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Inspirational Quotes and Philosophy by Aristotle

Aristotle tutoring Alexander by J L G Ferris 1895. {{PD-US}}


Aristotle Quotes about Art & Poetry


Inspirational Quotes by Aristotle about Art & Poetry

“Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Poetics


“Poetry demands a man with a special gift for it, or else one with a touch of madness in him.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Poetics


“Homer has taught all other poets the art of telling lies skillfully.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Poetics


“But the greatest thing by far is to have a command of metaphor. This alone cannot be imparted by another; it is the mark of genius, for to make good metaphors implies an eye for resemblances.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Poetics


“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” 

– Aristotle

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Aristotle Quotes on Character & Virtue

Inspirational Quotes by Aristotle on Character & Virtue

Reggio Calabria, Santuario di San Paolo by Saverio Autellitano

 

“Anyone can get angry — that is easy — or give or spend money; but to do this to the right person, to the right extent, at the right time, with the right motive, and in the right way, that is not for every one, nor is it easy.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Nicomachean Ethics


“Therefore only an utterly senseless person can fail to know that our characters are the result of our conduct.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Nicomachean Ethics


“If … we state the function of man to be a certain kind of life, and this to be an activity or actions of the soul implying a rational principle, and the function of a good man to be the good and noble performance of these, and if any action is well performed when it is performed in accordance with the appropriate excellence … human good turns out to be activity of the soul in accordance with virtue, and if there are more than one virtue, in accordance with the best and most complete.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Nicomachean Ethics


“The truly good and wise man will bear all kinds of fortune in a seemly way, and will always act in the noblest manner that the circumstances allow.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Nicomachean Ethics


“Again, it is possible to fail in many ways (for evil belongs to the class of the unlimited … and good to that of the limited), while to succeed is possible only in one way (for which reason also one is easy and the other difficult—to miss the mark easy, to hit it difficult); for these reasons also, then, excess and defect are characteristic of vice, and the mean of virtue; For men are good in but one way, but bad in many.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Nicomachean Ethics


“The vices respectively fall short of or exceed what is right in both passions and actions, while virtue both finds and chooses that which is intermediate.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Nicomachean Ethics


“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over self.” 

– Aristotle

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Aristotle Quotes on Education

Inspirational Quotes on Education by Aristotle

Engraving by Charles Laplante

 

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

– Aristotle


“The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living differ from the dead.” – Aristotle


“The roots of education … are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Lives of Eminent Philosophers


“Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.” – Aristotle


“In a word, acts of any kind produce habits or characters of the same kind. Hence we ought to make sure that our acts are of a certain kind; for the resulting character varies as they vary. It makes no small difference, therefore, whether a man be trained in his youth up in this way or that, but a great difference, or rather all the difference.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Nicomachean Ethics


“There can be no doubt that children should be taught those useful things which are really necessary, but not all things, for occupations are divided into liberal and illiberal; and to young children should be imparted only such kinds of knowledge as will be useful to them without vulgarizing them. And any occupation, art, or science which makes the body, or soul, or mind of the freeman less fit for the practice or exercise of virtue is vulgar; wherefore we call those arts vulgar which tend to deform the body, and likewise all paid employments, for they absorb and degrade the mind. There are also some liberal arts quite proper for a freeman to acquire, but only in a certain degree, and if he attend to them too closely, in order to attain perfection in them, the same evil effects will follow.”

– Aristotle


“My lectures are published and not published; they will be intelligible to those who heard them, and to none beside.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Letter to Alexander the Great


“It is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits; it is evidently equally foolish to accept probable reasoning from a mathematician and to demand from a rhetorician scientific proofs.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Nicomachean Ethics

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Aristotle Quotes on Friendship

Inspirational Quotes by Aristotle on Friendship

Plato and Aristotle by Raphaël

 

“Misfortune shows those who are not really friends.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Eudemian Ethics, Book VII


“Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Nicomachean Ethics


“The best friend is he that, when he wishes a person’s good, wishes it for that person’s own sake.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Nicomachean Ethics


“Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Lives of Eminent Philosophers

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Aristotle Quotes on Happiness

Inspirational Quotes on Happiness by Aristotle

Platon, Seneca, Aristoteles by Raphael

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

– Aristotle


“For some identify happiness with virtue, some with practical wisdom, others with a kind of philosophic wisdom, others with these, or one of these, accompanied by pleasure or not without pleasure; while others include also external prosperity. Now … it is not probable that these should be entirely mistaken, but rather that they should be right in at least some one respect or even in most respects.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Nicomachean Ethics


