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Essay
Pages
9 pages
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3124 words
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Aristotle v. Plato on Metaphysics

June 8, 2018
Odle 1
Liam Odle
Professor Terry MacMullan
Ancient Civ.
29 November 2016
Aristotle v. Plato on Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Political Theory
Plato and Aristotle are both very prominent figures that influenced much of what we
study today in Philosophy, Biology, and many other fields of study. An example of this is
Aristotle’s framework for creating the scientific method; “Aristotle is recognized as giving the
earliest systematic treatise on the nature of scientific inquiry in the western tradition, one which
embraced observation and reasoning about the natural world” (Andersen). With Plato and
Aristotle working in similar fields like metaphysics, epistemology, and political theory it is often
asked who offers a more practical view in these fields? Plato took a rationalist approach to
knowledge while Aristotle offered an empiricist view on knowledge. Plato believed forms made
up the realm of reality while Aristotle believed reality made up the forms. Plato offered a dualist
approach to the soul compared to Aristotle's view which is the belief objects are made of matter
and form and developed a theory known as body-soul hylomorphism based on these principles.
Lastly, both Plato and Aristotle offer us different ways in which a government should conduct
itself. Plato offers a communist-like utopian government in which philosophers control all the
means of production and make all the executive choices while Aristotle offers six different
governments with the most known one being a much better democratic government where
decisions are made by the middle class as he is of the belief that they did serve the interest of
their fellow citizens the best. Aristotle offers a far more practical view in the fields of
metaphysics, epistemology, and political theory.
Odle 2
In relationship to metaphysics, Plato and Aristotle were some of the first philosophers to
develop ideas on what the soul is and how it pertains to us. Plato, a rationalist, is of the belief
that some of our ideas come from reason rather than observations, which is the idea known as a
priori, and independent of experience. He asserts that experience can bring about knowledge to
the consciousness, but it cannot create it. In the Phaedo, Plato claims “that knowledge is simply
recollection, if true, also necessarily implies a previous time in which we have learned that which
we now recollect.”(Phaedo). Plato claims our knowledge must come from a previous time, for if
it did not we would not be able to distinguish ideas such as equality. Aristotle is an empiricist

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