Work and Play Essay

Work and Play Essay.

“I have called ‘play’ either as a holiday designed to make us ‘work’ better when it is over or merely as ‘work’ of another sort” (Oakeshott). In his article Work and Play, Michael Oakeshott goes into detail about human’s desire for pleasure. Oakeshott explain that in order to achieve that “true happiness” we must work for it, even though “playing” is involved in the process of reaching this happiness as well. Work is defined by Oakeshott as the effort to utilize and take advantage of the resources given to us on Earth.

“‘Work’ is a continuous and toilsome activity, unavoidable in creatures moved by wants, in which the natural world is made to supply satisfaction for those wants” (Oakeshott). He describes work as being a successful path to get to the fulfillment we desire as humans, the satisfaction we need. With this in mind, Oakeshott makes a good point in stating that happiness and fulfillment can not be achieved with out work or effort.

We must use our intellect to perform work to the best of our ability, this way we can assure that the outcome of our work will fulfill our desires and “make us happy”.

Another mean to accomplish and fulfill our desires is by “playing”. “‘Play,’ in short, stands for something that is neither ‘work’ nor ‘rest’” (Oakeshott). What Oakeshott mean by this is that in a larger scale, the word “play” could stand for an activity that demands a skill that is not necessary to obtain something or to create something out of it. But unlike working, playing does not bring frustration along with satisfaction, it only brings satisfaction. There are two types of philosophers: a materialist and a non-materialist.

Michael Oakeshott can be categorized as a materialist. First of all, a materialist is someone that believes that a “material world” is all there is, and everything comes from “the active intellect”. This believes were also shared by Descartes, Aristotle, and even Thomas Aquinas. They believe that matter is the only substance, unlike those who believe that there is more than matter: “the uncaused cause”. Augustine and Plato, non-materialists, believed that everything proceeds from a higher spiritual being, the uncaused cause.

In the view of a non-materialist, things that have a much deeper meaning will bring you happiness. For example, instead of working for yourself, working for others and helping other will bring more fulfillments into your life. According to materialists believes and teachings, working for your own satisfaction is the only way to achieve happiness; it is the material thing that matter. I agree with both materialists and non-materialists way of thinking. I do not think either one of the extremes will bring true happiness and fulfillment.

I completely agree with Oakeshott description of work. I do believe that if someone does not work nothing will come out of it, or that someone is not going to achieve anything. I also agree with Plato and Augustine’s teachings about the divine spiritual illumination. I truly believe that there is such thing as an uncaused cause, and since I am Catholic, I believe that that uncaused cause is God. With that said, just because I believe in God, does not mean that God is going to protect me and eliminate everything that does not bring me happiness.

God only provides us with the necessary resources that we can utilize make something out of them that will truly fulfill us. Oakeshott makes some good points in his article Work and Play about the methods to accomplish satisfaction. There are two pathways, according to Oakeshott, to be able to reach fulfillment which are: work and play. I agree with his point of view, but I do not necessarily believe that work and play are the reason behind true happiness, there is more than that: the uncaused cause.

Work and Play Essay

The implications of unmoved mover within Aristotle’s Metaphysics Essay

The implications of unmoved mover within Aristotle’s Metaphysics Essay.

The first book of Aristotle’s works on logic is known as the Categories. This book tends to list the grouping into which objects naturally fall. According to Aristotle, by grouping objects, people can know them fully. These categories include the substance, quantity, quality, place, time, relation, state, position, action and affection. The substances are things such as man and horse, quantity are terms that relate to the cubits and feet. The term quality is for attributes such as white.

According Aristotle, state is things such as armed while action is things such as to cut.

Relations are things such as double and half. Place is like in the market and time is term that relates to yesterday and last year. Lastly, affection is to be affect by something and they are things such as to be cut. Substance is considered to be crucial, since all the other properties are attributed to it. According to Aristotle, substance is not mass like it is known to be today but it is a medium-sized objects such as man, trees and the horse (Aristotle 1b-2a).