“For pleasure is a state of soul, and to each man that which he is said to be a lover of is pleasant…. Now for most men their pleasures are in conflict with one another because these are not by nature pleasant, but the lovers of what is noble find pleasant the things that are by nature pleasant; and virtuous actions are such… Happiness then is the best, noblest, and most pleasant thing in the world, and these attributes are not severed as in the inscription at Delos: Most noble is that which is justest, and best is health; but pleasantest is it to win what we love.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Nicomachean Ethics


“Happiness, whether consisting in pleasure or virtue, or both, is more often found with those who are highly cultivated in their minds and in their character, and have only a moderate share of external goods, than among those who possess external goods to a useless extent but are deficient in higher qualities.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Economics

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Aristotle Quotes on Life

Inspirational Quotes on Life by Aristotle

Copy of Lysipps Atistotle, Roma

“We must as second best, as people say, take the least of the evils.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Nicomachean Ethics


“Thus every action must be due to one or other of seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reasoning, anger, or appetite.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Economics


“If there is some end of the things we do, which we desire for its own sake, clearly this must be the good. Will not knowledge of it, then, have a great influence on life? Shall we not, like archers who have a mark to aim at, be more likely to hit upon what we should? If so, we must try, in outline at least, to determine what it is.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Nicomachean Ethics


“For just as for a flute-player, a sculptor, or an artist, and, in general, for all things that have a function or activity, the good and the well is thought to reside in the function, so would it seem to be for man, if he has a function.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Nicomachean Ethics


“For the things we have to learn before we can do, we learn by doing.”

– Aristotle


“One swallow does not make a summer, nor does one day; and so too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and happy.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Nicomachean Ethics


“Hope … is a waking dream.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Lives of Eminent Philosophers

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Aristotle Quotes on Love

“Remember that time slurs over everything, let all deeds fade, blurs all writings and kills all memories. Except are only those which dig into the hearts of men by love.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in “The Letter of Aristotle to Alexander on the Policy toward the Cities”


“The appropriate age for marriage is around eighteen for girls and thirty-seven for men.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Politics

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Aristotle Quotes on Morality & Ethics

“Man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Politics


“Evils draw men together.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Economics


“I have gained this by philosophy … I do without being ordered what some are constrained to do by their fear of the law.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Lives of Eminent Philosophers

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Aristotle Quotes on Nature

Inspirational Quotes on Nature by Aristotle

Portrait of Aristoteles, imperial Roman copy, Louvre museum

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

– Aristotle, as quoted in Parts of Animas, Book I


“The bodies of which the world is composed are solids, and therefore have three dimensions. Now, three is the most perfect number,—it is the first of numbers, for of one we do not speak as a number, of two we say both, but three is the first number of which we say all. Moreover, it has a beginning, a middle, and an end.”

– Aristotle


“Concerning the generation of animals akin to them, as hornets and wasps, the facts in all cases are similar to a certain extent, but are devoid of the extraordinary features which characterize bees; this we should expect, for they have nothing divine about them as the bees have.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Generation of Animals, Book III


“We should venture on the study of every kind of animal without distaste; for each and all will reveal to us something natural and something beautiful.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Parts of Animas, Book I


“Nature flies from the infinite, for the infinite is unending or imperfect, and Nature ever seeks an end.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Generation of Animals, Book I


“But that the unequal should be given to equals, and the unlike to those who are like, is contrary to nature, and nothing which is contrary to nature is good.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Politics

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Aristotle Quotes on Politics

“For legislators make the citizens good by forming habits in them, and this is the wish of every legislator, and those who do not effect it miss their mark, and it is in this that a good constitution differs from a bad one.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Nicomachean Ethics

“Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always to remain unaltered.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Politics


“The law is reason unaffected by desire.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Politics


“They should rule who are able to rule best.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Politics

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Aristotle Quotes on Religion

“If, then, God is always in that good state in which we sometimes are, this compels our wonder; and if in a better this compels it yet more. And God is in a better state. And life also belongs to God; for the actuality of thought is life, and God is that actuality; and God’s self-dependent actuality is life most good and eternal.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Metaphysics

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Aristotle Quotes on Society

Inspirational Quotes on Society by Aristotle

Plato and Aristotle, or Philosophy. Marble panel from the North side, lower basement of the bell tower of Florence, Italy. Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.

