Aristotle (384–322 BCE) , whose name means “the best purpose”, was born in Stagirus, Greece. At age 18 he began attending Plato’s Academy in Athens and continued to study there until age 37. His writings cover many different subjects and disciplines in the arts and sciences. He is considered by many to be the first scientist, as the term is presently understood, and also to have categorically outlined the parameters for the field of academia today. He was the tutor of Alexander the Great, dubbed by Muslim intellectuals as “The First Teacher”, and his literary style has been described by Cicero as “a river of gold.”

Aristotle on Know Thyself

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” ― Aristotle

Following Plato’s death, Aristotle shifted his philosophy from Platonism to empiricism. Corresponding with and stimulated by this philosophical shift was an increasing scalar focus on examining the microcosmic self rather than exclusive contemplation of the higher world of forms and ideals. He believed all particular things to be instantiated in universals and that the part and whole, which he titled form and matter, were in fact one and the same.

“To attain any assured knowledge about the soul is one of the most difficult things in the world.” ― Aristotle

“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” ― Aristotle

Aristotle believed the title of philosopher belonged to one who had mastered the optimum activity of reason, and from this excellence consequently followed the state of eudaimonia, meaning well-being and equilibrium.


Further reading:

Socrates on Know Thyself
Plato on Know Thyself
Thales on Know Thyself