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Wisdom, he maintains, is ten thousand times better than pleasure ; and, quoting from an old poet, he thinks the model for all prayer should be,— King Jove, give us what is good, whether we ask for it or not, and ward off what is dangerous, even though we pray for it.'
DIED B.C. 322.
RISTOTLE was a native of Stageira, in Thrace, and
hence his appellation of The Stagirite.' He pro
bably inherited from his father, who was physician to Amyntas, King of Macedonia, his taste for physiological study, as well as sufficient means to enable him to devote his life to the acquirement of knowledge. At the age of seventeen he went to complete his studies at Athens, where for twenty years he attended Plato's school of philosophy, and laid the foundation for a system of his own, vhich has ever since influenced the thoughts of mankind. The natural bias of his intellect, however, was in a different direction from that of his master ; for, while Plato aspired to intuitions which in this world could never be revealed, Aristotle's search was for definite principles upon which to lay the foundations of the sciences. Hence his inability to sympathise with Plato's doctrine of speculative ideas, called Realism, and his contention for the theory of ascertained facts, or Nominalism. For example, Plato regarded Rhetoric as subordinating truth to effect; but Aristotle maintained it was a science by which sophistry might be exposed, and truth defended. At the same time, he challenged the superficial teaching of the art by the veteran Isocrates.
After Plato's death, Aristotle was invited by Philip of Macedon to become the tutor of his son, Alexander ; but no records exist as to the manner in which he fulfilled his trust, or of his views on the subject of education. When his pupil succeeded to the throne, he obtained from him a large sum for the prosecution of his scientific investigations; and, opening a school at Athens, in grounds with covered walks, from which the name of Peripatetics' came to be given to his sect, he demonstrated or read to his pupils his various works, as he compiled them from the materials he had been all his life long gathering.
On the death of Alexander, an indictment of impiety was brought against him by the Platonists and the antiMacedonian party, and he retired to Chalcis in Euboea, in order that the Athenians might not again sin against philosophy, as they had done in the person of Socrates, and died there the following year-after having, by his intellectual achievements, placed himself at the very head of ancient thought, and won the admiration and allegiance of the students of many succeeding centuries.
In the catalogue of the great library of Alexandria the titles of 146 works of Aristotle are given ; but, as none of these have been preserved, it would be natural to infer that the forty treatises bearing his name which have been handed down to us cannot be genuine. There are, however, reasons for believing that the former were only his early attempts at authorship, and that the latter were written during the last thirteen years of his life. These, it is supposed, were collected and completed, after his decease, by his disciples, by whom they were hidden away for upwards of 150 years, in order to prevent them from being seized by the kings of Pergamus, and ultimately were published at Rome in their present shape. Thus his most important productions were well nigh consigned to perpetual oblivion, in which case many of the modes in which we think and speak at the present day would have been different from what they are: Some of the treatises are incomplete, and the authorship of others is doubtful, but they have an organic connection with each other, and the key to their arrangement is that science is divided into practical, constructive, and theoretical- the first pertaining to man and human action, the second treat
ing of art and the laws by which it is governed, and the third including physics, mathematics, and theology or metaphysics. Belonging, however, to neither of these divisions are his logical writings, dealing with the method of thought and the laws of reasoning-collectively named by the Peripatetics 'the Organon' or instrument. These appear to have been the earliest of all his extant works, whilst the last of all were probably those on metaphysics. The bulk of Aristotle's writings was less wonderful than their vast and various scopes, and the amount of original thought imparted through them to the world, earning for him a reputation which no man had previously or has since attained.
His ‘Organon consists of six treatises, two of which, entitled Categories' and 'On Interpretation,' have been more read and commented on than all his other works. The Categories are an analysis and classification of the things which men speak of, or ten different modes of assertion. “On Interpretation' treats of sentences which affirm or deny something, with remarks on words fit or unfit to become terms. He argues, for instance, that there are three heads of the possible, and uses the phrase "first substances' to denote those that, according to his theory, have never not been, such as the stars, sun, and planets. Both these treatises, however, are of doubtful origin. The object of the next, named 'Topics,' is to discover a method by which we shall be able to reason from probabilities on any given question, and to defend a position without being driven to contradict our own assertions. This is not Logic, but Dialectics, or the art of discussion, and it was from his researches in the latter that Aristotle developed the former, and discovered the principles of the Syllogism. He specifies four chief instruments or seats of argument, namely, to have a large collection of authoritative sayings, to study the different senses in which terms are used, to detect differences, and to note resemblances. These sug. gestions he expands at great length, and then advises how to arrange and marshal an argument, and shows how to conceal from an adversary what we want to prove, until we get him to admit something implying the point we are aiming at. Aristotle did not use the word Logic, but
Analytics, by which he meant the science of analysing the forms of reasoning; nor did he pretend to have invented the process; but he so perfectly reduced it to a system that no subsequent philosophers have been able to add a single point of any importance to his theory, many parts of which read like Euclid without the diagrams. He did not maintain that nature could be expounded by means of syllogisms, but he says that the same course must be pursued in philosophy, and in every science or branch of knowledge, you must study facts. He seems to have had an idea, however, that, after gathering facts up to a certain point, a flash of reason or intuition intervenes to establish a law, and consequently he does not sufficiently insist upon verification of principles. In his second series of Analytics he deals with the Logic of Science, and begins with these words,— All teaching and all intellectual learning arise out of previously existing knowledge. Each science, he says, has its own primary, universal, and immediate principles, which are not innate, but the source of them is reason or observation; and, in opposition to Plato, he contends it is not necessary for science that Ideas should have a separate existence. In connection with this treatise he wrote his
Sophistical Confutations,' in which he classifies the fallacies employed in argument, and shows that every unsound reason is the counterfeit of a sound one, and that fallacy arises from the use of a double meaning. He thus primarily contributed rules for the conduct of an art, the need for which has passed away; but the distinctions which he drew have passed into Logic, and have helped to simplify thought and language generally.
From Logic Aristotle turned to 'Rhetoric,' about which he wrote with luminous simplicity, the result of long reflection, and ample illustration. He defines it as the art of seeing what elements of persuasion attach to any subject; and reduces their sources to the following heads, namely, the personal character of the speaker, the mood into which he is able to bring his hearers, and the arguments he can adduce. A knowledge of human nature being essential for influencing the feelings, he supplies a rich fund of remarks on the various characteristics of men, and explains how the