“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.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Politics


“It is well said, then, that it is by doing just acts that the just man is produced, and by doing temperate acts the temperate man; without doing these no one would have even a prospect of becoming good. But most people do not do these, but take refuge in theory and think they are being philosophers and will become good in this way, behaving somewhat like patients who listen attentively to their doctors, but do none of the things they are ordered to do.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Nicomachean Ethics


“Inferiors revolt in order that they may be equal, and equals that they may be superior. Such is the state of mind which creates revolutions.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Politics


“That judges of important causes should hold office for life is a disputable thing, for the mind grows old as well as the body.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Politics


“Those who live in a cold climate and in [northern] Europe are full of spirit, but wanting in intelligence and skill; and therefore they keep their freedom, but have no political organization, and are incapable of ruling over others. Whereas the natives of Asia are intelligent and inventive, but they are wanting in spirit, and therefore they are always in a state of subjection and slavery. But the Hellenic race, which is situated between them, is likewise intermediate in character, being high-spirited and also intelligent. Hence it continues free, and is the best governed of any nation, and, if it could be formed into one state, would be able to rule the world.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Politics


“One would have thought that it was even more necessary to limit population than property; and that the limit should be fixed by calculating the chances of mortality in the children, and of sterility in married persons. The neglect of this subject, which in existing states is so common, is a never-failing cause of poverty among the citizens; and poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Politics

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Aristotle Quotes on Truth & Wisdom

Inspirational Quotes by Aristotle about Truth & Wisdom

“The young have exalted notions, because they have not been humbled by life or learned its necessary limitations; moreover, their hopeful disposition makes them think themselves equal to great things—and that means having exalted notions. They would always rather do noble deeds than useful ones: Their lives are regulated more by moral feeling than by reasoning…. All their mistakes are in the direction of doing things excessively and vehemently. They overdo everything; they love too much, hate too much, and the same with everything else.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Economics


“All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all others the sense of sight. For not only with a view to action, but even when we are not going to do anything, we prefer sight to almost everything else. The reason is that this, most of all the senses, makes us know and brings to light many differences between things.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Metaphysics


“Those who assert that the mathematical sciences say nothing of the beautiful or the good are in error. For these sciences say and prove a great deal about them; if they do not expressly mention them, but prove attributes which are their results or definitions, it is not true that they tell us nothing about them. The chief forms of beauty are order and symmetry and definiteness, which the mathematical sciences demonstrate in a special degree.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Metaphysics

  


“Knowledge of the fact differs from knowledge of the reason for the fact.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Economics


“It is simplicity that makes the uneducated more effective than the educated when addressing popular audiences.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Economics


“It is absurd to hold that a man ought to be ashamed of being unable to defend himself with his limbs but not of being unable to defend himself with speech and reason, when the use of reason is more distinctive of a human being than the use of his limbs.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Economics


“Piety requires us to honor truth above our friends.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Nicomachean Ethics

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Aristotle Quotes on Wealth

“The life of money-making is one undertaken under compulsion, and wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Nicomachean Ethics


“Money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of all modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.”

– Aristotle, as quoted in Politics

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Quotes about Aristotle

“It is pretty definitely settled, among men competent to form a judgment, that Aristotle was the best educated man that ever walked on the surface of this earth. He is still, as he was in Dante’s time, the “master of those that know.” It is, therefore, not without reason that we look to him, not only as the best exponent of ancient education, but as one of the worthiest guides and examples in education generally. That we may not lose the advantage of his example, it will be well, before we consider his educational theories, to cast a glance at his life, the process of his development, and his work.”

– Thomas Davidson, in Aristotle and Ancient Educational Ideals (1892)


“He penetrated into the whole universe of things, and subjected its scattered wealth to intelligence; and to him the greater number of the philosophical sciences owe their origin and distinction.”

– Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, as quoted in Aristotle: a Chapter from the History of Science by George Henry Lewes


“Aristotle, as a philosopher, is in many ways very different from all his predecessors. He is the first to write like a professor: his treatises are systematic, his discussions are divided into heads, he is a professional teacher, not an inspired prophet. His work is critical, careful, pedestrian, without any trace of Bacchic enthusiasm. The Orphic elements in Plato are watered down in Aristotle, and mixed with a strong dose of common sense; where he is Platonic, one feels that his natural temperament has been overpowered by the teaching to which he has been subjected. He is not passionate, or in any profound sense religious. The errors of his predecessors were the glorious errors of youth attempting the impossible; his errors are those of age which cannot free itself of habitual prejudices. He is best in detail and in criticism; he fails in large construction, for lack of fundamental clarity and Titanic fire.”

– Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy (1945),

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