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Quotes of the day: Aristotle

Published Sunday, June 01, 2014 @ 2:06 AM EDT
Jun 01 2014

Aristotle (384 – 322 BCE)[ was a Greek philosopher and scientist born in Stagirus, northern Greece. His father, Nicomachus, died when Aristotle was a child, whereafter Proxenus of Atarneus became his guardian. At 18, he joined Plato's Academy in Athens and remained there until the age of 37 (c. 347 BCE). His writings cover many subjects- physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theater, music, rhetoric, linguistics, politics and government- and constitute the first comprehensive system of Western philosophy. Shortly after Plato died, Aristotle left Athens and, at the request of Philip of Macedon, tutored Alexander the Great between 356 and 323 BCE. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A democracy is a government in the hands of men of low birth, no property, and vulgar employments.

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.

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.

Evils draw men together.

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.

How many a dispute could have been deflated into a single paragraph if the disputants had dared to define their terms?

If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost.

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.

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.

It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen.

It is not the possessions but the desires of mankind which require to be equalized.

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

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

Law is order, and good law is good order.

Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.

Man is by nature a political animal.

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

Nature does nothing uselessly.

No one loves the man whom he fears.

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.

Our characters are the result of our conduct.

Piety requires us to honor truth above our friends.

Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.

Probable impossibilities are to be preferred to improbable possibilities.

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.

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

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

The law is reason unaffected by desire.

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.

The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.

There is a foolish corner in the brain of the wisest man.

This is the reason why mothers are more devoted to their children than fathers: it is that they suffer more in giving them birth and are more certain that they are their own.

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

To find yourself, think for yourself.

We cannot learn without pain.

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

What lies in our power to do, lies in our power not to do.

What soon grows old? Gratitude.

Wicked men obey from fear; good men, from love.

Wit is well-bred insolence.

Youth is easily deceived, because it is quick to hope.

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