According to Aristotle, when everything else is stripped off nothing remains. He was after the basic stuff that lies behind all other properties since he had inherited this problem from Plato who had struggled with the same problem. Due to this problem, Aristotle gave man and horse as examples of substances which can either big or small according to quantity and either brown or white according to quality. When the ‘manness’ of the man is removed from the man, he is left with a pure substrate which is something that has no property.

Aristotle’s definition of matter is something that can be moved and it is connected to the potential or power to become some sort of thing which when given form can become an actual object of a particular kind. This portion of metaphysics is called hylomorphism since it claims that all objects are a combination of matter and form known as hule and morphe in Greek respectively. Aristotle was also concerned with question of pure form which is form that as not been combined with matter.

He reasoned that pure form is pure actually and it is unmovable and since movement is a form of movement, then pure form is unmoved mover. And according Aristotle, this was the definition of God which is pure actuality that turns formless matter into actual objects but never moved or changed itself (Aristotle 1029a) Why does he construct the idea? Aristotle had studied in the Plato’s academy in Athens for twenty years. His metaphysics included the natural theology of God and the ordered structure of the world.

Aristotle’s theory of form or ideas was from observations about particular objects and cases and reasoning from his understanding of the world and reality. He followed an inductive method in his emphasis of the diversity of the world. He also used the unified theory approach that would lead him to scholasticism. According to Aristotle, reality consisted in a hierarchy of being of particular objects in the world. Stones, trees, animals and people were building blocks of form. He inherited from the Empedocles the ancient concept that the basic elements that are combined to form the world were water, air, fire and the earth.

This point out that matter is an unmoved mover and therefore it explains the existence of God (Anthony A Concise Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Religion). Aristotle emphasized that there are unifying system of particulars within the world and form amounts to the sum of the characteristics of the species to which particular things belong. He concludes that there is a prime mover that is unmoved who is God or the mind. He claims that God is perfect and is one which affirms that God sets in motion are one. According to Aristotle’s universe, there is a divine orderedness and logic that embodies diversity.

In the book categories, Aristotle explains the natural theology and explains the existence of the prime unmoved who is the mind. The reason of this metaphysics is that Aristotle perceives the world as eternal (Anthony A Concise Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Religion). What is the overall function of it? He says that human beings animals reason almost the same way. This is because both man and animals are uniform have some little of connection experience, the difference is that man live by art and reasoning while animals live by appearances and memories.

Animals are born with a faculty of sensation, and from sensation memory is produced in some of them, though not in others (Green, Religion and Epistemology). He also analyses that knowledge is wisdom and says that a wise man knows all things as much as possible and although he has no knowledge of them in detail. He further says that he who can learn things that are difficult that are not easy for man to know then that is a wise person. He also says that the person that is more exact and more capable of teaching the causes is wiser, in every branch of knowledge; and that of the sciences.

Also, that which is desirable on its own account and for the sake of knowing it is more of the nature of Wisdom than that which is desirable on account of its results, and the superior science is more of the nature of Wisdom than the ancillary; for the wise man must not be ordered but must order, and he must not obey another, but the less wise must obey him. He then adds that of all these characteristics that of knowing all things must belong to him who has in the highest degree universal knowledge; for he knows in a sense all the instances that fall under the universal (Green, Religion and Epistemology).

He argues that we have to acquire knowledge of the original causes and causes are spoken of in four senses. The rest of the information acquired from other sources then that is not knowledge because you got it from someone else or from some other sources. The essence, the matter or substratum, source of the change, the purpose and the good ( Plantinga Early Psychological Thought). How does he solve the infinite regression and self predication?

All the regressions were grouped together under the Title Organon meaning Instrument and regarded them as comprising his logical works: he argues that the Organon reflects a much later controversy about whether logic is a part of philosophy or merely as a tool used by philosophy. On the interpretation, Aristotle argues that a single assertion must always either affirm or deny a single predicate of a single subject and therefore he does not recognize sentential compounds, such as conjunctions and disjunctions, as single assertions, with no more intrinsic unity than the sequence of sentences in a lengthy account .

On the subjects and predicates of assertions he terms them as “term” which is meant to either represent an individual such as Socrates, Plato or universals such as human, horse, animal, white. , but predicates can only be universals. Universal terms are those which can properly serve as predicates, while particular terms are those which cannot. Predication for Aristotle is as much a matter of metaphysics as a matter of grammar. The reason that the term Socrates is an individual term and not a universal is that the entity which it designates is an individual, not a universal.

