo),
  • Movement, associated with the force, and not with acceleration (makes the force of it corresponds to the causes efficient).

The Cartesian Philosophy and its continuations with the XVIIIe and 19th century (Ideology S) thus caused to make forget the Métaphysique of Aristote, and consequently, all its philosophy and the Métaphysique. In the majority of the works of History of sciences and Philosophy, until the Second world war, the work of Aristote was systematically décriée, because of the géocentrée Représentation , at the same time as one criticized the errors of the Catholic church in the lawsuit of Galileo.

The great influence of this work is undoubtedly explained partly by its encyclopedic character, which tries to add up the To know. Plato called besides it “the reader”. However, if one could regard Aristote as the synthesis incarnated of all the Greek Culture philosophical and scientist, it is not conceivable to consider, today like yesterday, that its philosophy gives a simple and final answer to any question: on the contrary, the attentive reading of its works show that Aristote was aware of what there can be the interminable one in the research of the Vérité, and which certain questions of order Métaphysique remain open. It is the posterity of Aristote which will give an indication of dogmatic of it having answer to all, and it is this image which will be fought by Francis Bacon in his Nouvel Organon .

Historically, Aristote seems the first author carrying out of the hierarchical Classifications knowledge of way systematic. This mode of classification, which could be of its invention (it was in any case unknown librarians of Sumer), survived until our days. It is employed for example in the heuristic charts since the Années 1970, in a spirit Holistique. We start with us to detach from it only with the relational databases.

In September 1998, a Encyclique of the Pape Jean-Paul II (Fides and ratio) stresses the importance of the Philosophie of Aristote in the transmission of the To know.

This encyclical mentions the importance of the Philosophie of nature.

List works

See also: List of works of Aristote according to Diogène Laërce

Note: this list is not chronological, but represents the traditional order of the corpus aristotelician. The attribution of certain works is doubtful ( D in the list).

  • Of the Generation and Corruption

  • On the Universe
  • Physics
  • Treated Weather Sky
  • the
  • Of the Heart
  • Small Treaties Of Natural history

    • Of the feeling and significant the
    • Of the memory and the reminiscence
    • Of the sleep and the day before
    • Of the dreams
    • Of the divination in the sleep
    • Of longevity and the short life
    • Of youth and old age
    • Of breathing
    • Of the life and dead the
  • History of the Animals

  • Left the Animals
  • Of the Movement of the Animals
  • Walk of the Animals
  • Generation of the Animals
  • Minor Work

    • On the colors
    • On hearing
    • Physiognomic
    • On the plants
    • On astonishing facts
    • mechanical Problems
    • On the invisible lines
    • Of the origin and the names of the winds
    • On Melissus, Xenophane and Gorgias
  • Problems (d)

  • Rhetoric with Alexandre (Economic d)
  • Metaphysical
  • the
  • Great Morals (d)
  • Ethical in Ethical Nicomaque
  • in Eudème
  • Of the Virtues and the Defects
  • the Policy
  • Rhetoric
  • Poetic the
  • Constitution of Athens



With the the Middle Ages, the philosophers wrote " PHILOSOPHE" , all letters being in capital letters, to indicate Aristote.

Old editions

The old editions of Aristote most notable are those of:
  • Alde Manuce (Venice 1495-98), in-fol.
  • Sylburge (Frankfurt, 1585-86), all Greek
  • Guillaume Duval, (Paris, 1619 and 1654), in-fol., Greek-Latin
  • the German Philologue Gottfried Hermann published in 1802 an edition of Poetic the .
  • Bekkeret Held up, Greek-Latin, with a choice of comments, published in the name of the Academy of Berlin, (Berlin, 1830-1836), 4 vol. in-4,
  • the Collection Didot, (1848-60).

See too

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