Aristotle is one of the biggest names in philosophy.
He was the first to have written written systems by which to understand and criticize everything from pure logic to ethics, politics, literature, even science.
He theorized that there are four “causes”, or qualities, of any thing in existence: the material cause, which is what the subject is made of; the formal cause, or the arrangement of the subject’s material; the effective cause, the creator of the thing; and the final cause, which is the purpose for which a subject exists.
Aristotle had something to say on just about every subject, whether abstract or concrete, and modern philosophy almost always bases every single principle, idea, notion or “discovery” on a teaching of Aristotle.
His principles of ethics were founded on the concept of doing good, rather than merely being good.
Below we go over some of his most enlightening quotes that will inspire you to live a better life.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”
“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”
“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over self.”
On critical thinking
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”
“Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.”
“The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living differ from the dead.”
On great thinking
“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.”
“Anybody can become angry — that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”
“One swallow does not make a summer, neither does one fine day; similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.”
“A friend to all is a friend to none.”
“Without friends, no one would want to live, even if he had all other goods.”
“To perceive is to suffer.”
“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”
On caring what other people think
“The high-minded man must care more for the truth than for what people think.”
“To write well, express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man.”
The 7 causes of action
“All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, and desire.”
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”
“Learning is an ornament in prosperity, a refuge in adversity, and a provision in old age.”
On being a good person
“It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen.”
“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.”
“Wise men speak when they have something to say, fools speak because they have to say something”