Aristotle is an outstanding Greek philosopher whose notions and writings have given rise to a separate philosophical tradition. This school known as Aristotelianism dates back to the 4th century BC and is founded on the extensive theories of Aristotle. Being the disciple of Plato, he managed to expand the ideas of his teacher, reject some of them, plus transform the rest in a more clear and down-to-earth manner. Aristotle’s doctrines and methods have been adopted by almost every following generation of philosophers. 

His first followers – Theophrastus of Lesbos, Strato of Lampsacus, Dicoearch of Messene, Eudemus of Rhodes, etc. – were the Peripatetic School. This was an informal group, members of which gathered at the Lyceum in Athens where he gave lectures. The name supposedly derives from the walkways in that school. But the legend has it, that the thinker liked to stroll while giving lectures, hence the name. After his death, his followers mostly commented his works without making any alterations. 

Aristotle’s works influenced the expansion of the Hellenistic world and the development of the Roman Empire. After the Empire collapsed, they remained unknown to the European philosophical tradition till the 12th century. This was the Arabic world that played the role of a mediator between Medieval Europe and Aristotle’s heritage. From the 9th till 11th centuries, numerous translations plus commentaries of his writings were made by Arabs, Syrians, Persians, and Jews. Distinguished philosophers such as Al-Kindi, Al-Farabi, Avicenna, and Averroes incorporated Aristotelian notions into the Islamic Philosophy. A Jewish scholar, Moses Maimonides wrote the Book of Perplexed which turned out to be the basis of Jewish Scholastic Philosophy. 

Latin translations from Arabic acquainted medieval Christian scholars with what would become the essence of the Roman Catholic Theology. The German theologian and philosopher, Albertus Magnus, together with his pupil Thomas Aquinas synthesized principal doctrines of the philosopher with the Christian viewpoints. According to Aquinas, these ideas enhance and complete the Christian theology. The Italian Renaissance period witnessed Aristotelian views being taught at universities and his books used to prepare new philosophers. Separate concepts, for instance, teleology, influenced the works of such philosophers as Immanuel Kant and Georg Hegel. Among the modern supporters of the tradition, Alasdair Macintyre, John McDowell, and Hans-Georg Gadamer are worth mentioning. 

Aristotle was the first scholar to elaborate an in-depth system of scientific and philosophic knowledge that covers many disciplines, for instance, Ethics, Metaphysics, Poetics, Science, Politics, Logic, History, etc. The founder of formal logic, he produced the earliest study of this subject in the whole world. “Aristotelian” logic remains prevailing in the Western thought till nowadays. Kant believed that Aristotle in his book “Organon” expressed everything possible about this issue and nothing new could be found. Another field where he was a pioneer is Ethics. His two works, the “Nicomachean Ethics” and the “Eudemian Ethics,” remain widely-read books and the most important insight into personal morality. The principal concept in “Nicomachean Ethics” is the practical wisdom, according to which morality has to be practiced rather than discussed. If someone wants to live a decent life, theoretical knowledge is not enough. Also, the finest way to conduct one’s life is to abide a golden mean which helps to develop the virtue of character.

Political theory was elaborated by Aristotle in the book entitled “Politics.” The title of this book comes from the word “polis,” which was used in Ancient Greece to denote a sovereign city or region where free people lived. Polis was the most successful and intelligent form of human association. Being a free citizen of such self-sufficient city was the biggest virtue as it was an essential part of just being a person. Aristotle, for whom humans are political animals, differentiated six types of political governments. Constitutional government, kingship, and aristocracy were the finest ones whereas democracy, oligarchy, and tyranny the worst ones. 

Aristotle contributed to the field of philosophy known as Metaphysics. He is the author of the most fundamental study in this branch of the same name – “Metaphysics.” This monumental work consists of 14 books dedicated to the understanding of the universal principles of existence and its abstract nature. He named it the “first philosophy,” and it posed three questions – what the existence is, how it changes, and, most importantly, how to perceive everything that surrounds us. His views in this field are grounded on a total rejection of Plato’s Theory of Forms. His teacher proposed the idea that the form (appearances) is separated from the matter (the idea it renders). Aristotle rejected this division claiming that form and matter are indivisible otherwise everything in our world is deprived of sense. For the philosopher, an idea is just a certain form of the meaning gained in the process of change. Form and matter can’t exist separately as in nature there is neither clear formless matter nor an idea without its material representation.