2 January 1978

On the orders of the President of Pakistan, Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, paramilitary forces opened fire on peaceful protesting workers in Multan, Pakistan; it is known as 1978 massacre at Multan Colony Textile Mills

16 March 1978

Former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro is kidnapped. (He is later murdered by his captors.)

Aldo Moro
Moro smirking
Moro in 1969
Prime Minister of Italy
In office
23 November 1974 – 29 July 1976
PresidentGiovanni Leone
DeputyUgo La Malfa
Preceded byMariano Rumor
Succeeded byGiulio Andreotti
In office
4 December 1963 – 24 June 1968
DeputyPietro Nenni
Preceded byGiovanni Leone
Succeeded byGiovanni Leone
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
7 July 1973 – 23 November 1974
Prime MinisterMariano Rumor
Preceded byGiuseppe Medici
Succeeded byMariano Rumor
In office
5 May 1969 – 29 July 1972
Prime Minister
Preceded byPietro Nenni
Succeeded byGiuseppe Medici
Minister of Public Education
In office
19 May 1957 – 15 February 1959
Prime Minister
Preceded byPaolo Rossi
Succeeded byGiuseppe Medici
Minister of Grace and Justice
In office
6 July 1955 – 15 May 1957
Prime MinisterAntonio Segni
Preceded byMichele De Pietro
Succeeded byGuido Gonella
Party Leader
President of the Christian Democracy
In office
14 October 1974 – 8 May 1976
Preceded byAmintore Fanfani
Succeeded byFlaminio Piccoli
Secretary of the Christian Democracy
In office
26 March 1959 – 27 January 1964
Preceded byAmintore Fanfani
Succeeded byMariano Rumor
Member of the Parliament
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
8 May 1948 – 9 May 1978
Member of the Constituent Assembly
In office
25 June 1946 – 31 January 1948
Personal details
Aldo Romeo Luigi Moro

(1916-09-16)16 September 1916
Maglie, Apulia, Kingdom of Italy
Died9 May 1978(1978-05-09) (aged 61)
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Cause of deathAssassination
Political partyChristian Democracy
Eleonora Chiavarelli
(m. 1945⁠–⁠1978)
Alma materUniversity of Bari

Aldo Romeo Luigi Moro (Italian: [ˈaldo ˈmɔːro]; 23 September 1916 – 9 May 1978) was an Italian statesman and a prominent member of the Christian Democracy (DC). He served as 38th prime minister of Italy from December 1963 to June 1968 and then from November 1974 to July 1976.[1]

Moro also served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from May 1969 to July 1972 and again from July 1973 to November 1974. During his ministry he implemented a pro-Arab policy, which characterised Italy during the 1970s and the 1980s.[clarification needed] Moreover, he was appointed Minister of Justice and of Public Education during the 1950s. From March 1959 until January 1964, Moro served as secretary of the Christian Democracy.[2] On 16 March 1978 he was kidnapped by the far-left terrorist group Red Brigades and killed after 55 days of captivity.[3]

He was one of Italy's longest-serving post-war Prime Ministers, leading the country for more than six years. An intellectual and a patient mediator, especially in the internal life of his own party, during his rule, Moro implemented a series of social and economic reforms which deeply modernized the country.[4] Due to his accommodation with the Communist leader Enrico Berlinguer, known as the Historic Compromise, Moro is widely considered one of the most prominent fathers of the modern Italian centre-left and one of the greatest and most popular leaders in the history of the Italian Republic.[5]

Early life

Aldo Moro was born in 1916 in Maglie, near Lecce, in the Apulia region, into a family from Ugento. His father, Renato Moro, was a school inspector, while his mother, Fida Sticchi, was a teacher. At the age of 4, he moved with his family to Milan, but they soon moved back to Apulia, where he gained a classical high school degree at Archita lyceum in Taranto.[6] In 1934, his family moved to Bari, where he studied law at the local University, graduating in 1939. After the graduation, he became a professor of philosophy of law and colonial policy (1941) and of criminal law (1942), at the University of Bari.[7]

In 1935, he joined the Italian Catholic Federation of University Students (FUCI) of Bari. In 1939, under approval of Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Pope Paul VI, whom he had befriended, Moro was chosen as president of the association; he kept the post until 1942 when he was forced to fight in the World War II and was succeeded by Giulio Andreotti, who at the time was a law student from Rome.[8] During his university years, Italy was ruled by the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini, and Moro took part in students competitions known as Lictors of Culture and Art organised by local fascist students' organisation, the University Fascist Groups.[9] In 1943, along with other Catholic students, he founded the periodical La Rassegna, which was published until 1945.[10]

In July 1943, Moro contributed, along with Mario Ferrari Aggradi, Paolo Emilio Taviani, Guido Gonella, Giuseppe Capograssi, Ferruccio Pergolesi, Vittore Branca, Giorgio La Pira, Giuseppe Medici and Andreotti, to the creation of the Code of Camaldoli, a document planning of economic policy drawn up by members of the Italian Catholic forces.[11] The Code served as inspiration and guideline for economic policy of the future Christian democrats.[12][13]

In 1945, he married Eleonora Chiavarelli (1915–2010), with whom he had four children: Maria Fida (born 1946), Agnese (1952), Anna, and Giovanni (1958).[14] In 1963 Moro was transferred to La Sapienza University of Rome, as a professor of the institutions of law and criminal procedure.

