History of Philosophy II

Plato and Aristotle

by Michal Zvarík (Author)
©2016 Monographs 112 Pages
Series: Uni Slovakia, Volume 12


The coursebook presents Plato and Aristotle as the two most significant and groundbreaking thinkers of European thought from the era of classical Greek philosophy. The author provides prefatory orientation in the labyrinth of their complex thought and sketches their metaphysics, problems of knowledge and ethics. He departs from the fact that both thinkers are similar in striving to overcome problems of their period by localizing the human being into a hierarchical order of beings, which obliges in questions of the possibility of knowledge as well as of the right conduct.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the Author
  • About the Book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • Plato
  • 1. Life
  • 2. Work
  • 3. Concept of the Idea
  • 4. Anamnésis and Knowledge
  • 5. Plato’s Analogies
  • 6. Soul and City
  • Aristotle
  • 1. Life
  • 2. Work
  • 3. Organon and the Theory of Cognition
  • 4. Metaphysics and the Structure of the Cosmos
  • 5. Ethics
  • List of Abbreviations
  • Bibliography


In the 5th century BC, through the activities of the sophists, the classical period of Greek philosophy begins, especially the period which is famous thanks to the names of the three renowned men: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. If it is true that Socrates and the sophists focused their attention mainly on the human being at the expense of natural investigations, Plato and Aristotle in their plans achieved a new unity and its deepening in the nascent metaphysics. Sophists strongly questioned the possibility of knowledge and how it is distinguished from opinion, their development of Aporia stated that nothing can be said with certainty, and that the core of a happy life lies rather in the ability to convince than to have expertise, respectively. The highest state of knowledge and proficiency is the ability to convince. In this way they stated the serious issues with which Plato and Aristo ← 7 | 8 → tle dealt. The answer was an effort to develop a complex view, resulting in a vision of the cosmos as a hierarchical regulation of causes. In it a man does not act as the measure of all things, on the contrary, he is understood as something inherently “between“ and is an imperfect being between God and animals and his life is the struggle between the possibilities of low physical life, the life of cattle, as Aristotle says and the high theoretical life in which he most fully develops his possibilities and can then be likened to the divine.

One of Plato’s key answers to the sophists is a concept of the idea, as an eternal and perfect being, according to which it is not created, only perceived by the senses and is an imperfect picture of things, but in ethical behaviour it should serve as a standard by which we should manage and arrange our lives. Thus, the idea is not only a distant metaphysical concept; it touches practical life and not only the life of individuals but also the common, shared, and political life of the city (polis). In contrast, Aristotle develops logic as an instrument of control of our thoughts that reveals misleading arguments, it also points out that we can live our life best, if we devote ourselves to theoretical research. In ethics he adjusts Protagoras’s homo mensura, the thesis that the measure of all things is a capable man who knows how to act properly and wants to act in that way.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2016 (April)
Metaphysics Analogy Recollection Theory of Knowledge
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2016. 112 pp.

Biographical notes

Michal Zvarík (Author)

Michal Zvarík teaches ancient philosophy at Trnava University, Slovakia. He is also interested in phenomenology and the idea of university.


Title: History of Philosophy II
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112 pages