What makes white and human universal terms is that they both designate universals ( Plantinga Religion and Epistemology). How is the unmoved mover used in the philosophy of the following philosophers: Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, William of Cobham, Avicenna, Maimondes. Tie Each philosopher to Aristotle Augustine He emerged as a rigorous defender of the Christian faith. Augustine argued that Faith involves a commitment to believe in a God, to believe God, and to believe in God.

He further argues concerning the Christian doctrine, that Christian teachers ought to apply the pagan thinking when it comes to scripture interpretation. This should be so since pagan science studies what is eternal and unchanging hence can be used appropriately to clarify and illuminate Christian faith. He says that logic, history and natural sciences can be used to clarify strange symbols in the Scriptures. This case is similar to Aristotle who followed an inductive method as well as formulating a rigorous formal deductive logic.

He becomes very careful to avoid pagan learning. He realized and argued that the church is indeed the final arbiter of what cannot be demonstrated (Alston History of Philosophy of Religion) Thomas Aquinas This philosopher is known to have worked out the highly articulated theory of theological reasoning. He argued that any person’s faith in eternal salvation indicates that people have theological truths that exceed human reason (Alston History of Philosophy of Religion). He said that something can be true for faith and false in philosophy but cannot be the other way round.

He claims that there’s no one who can believe by faith and at the same time Know by rational demonstration the very same truth. This is in line with Aristotle’s argument of divine ‘ordered ness’ and coherence that embodies diversity. According to Aristotle he sets out this philosophy in categories mainly in metaphysics. Aquinas further argues that dogmatic theology is a genuine science though not based on natural experience and reason, while philosophical theology makes demonstrations using the articles of faith as its principles.

He says that people come to know the truths of faith through the virtue of wisdom, which is of the Holy spirit (Anthony et al Aristotle aseity) William of Ockham This person radicalized the restrictions of the people’s knowledge of God. He desired to preserve divine freedom and omnipotence and denied the necessity in the scope of Scientific findings. He argued that the purity of Christian faith was contaminated by the Greek metaphysics. He went a head to reject the possibility that was implored that science can verify any necessity, but can only demonstrate the implications of terms, premises, and definitions.

He said that God can be known only through faith. Avicenna He argued that the religion comprises an area of truth that is not much different from philosophy. This he built based on his philosophical study of Aristotle and Plotinus coupled with his theology in Islam. He said that religion is the highest form of life and presents the immortality of human souls, this was contrary to what Aristotle taught that “the agent intellect was one in all persons, the unique potential intellect of each person, illuminated by the agent intellect, can survive death”.

According to Aristotle however, his theary of definitions cohere with his view of the truth (Anthony et al Aristotle Aseity). Maimmondes The philosopher is well known for his radical development of negative theology by arguing that there is no positive essential attributes that may be predicated of God. He argues that God does not posses anything superadded to his essence, and his essence includes all his perfections (Anthony et al Aristotle Aseity).

He criticizes Aristotle’s argument of unmoved mover, he contradicts Aristotle’s assumption that the generation of the world as a whole resembles the generation of individual things that are within it (69-92). He argues that God is not pure hence cannot be the source of movement, this is contrary to Aristotle’s view who argued that pure form must be the source of movement of which is to him it was God himself, who is a pure actuality that turns formless matter into actual objects but never moves or changes (81-83).

Conclusion According to Aristotle since matter is defined as that thing which can be moved, then he summarizes that pure form must be immovable. All his science concerning metaphysics was aimed at constructing a unified world through human beings. His metaphysics included what is called Natural theology of God and ordered partly the structure of the world. Aristotle puts a lot of emphasis on the prime mover who is unmoved and this according to him is God. He claims that other objects apart from God are all dependent on the cause outside themselves.

The implications of unmoved mover within Aristotle’s Metaphysics Essay

Short note on plato Essay

Short note on plato Essay.

