Aristotle Quotes

87 of the best book quotes from Aristotle
“Money is a guarantee that we may have what we want in the future. Though we need nothing at the moment it insures the possibility of satisfying a new desire when it arises.”
“So then Happiness is manifestly something focal and self-sufficient, being the end of all things which are and may be done.”
“Now of the Chief Good (i.e. of Happiness) men seem to form their notions from the different modes of life, as we might naturally expect: the many and most low conceive it to be pleasure, and hence they are content with the life of sensual enjoyment.”
“It is plain then that the good or ill fortunes of their friends do affect the dead somewhat.”
“Love is composed by a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”
“The points required in Happiness are found in combination of our account of it. For some think it is virtue, others practical wisdom, others a kind of scientific philosophy; others that it is these, or else some one of them, in combination with pleasure, or at least not independently of it; while others again take in external prosperity. ”
“We praise the Reason or Rational part of the Soul, because it exhorts a right and to the best course: but clearly there is in them, beside the Reason, some other natural principle which fights with and strains against the Reason.”
“You must not demand the reason either in all things alike, because in some it is sufficient that the fact has been well demonstrated.”
“To sift all of the opinions would be perhaps rather a fruitless task; so it shall suffice to sift those which are most generally current, or are thought to have some reason in them.”
“The Chief Good we feel instinctively must be something which is our own, and not easily to be taken from us.”
“I draw no distinction between young in years, and youthful in temper and disposition.”
“Every bad man is ignorant what he ought to do and what to leave undone, and by reason of such error men become unjust and wholly evil.”
“For as it is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy. ”
“Men are not justified by calling those actions involuntary, which are done by reason of Anger or Lust.”
“The man who is truly good and sensible bears all fortunes, we presume, becomingly, and always does what is noblest under the circumstances.”
“Happiness belongs to the class of things precious and final.”
“Are we then to call no man happy while he lives, and, as Solon would have us, look to the end? And again, if we are to maintain this position, is a man then happy when he is dead?”
Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.
“For to constitute Happiness, there must be, as we have said, complete virtue and a complete life.”
“Every art, and every science reduced to a teachable form, and in like manner every action and moral choice, aims, it is thought, at some good.”
“The man of education will seek exactness do far in each subject as the nature of the thing admits, it being plainly much the same absurdity to put up with a mathematician who tries to persuade without proving, and to demand strict demonstrative reasoning of a Rhetorician.”
“By Human Excellence we mean not that of man’s body but that of his soul; for we call Happiness a working of the Soul.”
“But what kind of things one ought to choose instead of what, it is not easy to settle, for there are many differences in particular instances.”
“The arousing of prejudice, pity, anger, and similar emotions has nothing to do with the essential facts, but is merely a personal appeal to the man who is judging the case.”
“Rhetoric is the counterpart of Dialectic. Both alike are concerned with such things as come, more or less, within the general ken of all men and belong to no definite science.”
“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 rational speech is more distinctive of a human being than the use of his limbs.And if it be objected that one who uses such power of speech unjustly might do great harm, that is a charge which may be made in common against all good things except virtue, and above all against the things that are most useful, as strength, health, wealth, generalship. A man can confer the greatest of benefits by a right use of these, and inflict the greatest of injuries by using them wrongly.”
“There are three things which inspire confidence in the orator’s own character-the three, namely, that induce us to believe a thing apart from any proof of it: good sense, good moral character, and goodwill.”
“In a political debate the man who is forming a judgement is making a decision about his own vital interests. There is no need, therefore, to prove anything except that the facts are what the supporter of a measure maintains they are.”
“What makes a man a ‘sophist’ is not his faculty, but his moral purpose.”
“A statement is persuasive and credible either because it is directly self-evident or because it appears to be proved from other statements that are so.”
“That the orator’s own character should look right is particularly important in political speaking: that the audience should be in the right frame of mind, in lawsuits.”
“Rhetoric may be defined as the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion.”
“Ethical studies may fairly be called political; and for this reason rhetoric masquerades as political science, and the professors of it as political experts-sometimes from want of education, sometimes from ostentation, sometimes owing to other human failings.”
“The duty of rhetoric is to deal with such matters as we deliberate upon without arts or systems to guide us, in the hearing of persons who cannot take in at a glance a complicated argument, or follow a long chain of reasoning.”
“Rhetoric falls into three divisions, determined by the three classes of listeners to speeches. For of the three elements in speech-making--speaker, subject, and person addressed--it is the last one, the hearer, that determines the speech’s end and object.”
“Those who have been wronged, or believe themselves to be wronged, are terrible; for they are always looking out for their opportunity.”
“The main matters on which all men deliberate and on which political speakers make speeches are some five in number: ways and means, war and peace, national defence, imports and exports, and legislation.”
“Of those we have wronged, and of our enemies or rivals, it is not the passionate and outspoken whom we have to fear, but the quiet, dissembling, unscrupulous; since we never know when they are upon us, we can never be sure they are at a safe distance.”
“When people are feeling friendly and placable, they think one sort of thing; when they are feeling angry or hostile, they think either something totally different or the same thing with a different intensity.”
“People who are afflicted by sickness or poverty or love or thirst or any other unsatisfied desires are prone to anger and easily roused.”
“Things that cause friendship are: doing kindnesses; doing them unasked; and not proclaiming the fact when they are done, which shows that they were done for our own sake and not for some other reason.”
