Directions: read the article and comparison below. Then make a T chart that compares /
contrasts Plato and Aristotle.
5 Reasons Why Plato and Aristotle Still Matter Today The ancient Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle may seem like the quintessential (perfect example) Dead White
Males, but in fact they’re very much alive. Twenty four centuries ago they laid the foundations of Western culture,
and their ideas and insights still dictate essential features of our world right now, from what we eat to what we see
on the Internet.
Plato was a typical playboy from a wealthy, connected Athenian family until he met a man named Socrates,
who taught him that the surest path to wisdom was rational (using logic) contemplation (deep thought), and that
being a “lover of wisdom” or philosopher was the highest form of life.
Plato taught his students that all of us want to be part of something higher, a reality in which the world we see is
only a small part, and which unites everything into a single harmonious (all in unison) whole. All of us, he said,
want to crawl out of the cave of darkness and ignorance, and walk in the light of truth. “There is no other road to
happiness,” Plato concluded, “either for society or the individual.”
Plato’s most brilliant pupil, however, arrived at a very different view. Growing up in a family of Greek
physicians, Aristotle learned early on the value of observation and hands-on experience. We don’t live in a
cave, was his reply to Plato; we live in the real world. “Facts are the starting point” of all knowledge, Aristotle
wrote. So instead of accepting his teacher’s belief in pure contemplation, Aristotle said our path to knowledge
comes through logical, methodical (as in the Scientific Method, taking it step by step) discovery of the world
around us–and the facts that make it up.
Plato asks: “Why does it exist at all?” Aristotle asks: “How does it work?” Plato asks, “What do you want your
world to be?” Aristotle asks, “How do you fit into the world that already exists?” Plato asks, “What’s your dream?”
Aristotle replies, “Wake up and smell the coffee.”
Two different world-views; one great debate. And here are five important lessons we can learn from both.
1. Two thousand four hundred years ago, Plato taught that every human soul has the desire to reach for a higher, purer,
and more spiritual truth that will illuminate our lives and transform our world. That’s made him the chief
spokesman for every religious mystic and every believer in a supernatural reality the West has ever produced,
but also for artists and musicians, not to mention lovers who are also soulmates (there’s a reason why it’s called
2. Aristotle, on the other hand, said the light of truth is found here in the material (the things we see and touch)
world, and our job is to understand and find our place in it. That made him the father of Western science (he wrote
the first books on every field from biology and physics to astronomy and psychology) as well as technology, and