?Plato’s Metaphysics in a Nutshell it is vital to know the difference Plato made between sensible “things” and “forms. ” Things are those aspects of reality which we see though our senses: a boy, a table, fan, television, etc. Everything that we experience in the world of impression is constantly changing (the television will start to get worn down, the boy will age with time), imperfect and often passing away. This is the realm of appearances, and we all know that appearances can be deceptive.

Whereas things change, decay, and ultimately fade away, the Forms (the Greek term is Eidos which is sometimes translated as Ideas) are eternal and unchanging. This is the realm of perfect concepts and it is grasped, not by the senses, but by the reason. The Life of Plato Plato was born around the year 428 BCE into an established Athenian household with a rich history of political connections — including distant relations to both Solon and Pisistratus.

Plato’s parents were Ariston and Perictone, his older brothers were Adeimantus and Glaucon, and his younger sister was Potone.

In keeping with his family heritage, Plato was destined for the political life. But the Peloponnesian War, which began a couple of years before he was born and continued until well after he was twenty, led to the decline of the Athenian Empire. The war was followed by a rabid conservative religious movement that led to the putting to death of Plato’s teacher, Socrates. Together these events forever distorted the course of Plato’s life.

Aristotle tells us that sometime during Plato’s youth the philosopher-to-be became familiar with the doctrines of Cratylus, a student of Heraclitus, who, along with other Presocratic thinkers such as Pythagoras and Parmenides, provided Plato with the foundations of his metaphysics and epistemology. Upon meeting Socrates, however, Plato directed his inquiries toward the question of virtue. The development of a noble quality was to be before all else. Indeed, it is a mark of Plato’s brilliance that he was to find in metaphysics and epistemology a host of moral and political implications.

How we think and what we take to be real having an important role in how we act. Thus, Plato came to believe that a philosophical manner toward life would lead one to being just and, ultimately, happy. DAVID HUME LIFE Born in Edinburgh, Hume spent his childhood at Ninewells, the family’s modest estate on the Whitadder River in the border lowlands near Berwick. His father died when he was two years old, he left the wife with the responsibility of taking care of the family, Hume’s mother a woman of singular Merit, who, though young and beautiful, devoted herself to the rearing and educating of her Children.

Hume’s mother, Katherine Falconer Hume noticed that young David was “unusually wake-minded” — precocious, in her lowland dialect — so when his brother went up to Edinburgh University, David, not yet twelve, joined him. Plato studied history and literature, as well as ancient and modern philosophy, and he also studied some mathematics and contemporary science.

Short note on plato Essay

Imitation Plato and Aristotle Essay

Imitation Plato and Aristotle Essay.

Imitation Plato and Aristotle Essay. Introduction Plato and Aristotle are two famous literary critics in ancient Greece. Aristotle is Plato’s student. They all agree that art is a form of imitation. However, their attitudes towards imitation are profoundly different. Plato claims that poetry is worthless and bad because it is mere imitation and may have bad influence on human beings. Instead, though Aristotle admits that poetry is imitation, he thinks that it is all right and even good. He also explains that imitation of life should be valued rather than discounted (“Plato and Aristotle”).

Imitation Plato and Aristotle Essay.

This paper is to discuss the different understandings of Plato and Aristotle on imitation. Imitation of Plato Plato thinks that poetry is a form of imitation. However, he is deeply suspicious of the arts because, in his view, they appeal to the emotions rather than to the intellect (Michael). He thinks that this imitation is far removed from the reality and it is only a “game”. As a result, it is worthless and bad.

He also claims that imitation in tragedy can have a bad influence on human beings.

As he says in The Republic, a good imitation can undermine the stability of even the best humans by making us feel sad, depressed, and sorrowful about life itself. Firstly, Plato claims that an imitation is at three steps removed from the reality or truth of something (“Plato and Aristotle on Art as Imitation”). In Plato’s opinion, knowledge of truth and knowledge of good are virtually inseparable. If there is no truth, there is no good too. As a result, he counsels rejection of the physical in favor of embracing reason in an abstract, intellectual, and ultimately more human, existence (Stephen).

