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Comparison between Plato and Aristotle
Aristotle, the favorite and most brilliant pupil of Plato, is more conscious of his differences than of the points of agreement with him. The differences which these giants of philosophy were not the outcome of any grudge or ill-will, but reflected their own way of solving the existing problems of their state.
Both upheld slavery and justified its continuation in true spirit of Greek ideals. Each regarded slaves as an indispensable part of the community for the manual performance and overall development progress of the state.
Both despised foreigners and regarded races other than Greeks fit for subjection and bondage and as mentally inferior to the Greeks.
Both condemned democracy and wanted to replace it with some sort of constitutional or ideal polity while Plato
echoed in condemning democracy, as “What could have been more ridiculous than this mob-led, passion-ridden democracy, this government by a debating society, a mobocracy.”
On the other hand Aristotle
was of the view that “the people are not capable of self-government.”
Both wanted to impose limitations on citizenship. Both taught that all manual labor should be done by slaves or non-citizens.
Both opposed the views of Sophists that the state came into birth for the sake of life and continues for the sake of good life. It is this conviction which makes Aristotle a true Platonist.
Aristotle’s “Political” is no less a manual for statesman than the “Republic” of Plato.
While Plato draws conclusion through the use of allusion and analogy, Aristotle strikes at the very point with definite and clear-cut dogmas and doctrine.
While Plato believes in the abstract notions of justice, virtue and idea. Aristotle judges the speculative fundamentals on the basis of exact comparison and deduces a thought presentable and acceptable even in modern civilization.
Where Plato is visionary, imaginative and utopian, Aristotle is logical, realist and scientific in his approach of propounding theories.
If Plato believes in the doctrine that the reality of a material thing lies in its idea not in its form. Aristotle believes that reality in the concrete manifestation of a thing, and not in its supposed inherent idea.
Plato believed in the phenomenon of unity through uniformity. On the other hand Aristotle was of the view that unity could be achieved through diversity in universe and men.
Plato inseparably mixed ethics and politics. He subordinated political theories to ethical considerations. In Aristotle it was quite the reverse. Ethics and politics were not only separated, but the former was made to sub serve the later.
Plato was the propounder of new philosophy; Aristotle was a systemiser of already existing knowledge, and made freshly streamlining and fascinating by his powerful influential and charming style for practical adoption for state functions.
“Plato seeks a superman who will create a state as good as ought to be. Aristotle seeks a super science will create a state as good as can be. Thus, all who believe in new worlds for old are disciples of Plato, all who believe in old worlds made new by the toilsome use of science are disciples of Aristotle.” (Maxey)