Philosophical War Between Aristotle and Plato


Much of philosophy is seen as a tug of war between Aristotle and Plato since their main point of conflict is their differing view on human functions and their role in ethics. They differ on what human function is. Plato believes that human function is the deliberate, ruling, living, and taking care of things, while on the other hand, Aristotle believes that the idea of human function is to perform activities that express reason (Wheeler, M. 1999).

Plato thinks in terms of the person’s place in the society, his ideas of the ruling, deliberating pertains to the community that one lives and one’s relation to it. Aristotle approaches the problem from a more individualistic point of view. He states that expressing reason in one’s own actions does not have anything to do with a relationship with other people or community but relates only to the individual (Frede, M. 1992).

The aims of philosophers

The goals of the two philosophers are also vastly different. Plato uses his arguments to refute those who would argue that injustice is beneficial and setting up a goal that is for the fulfillment of one’s own will, whereas Aristotle uses his arguments to directly set up a method for achieving common good (Wheeler, M. 1999). Plato has two main goals behind his argument. The first one is to refute the position that injustice is better than justice.

He believes that each person has a function and that the city is virtuous when everyone performs his function in his model ‘cities’. Aristotle on the other hand is able to prescribe a path of happiness if one’s function, expression of reason, and he does so in an excellent manner, then one will achieve happiness since he examined happiness as the ultimate end (Frede, M. 1992).

Later ideas of ethics by Lloyd P Garson relate back to Plato and Aristotle and they exhibit a similar connection with each other. Garson argues convincingly that not only is Aristotle’s philosophy deeply rooted in Plato’s but also that it is in profound harmony with its central principles. He makes his inquiry, which is informed throughout with unsurpassed knowledge of Plato and Aristotle. He readily admits that his schema or his issues related to the views of ancient (Wheeler, M. 1999).

Plato and Aristotle Garson argue that he is an approach to the philosophical explanation of the universe that comprises both a systematic unity and metaphysical hierarchy of beings, which is the same as Plato’s explanation. He rejects extreme nominalism and materialism and the acceptance of the priority of the intelligible to the sensible.

Garson recognizes both divine and psychological as necessary for understanding how happiness and values co-relate to the hierarchy of, human beings. He argues that Aristotle was committed to the science of the intelligible world and the superiority of modern life. His aim was to show that Aristotelian work is sensible (Wheeler, M. 1999). Garson agreed that what is mortal in human beings is a separable intellect that is the same argument as that of Plato and Aristotle He complements Plato’s and Aristotelian perspectives. He says that Aristotle’s form is similar to platonic forms (Frede, M. 1992).

Garson believes in the theory of highest activities and the fact that in both Aristotle’s rejection of mortality for the soul but acceptance of the moral intellect brings loser to Plato since he also believes in moral intellect. Garson’s conclusion is ‘if one rigorously and honestly sought to remove these assumptions Plato and Aristotle would remain incoherent.’ (Wheeler, M. 1999).


Wheeler, M (1999). The possibility of recurrent individuals in Aristotle’s Organon; Gregorianum.

Frede Michael (1992). Plato’s Arguments and the Dialogue form. In Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy.

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