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Compare Plato and Aristotle

Science and philosophy of ancient Greece formed a basis of modern western civilization. The teaching of Plato and Aristotle is considered as one of the most influential or a culmination of the classical Greek philosophy. Still the ideas of these philosophers contrast greatly as they represent different classes of philosophy. Aristotle can be categorised as Pragmatist, and Plato is a representative of Idealists.

Firstly, they have different views on the physical world and absolute truth. Plato claimed that a perfect world exists beyond our world. Everything on the planet is imperfect and only reflects ideal world. Unlike Plato, Aristotle stated that the world around us is single and real. It is formed by natural forms. Plato thought that absolute truth existed in the universe, and on the Earth one could find only its vague shadow. Being an empirical scientist Aristotle viewed our world as a source of learning. Unlike Plato, Aristotle believed that senses can help to discover absolute truth. 

Secondly, Plato and Aristotle described government and society structure in different ways. Being an idealist, Plato supposed that ideal state was the one ruled by philosophers. Government could be stable only if there had not been any strife between classes or individuals. The ideal state should be like a small self-sufficient polis. Society would be divided into three classes – philosophers, soldiers, and farmers. Each of them would occupy particular place in society. As a pragmatist, Aristotle did not mention that philosophers should become kings and rule the state. He advocated a government of wealthy gentlemen who had been trained by philosophers (Noble et al., 2011). According to Aristotle middle class should hold political control as it represents a majority of state’s population.

While Plato was eager to create a perfect society, Aristotle wanted to improve the existing one. Despite the fact, that their thoughts differ, philosophers had single intention to discover the world around us and to build a better society. 

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