“Forgetfulness, too, causes anger, as when our own names are forgotten, trifling as this may be; since forgetfulness is felt to be another sign that we are being slighted; it is due to negligence, and to neglect us is to slight us.”
“We feel friendly towards those whom we help to secure good for themselves, provided we are not likely to suffer heavily by it ourselves.”
“Fear is caused by whatever we feel has great power of destroying or of harming us in ways that tend to cause us great pain.”
“The investigation of the truth is in one way hard, in another easy.”
“So while a thing in a finite time cannot come in contact with things quantitatively infinite, it can come in contact with things infinite in respect of divisibility: for in this sense the time itself is also infinite.”
“For it is owing to their wonder that men both now begin and at first began to philosophize; they wondered originally at the obvious difficulties, then advanced little by little and stated difficulties about the greater matters . . . they were pursuing science in order to know, and not for any utilitarian end.”
“We should not only be grateful to those in whose opinions we share but also to those who have gone astray. For even the latter have contributed something, since they have prepared the condition for us.”
“For nothing is moved at haphazard, but in every case there must be some reason present.”
“If, then, God is always in that good state in which we sometimes are, this compels our wonder; and if in a better this compels it yet more. And God is in a better state. And life also belongs to God; for the actuality of thought is life, and God is that actuality; and God’s self-dependent actuality is life most good and eternal.”
“[I]t is rather the case that we desire something because we believe it to be good than that we believe a thing to be good because we desire it. It is the thought that starts things off.”
“Metaphysics involves intuitive knowledge of unprovable starting-points concepts and truth and demonstrative knowledge of what follows from them.”
“We prefer sight to almost everything else. The reason is that this, most of all the senses, makes us know and brings to light many differences between things.”
“All men by nature desire to know.”
“If nothing can be truly asserted, even the following claim would be false, the claim that there is no true assertion.”
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
“Metaphysics is universal and is exclusively concerned with primary substance . . . And here we will have the science to study that which is, both in its essence and in the properties which it has.”
“We have said that primary science is the science of these things in so far as they, its subjects, are things that are, and not in regard to any other feature. Hence both physics and mathematics are to be considered mere parts of total understanding.”
“No one is able to attain the truth adequately, while, on the other hand, no one fails entirely, but everyone says something true about the nature of all things, and while individually they contribute little or nothing to the truth, by the union of all a considerable amount is amassed.”
“The devotee of myth is in a way a philosopher, for myth is made up of things that cause wonder.”
“If things do not turn out as we wish, we should wish for them as they turn out.”
“And a man who is puzzled and wonders thinks himself ignorant.”
“For if anyone says that all things are true then he is making even the negation of his own claim true, so that his own statement in turn is not true . . . while if anyone says that all things are false, then he is making his own claim to be false.”
“It is clear, then, that wisdom is knowledge having to do with certain principles and causes. But now, since it is this knowledge that we are seeking, we must consider the following point: Of what kind of principles and of what kind of causes is wisdom the knowledge?”
“Your child will be more aware of the problems and the pain in the world. But perhaps the best definition of happiness came from Aristotle: We are happiest when doing what, by nature, we were born to do best.”
“It is not possible to rule well without having been ruled.”
“Democracy arose from men’s thinking that if they are equal in any respect they are equal absolutely.”
“The regime is an arrangement of a city with respect to its offices, particularly the one that has authority over all matters.”
“The happy life is one in accordance with virtue and unimpeded.”
“Let us presuppose this much, that the best way of life both separately for each individual and in common for cities is that accompanied by virtue—virtue that is equipped to such an extent as to allow them to take part in actions that accord with virtue.”
“Justice therefore demands that no one should do more ruling than being ruled, but that all should have their turn.”
“It is evident, then, that it is better for property to be private, but to make it common in use.”
“The political good is justice, and this is the common advantage.”
“One ought not even consider that a particular citizen belongs to himself, but rather that all belong to the city; for each is part of the city.”
“It is impossible for the whole to be happy unless all, or most or some, of its parts possess happiness.”
“The basic premise of the democratic sort of regime is freedom.”
“But obviously a state which becomes progressively more and more of a unity will cease to be a state at all. Plurality of numbers is natural in a state; and the farther it moves away from plurality towards unity, the less of a state it becomes and the more a household, and the household in turn an individual.”
“Men engage in factional conflict through fear, both when they have committed injustice and are frightened of paying the penalty, and when they are about to suffer injustice and wish to forestall it.”
“For as man is the best of all animals when he has reached his full development, so he is worst of all when divorced from law and justice.”
“We must lay it down that the association which is a state exists not for the purpose of living together but for the sake of noble actions.”
“For where the laws do not rule there is no regime.”
“The soul is divided into two parts, of which the one has reason itself, while the other does not have it in itself, but is capable of obeying reason.”
“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.”
“From these things it is evident, then, that the city belongs among the things that exist by nature, and that man is by nature a political animal.”
“What is many is more incorruptible; like a greater amount of water, the multitude is more incorruptible than the few.”
“Aristotle thought the earth was stationary and that the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars moved in circular orbits about the earth. He believed this because he felt, for mystical reasons, that the earth was the center of the universe, and that circular motion was the most perfect.”
“The Aristotelian tradition also held that one could work out all the laws that govern the universe by pure thought: it was not necessary to check by observation. So no one until Galileo bothered to see whether bodies of different weight did in fact fall at different speeds.”

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