Plato thinks that the world of appearance does not really represent the reality because in his opinion, it is the forms which can only represent the essence of the world. The tangible world is imperfect because there are many kinds of appearance but there is only one thing that is true—idea. As a result, art widens the gap between truth and the world of appearances (Stephen). We can see that from his book The Republic. In Book X of The Republic, Plato’s prolocutor Socrates says that there are plenty of tables and beds in the world, but there are only two ideas or forms of them—one of a bed and the other of a table.

He also says that the makers of the table and the bed make them for our use according to the ideas, but no artificer can make the ideas themselves. Worse still, painters draw a bed or a table according to the ones made by the artificers. As a result, Socrates concludes that imitative art is at three steps far removed from authentic reality (Michael). There is a sentence that can well show Plato opinion, “the tangible fruit of any human labor is an indistinct expression of truth” (Plato, Book X). From this sentence, we can see that in Plato’s opinion, art as an imitation is irrelevant to what is real.

Secondly, Plato also thinks that artists offer nothing important and meaningful in their imitation. As a result, he concludes that imitation is only a kind of “game”. Here is the good evidence, in The Republic; Socrates concludes that imitation is a kind of game and not something to be taken seriously. He explains that such imitation is disengaged from the realm of knowledge and truth-testing entirely, constituting an autonomous, arbitrary “game” onto itself (Bo). Plato thinks that imitation is a game because it engages only the appearance rather than the truth.

He mentions in his book The Republic that imitation is far removed from the truth, for it touches only a small part of each thing and a part that is itself only an image. And that, it seems, is why it can produce everything. He uses the painter as an example. He says that the painter is not the maker of things, but the imitator of which others have made. Thirdly, Plato claims that a good imitation can undermine the stability of even the best humans by making us feel sad, depressed, and sorrowful about life itself (“Plato and Aristotle on Art as Imitation”).

In Plato’s opinion, imitation may pose a challenge to philosophy and even can have a bad influence on people because imitation can be false, and false imitation can mislead people. No matter art is perfect in its imitative process or art is flawed, it is not only worthless, but also a challenge to truth in general (Stephen). In The Republic, Plato writes that “The power which poetry has of harming the good (and there are very few who are not harmed) is surely an awful thing”. Here, we can see that he suggests that art is a potential danger to society.

As a result, Plato’s critique of art as imitation is linked to a negative appraisal of its social utility: Art is dangerous, for its appeal to the irrational distracts us from the legitimate claims of reason (Bo). As it was mentioned above, we can see that Plato admits that art is imitation. However, he is deeply suspicious of the arts because he thinks that firstly, an imitation is removed from the reality or truth of something; secondly, it offers nothing important and meaningful; thirdly, imitation can have a bad influence on human beings. As a result, he concludes that imitation is worthless and even bad.

Imitation of Aristotle Aristotle is Plato’s student. However, he holds a very different attitude towards imitation. Aristotle also admits that art is imitation, but according to him, this kind of imitation is all right and even good. He explains that firstly, imitation is a creative process of selection, translation, and transformation from one media to another (Stephen). Secondly, tragedy can be a form of education that provides moral insight and fosters emotional growth and a successful tragedy even produces a catharsis in the audience (Michael).

Thirdly, he also thought that imitation is natural to humans from childhood (“Plato and Aristotle on Art as Imitation”). Firstly, in Aristotle’s opinion, imitation is a creative process of selection, translation, and transformation from one media to another. Plato claims that imitation is far removed from the truth or is only a small part of truth. However, Aristotle thinks that imitation can reflect the truth in a better way because it is a creative process. According to Aristotle, the world exists in an infinitely diverse series of parts; human beings can have a good knowledge about these parts by observation and scrutiny (Stephen).

As a result, different from Plato’s opinion that artists offer nothing important and meaningful in their imitation, Aristotle concludes that artists are makers, selecting certain details, excluding others, giving a work its particular shape, not a deceitful scribe (Stephen). Here, we can see that according to Aristotle, imitation is a distillation of universal truths from contingent, merely and particular facts rather than an arbitrary “game” because to submit something to literary imitation is not in the least to attempt to be true to its appearance, although it is an attempt to be true to its truth (Bo).

