Aristotle Reflective Essay
The antique civilization gave the world numerous poets and philosophers, whose ideas are still urgent nowadays. A philosophical discourse between Aristotle and his teacher Plato about that is prior – an idea or a form, started centuries ago. This theme changed with the time and turned into the discussion between scientists and clergy.
Even now many people argue what was first – a word of God or an ape that became a human being. The difference between the worldviews of Plato and Aristotle is significant. Aristotle point of view is scientific, realistic and pragmatic, while Plato is idealistic and abstract in his thoughts.
The first difference between these two philosophers is in their perception of the society. Both Plato and Aristotle considered the polis to be the best way of organization in the state. Though, Plato thought that the main goal of politics was to create an ideal society, where the intelligence was the priority. No need to say that the Greek society of that time did not meet the requirements of the philosopher and that is why Plato wanted to create the revolutionary new way of ruling the country.
In his turn, Aristotle was war from being that idealistic as Plato was. He understood that it was impossible to create a new society and proposed the ideas about making the current state better. He believed that there were two types of government: non-virtuous and virtuous. Even though he did not support the rule of the majority, he wrote that the democracy is better that other forms of ruling. The philosopher wrote that oligarchy, the rule of the rich people, was worse than democracy, because it had two opposite groups that participated in the conflict. He stated:
Democracy is more stable and less prone to factional conflict than oligarchy. In an oligarchy there are two types of possible conflict, namely, conflict between the oligarchs themselves and conflict between the oligarchs and the people. In a democracy, however, there is only conflict between citizens favoring democracy and citizens favoring oligarchy, as no serious factional conflict arises in the people [that is, those favoring democracy] against themselves (Aristotle 27).
In my opinion, the point of view expressed by Aristotle is better that the one of Plato. He was more realistic in his thought. The ideas of Plato about the creation of a new society where everything will be optimal and the intelligence will rule were used numerous times by the writers. For example, the utopias and anti-utopias like the works of Thomas More, George Orwell of Aldous Huxley. The conception of socialism and communism can also be called the desire to create an ideal society, and the results of this experience are well-known. That is why I prefer the thoughts of Aristotle in the political discourse. It is possible to presume that if someone wants to create the new society, he/ she needs to destroy the old one, and the destruction is always connected with numerous deaths. Plate did not write about mass assassination, but it is not difficult to imagine the possible process of changing the system, judging by the news from the countries of the Middle East.
The second difference between the philosophical views of Aristotle and Plato is in their perception of the material world. Plato thought that all things that seem to be real were just the replicas of the true things that existed in the invisible world. In his work The Republic, he wrote that the life was a smoke, an illusion of the Forms (Plato 46-51). This idea became quite popular among the mystics. The first association that comes to mind is Emanuel Swedenborg, who lived in the 18th century and wrote that everything in our life is the reflection of the words of angels and demons.
Aristotle was not an idealist and mystic, so he preferred to percept the life from scientific point of view. He thought that everything in the world could be explained. Even if something did not have a logical explanation, it was a sign that the mankind needed to progress and only then people would be able to answer that question. Aristotle studied the Forms of life with his teacher Plato, though he did not try to search for ideal ones. He wrote that the world consisted of those forms. They were all natural and real, but they did not need to be ideal.
The modern age can be definitely called the time of science, where the majority of people know they went through evolution and once their predecessors used to be apes. It seems like there is nothing impossible for the technology. People are flying in the rockets and the mankind can be destroyed in several minutes with a nuclear bomb. However, it is sometimes difficult to live with a thought that there is no love. According to the science, this feeling is just the burst of hormones. In addition, there is no soul – the individuality of people of the scientific era is nothing but the cooperation of neurons. So, I think that it is not very strange that people nowadays enjoy reading Harry Potter series, where there is a lot of magic. There is still a need for a fairytale, because the reality where everything can be explained with the rational point of view is dull. In addition, there is still a chance that there is something unexplainable in the world. It is impossible to learn whether Plato was right or not when he wrote that the real life is the mimic of the unreal world. That is why I prefer his viewpoint.
Aristotle and Plato can be called the geniuses of all times. They lived centuries ago, but their ideas still find their place in the modern culture. Numerous writers and philosophers developed their thoughts in books, but the truth is still hidden. So, perhaps, there is no truth at all and the optimal decision is to doubt both in the ideas of Plato and of Aristotle.
Aristotle. Politics. Web.
Lawhead, William F. The Voyage of Discovery: A History of Western Philosophy. Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1996. Print.
Plato. The Republic. Web.