Secondly, to Aristotle, imitation such as tragedy can be a form of education that provides moral insight and fosters emotional growth and a successful tragedy even produces a catharsis in the audience. According to Plato, imitation can be a danger to the society because imitation can be false and false imitation can mislead people. However, to Aristotle, imitation such as tragedy can be a form of education that provides moral insight and fosters emotional growth (“Plato and Aristotle on Art as Imitation”).

Aristotle even characterizes tragedy as effecting the “catharsis of pity and fear” in his Poetics because with tragedy as the catalyst, people will develop their knowledge of good. As a result, we can see that Aristotle treats imitation as an ethical endeavor rather than a danger to the society (Stephen). Thirdly, Aristotle also thought that imitation is natural to humans from childhood and imitation makes human beings different from other living creatures. We can find the evidence in his Poetics.

In this book, he mentions that the instinct of imitation is implanted in man from childhood, one difference between him and other animals being is that he is the most imitative of living creatures, and through imitation learns his earliest lesson. From his description, we can see that in Aristotle’s opinion, human beings begin imitating as early as when they are children. Imitation not only enables human beings to gain knowledge about the world, but also makes human beings a distinctive creature. As it was mentioned above, we can see that Aristotle holds a very different attitude towards imitation from Plato’s.

According to Aristotle, imitation is a creative process and a form of moral education. It is also natural to humans from childhood and imitation makes human beings different from other living creatures. As a result, he concludes that imitation is all right and even good. It should also be valued rather than discounted Conclusion Though both Plato and Aristotle are two famous literary critics in ancient Greece almost at the same time and they all admit that art is a form of imitation, their attitudes towards imitation are very different.

Plato claims that poetry is worthless and bad because firstly, it is far removed from the truth or idea; secondly, it is mere imitation and just a “game”; thirdly, it can have a bad influence on people; however, Aristotle thinks that imitation is all right and even good because firstly, imitation is a creative process; secondly, it is a form of moral education; thirdly, It is natural to humans from childhood. Works Cited Aristotle. Poetics. 11 November, 2007. . Bo Earle. “Plato, Aristotle, and the imitation of reason.

” Philosophy and Literature. October, 2003: 382. Michael Moor. An introduction to Plato and Aristotle and their significance to the performing arts. 6 October, 2007. < http://web. ukonline. co. uk/michaelmoor/an_introduction_toplato_andari. htm> Plato and Aristotle. 25 October, 2005. . Plato and Aristotle on Art as Imitation (Mimesis). 8 November, 2007. . Plato. Republic. Peking: China Social Sciences Publishing House, 1999. Stephen Conway. Plato, Aristotle, and Mimesis. 8 November, 2007. .

Imitation Plato and Aristotle Essay

Plato – Short Biography Essay

Plato – Short Biography Essay.

Plato was born on or around May 21, 427 in Athens. His real name was Aristocles. Plato (meaning broad) was his wrestling name. He was the child of Ariston and Perictione, both of Athenian aristocratic ancestry. He lived his whole life in Athens, although he traveled to various places such as Sicily and southern Italy on several occasions. Little is known of his early years, but he was given the finest education Athens had to offer. He devoted his considerable talents to politics and the writing of tragedy and other forms of poetry.

During Plato’s youth he met Socrates’s, a famous philosopher, and soon became his pupil. The compelling power which Socrates’s methods and arguments had over the minds of the youth of Athens gripped Plato as firmly as it did so many others, and he became a close associate of Socrates. Socrates’s was an extremely outspoken man. He believed that everyone in power should be both moral and extremely intelligent, and when someone didn’t meet his qualifications, Socrates’s would publicly insult them.

This ultimately led to his demise after he was unfairly put to death in court.

Plato was deeply affected by this and as a result never took a role in politics even though he was greatly encouraged to do so. Even after Socrates’s death, Plato continued to use many of Socrates’s thoughts and ideas. Education was always extremely important to Plato. He believed that math and philosophy to be the ultimate truths because there is always a solution to the problem. His high opinion of math probably came from Socrates who believed the same thing. Later in life Plato started the very first University in all of Europe. This university continued on for nearly 1000 years until it was closed by the Christian emperor Justinian.

The university was closed because it was believed to not follow the Christian religion. Another major accomplish of Plato’s was the many groups of writings that he completed. These mainly consisted of a fundamental belief of his, that education is extremely important for a persons moral values. Somewhere around 347 B. C. Plato died. Through out history Plato has not only been remembered as Socrates’s greatest pupil but also for his philosophical writings on education and for how he created a standard for how colleges and universities should be ran.

Plato – Short Biography Essay

Comparison between the Views of Confucius and Aristotle Essay

Comparison between the Views of Confucius and Aristotle Essay.

Both Confucius and Aristotle have had a great impact in philosophy even though their views on humanity varied. Aristotle was a Greek philosopher whose ideologies on science, logic and virtue greatly influenced philosophy. Aristotle greatly influenced Islamic and Jewish theological and traditional thinking in the Middle Ages and his study of logic was incorporated to the modern formal logic in the late nineteenth century. Confucian was a Chinese philosopher whose teachings mainly consisted of morality.

His teachings commanded many disciples and had a great influence during the Han Dynasty (Annping, 2007).

His philosophy is commonly known as Confucianism. There are similarities between the two in that they came up with philosophies on morality to guide individual behavior and lived in the same era. They are known to come up with philosophies on virtue. Jiyuan (2007) explains that “jen” which is used by Confucius is a Greek translation which means virtue and similarly, Aristotle’s “arete” is also translated to mean virtue.

However, they have differences in ideologies and the works written.

For example, Aristotle’s works were broader than Confucius’ and they included ethics, poetry, physics, logic, government, music and poetry among others (Kenny, 1992). Confucius concentrated more on teachings of morality (both individual and government morality), justice and sincerity. Just like other philosophers, Aristotle and Confucius have in the past and in the present greatly influenced human behavior in one way or another.

The objective of this paper is to compare and establish the differences in ideologies between Confucius and Aristotle. Discussion Confucius was of the view the human behavior is more guided by morality and skilled judgment and not by the person’s knowledge of the rules (Annping, 2007). According to him, the former is more superior to the latter. Self examination and knowledge according to him was the best way to achieving discipline and moral maturity. He further argues that the government instead of using coercion and bribery it should rule using virtue and morality.

The essence of this according to Confucius is that ruling through punishments only goes into making people avoid the punishment but it does not mean they will be good. In Aristotle’s view however, ethics is more of a practical science and it is not an art mastered by the mere reasoning but mastered by doing and redoing or what is known as repetitive action. Ethics therefore becomes something you learn with time (Kenny, 1992). His belief was that anything that man aimed at achieving was good and that the goods had an order.

For example, if one searches for money so as to be comfortable it means that comfort is a much higher good that he seeks than the money itself. Confucius believes that attainment of moral perfection is possible through training and proper focus. To explain this, he uses zhunzi, a kind of superior man who develops good behavior and values through reading and strictly following the rules of propriety. Rules of propriety in this case refer to those rules that guide attitudes of the society (Annping, 2007).

A zhunzi was to show respect to the elders and show concern for others and was not to abandon these practices if he was going to be a good citizen. He was to dedicate his time and energy in finding virtue which finally ended in moral perfection. Aristotle on the other hand stresses human development through self improvement to finally get happiness through the use of virtues (Mealing, 2008). Unlike Confucius, Aristotle does not believe that a person can gain full attainment of morality especially where he or she is undergoing hardships.

Instead, human beings should strive to become the best that they can in order to gain happiness which is sometimes referred to as eudomonia but they do not have to reach perfection. The two philosophers differ on their views of the purpose of virtue. According to Jiyuan (2007) Confucius thinking is that virtue should be practiced so as to maintain morality and order. Unlike Confucius whose ideology is to practice virtue for virtue only, Aristotle believes that it is virtue that guides people to eudomonia. Aristotle highly values happiness and sees the practice of virtue as the only way to achieve it (Kenny, 1992).

As a matter of fact, Aristotle in his ethics views will tend to think of every action’s end result as happiness. He believes that happiness should be the sole goal that every human being aims at achieving. Both Confucian and Aristotle however believe that virtue is the only and most important way of guiding humanity. Both Confucius and Aristotle find the importance of relationship with others. According to Aristotle, it is hard to find a good friend if you are not a good person yourself. This is because true friendship is dependent on individual morality (Jiyuan, 2007).

Friendship according to him can therefore measure somebody’s moral character and goodness. Confucius on the other hand believed in relationship with others as a means of achieving enlightenment of one’s self. He believes that if someone has to develop himself he has to develop others as well. According to Annping (2007) this has to do with the golden rule advocates that one should do to others what he would like others to do to them. Aristotle in his political works recognizes the sovereignty of the government in what he refers as city-states.

Citizens of the state have a constitution that they follow in order to guide human behavior. He however notes that morality is important even in political arrangements (Mealing, 2008). This is almost similar to Confucius’ view on politics. He supported the all powerful rule of the emperor but his ideas suggested limit in the powers exercised by the rulers. At the same time, he emphasized the need to give respect to one’s superiors who included political leaders. Jiyuang (2007) notes that both advocated for justice and a fair form of government.

Confucius’ and Aristotle’s views on religion differ although they do not have much to show about religion in their philosophies. It is however notable that both recognize the presence of a supreme power (Mealing, 2008). Aristotle in his works, he recognizes religion to be one of the most superior and divine knowledge. Aristotle talks of the ‘Unmoved Mover’ which is the cause of all motions and happenings in the world. This mover is thought to be God who enjoys a very good life in the external space and does not think of anything else and hence there was no need to worship the Mover.

Kenny (1992) notes that this received a lot of opposition from Muslims, Christians and Jews. Confucian believed in the worship of ancestors and in his teachings he emphasized the need for the living to care for and to honor the dead. He mentions the mandate of heaven and that men must live within the order of this supreme power to avoid punishment from the heavens. His teachings however focused more on humanity and how people influence themselves rather than how the are influenced by religion (Mealing, 2008).

Aristotle and Confucian differ in their views on how to cultivate or to develop virtues and moral perfection. Aristotle is of the view that character is as a result of mastery through experience of doing something or from the repetition of similar activities. For example, if a person is confronted and reacts by getting into a fight with the opponent, the person is more likely to behave in the same way the next time such a situation. According to Kenny (1992), behavior therefore becomes a question of habituation meaning that virtue is achieved by repeated actions until it is internalized.

Confucius taught that the best way to acquire complete morality is by extensive studying and then comparing the teachings learned with the current or known behavior. From these, one develops virtues that are perfect. Aristotle divides human psychology into three souls which include the vegetative soul, animal and rational soul (Mealing, 2008). Vegetative has to do with biological component or that part that deals with essential functions such as circulation, excretion, digestion among others. This part is usually unconscious.

The animal soul is conscious and feels desires, appetite and emotions. The one that thinks, forms opinions, evaluates and judges is known as the rational soul. Confucian unlike Aristotle does not include the vegetative and the animal souls. His philosophy mainly concerns the rational soul capitalizing on studying and mastering virtues as explained by Annping (2007). Conclusion The greatest philosophers of all times, Confucian and Aristotle have in history influenced the lives of many cultures especially in shaping morality.

Even though the two have their differences in views about virtues and humanity, both their philosophies emphasize on the importance of doing good and on acquiring good morals and virtues. Confucian and Aristotle display a great deal of thinking in order to come up with these philosophies. Jiyuang (2007) notes that the differences in region could have influenced the differences in Confucius’ and Aristotle’s thinking. The good thing is that they both emphasized the need for a just and moral society if the world was to be a better place to live in (mealing, 2008).Both Confucius and Aristotle have had a great impact in philosophy even though their views on humanity vary.


Annping, C. (2007). The Authentic Confucius: A Life of Thought and Politics. New York: Scribner. Jiyuan. Y. (2007). The Ethics of Confucius and Aristotle: Mirrors of Virtue. London: Routledge. Kenny, A. (1992). Aristotle on the Perfect Life. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Mealing, P. P. (2008). Aristotle, Confucius, Ethics and happiness. Indianapolis: Hackett publishing.

Comparison between the Views of Confucius and Aristotle Essay