Early political career

Aldo Moro developed his interest in politics between 1943 and 1945. Initially, he seemed to be very interested in the social-democratic component of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), but then he started cooperating with other Christian democratic politician in opposition to the fascist regime. During these years he met Alcide De Gasperi, Mario Scelba, Giovanni Gronchi and Amintore Fanfani. On 19 March 1943 the group reunited in the house of Giuseppe Spataro officially formed the Christian Democracy (DC).[15] In the DC, he joined the left-wing faction led by Giuseppe Dossetti, of whom he became a close ally.[16] In 1945 he became director of the magazine Studium and president of the Graduated Movement of the Catholic Action (AC), a widespread Roman Catholic lay association.[17]

In 1946, he was appointed vice-president of the Christian Democracy and elected member of the Constitutional Assembly, where he took part in the work to redact the Italian Constitution.[18] Moro run for the constituency of Bari–Foggia, where he received nearly 28,000 votes.[19]

In 1948, he was elected with 63,000 votes to the newly formed Chamber of Deputies[20] and appointed Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs in the De Gasperi V Cabinet, from 23 May 1948 to 27 January 1950.[21]

After Dossetti's retirement in 1952, Moro founded, along with Antonio Segni, Emilio Colombo and Mariano Rumor, the Democratic Initiative faction, led by his old friend Fanfani.[22]

In government

Moro during the 1960s

In 1953, Moro was re-elected to the Chamber of Deputies, where he held the position of chairman of the DC parliamentary group.[23] In 1955, was appointed as Minister of Grace and Justice in the cabinet led by Antonio Segni.[24] In the following year he resulted among the most voted during the party's congress.

In May 1957, the Italian Socialist Democratic Party (PSDI) withdrew its support to the government and on 6 May, Segni resigned.[25] On 20 May, Adone Zoli sworn in as new head of government and Moro was appointed Minister of Education[26] However, after the 1958 general election, Zoli resigned and, on 1 July 1958, Fanfani sworn in as new Prime Minister at the head of a coalition government with the PSDI, and a case-by-case support by the Italian Republican Party (PRI).[27] Moro was confirmed at the head of Italian education and remained in office until February 1959. During his tenure, he introduced the study of civic education in schools.[28][29][30]

In March 1959, after Fanfani's resignation as Prime Minister, a new congress was called. The leaders of the Democratic Initiative faction reunited themselves in the convent of Dorothea of Caesarea, where they abandoned the leftist policies promoted by Fanfani and founded the Dorotei (Dorotheans) faction.[31] In the party's national council, Moro was elected Secretary of DC and was then confirmed in the October's congress held in Florence.[32]

After the brief right-wing government led by Fernando Tambroni in 1960, supported by the decisive votes of the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI), the renovated alliance between Moro as secretary and Fanfani as Prime Minister, led the subsequent National Congress, held in Naples in 1962 to approve with a large majority a line of collaboration with the Italian Socialist Party (PSI).[33]

The 1963 general election was characterized by a lack of consensus for the DC;[34] in fact, the election was held after the launch of the centre-left formula by the Christian Democracy, a coalition based upon the alliance with the Socialists, which had left their alignment with the Soviet Union. Some rightist electors abandoned the DC for the Italian Liberal Party (PLI), which was asking for a centre-right government and received votes also from the quarrelsome monarchist area. Moro refused the office of Prime Minister, preferring to provisionally maintain his more influential post at the head of the party. However the Christian Democrats decided to replace incumbent premier, Fanfani, with a provisional administration led by impartial Presidento of the Chamber, Giovanni Leone;[35] but, when the congress of the PSI in autumn authorized a full engagement of the party into the government, Leone resigned and Moro became the new Prime Minister.[36]

First term as Prime Minister

Moro speaks to the Chamber of Deputies in 1963

Aldo Moro's government was unevenly supported by the DC, but also by the Italian Socialist Party, along with the minor Italian Republican Party and Italian Democratic Socialist Party. The coalition was also known as Organic Centre-left and was characterized by consociationalist and social corporatist tendencies.[37]

Social reforms

During Moro's premiership, a wide range of social reforms were carried out. The 1967 Bridge Law (Legge Ponte) introduced urgent housing provisions as part of an envisioned reform of the entire sector, such as the introduction of minimum standards for housing and environment.[38] A reform, promulgated on 14 December 1963, introduced an annual allowance for university students with income below a given level. Another law, promulgated on 10 March 1968, introduced voluntary public pre-elementary education for children aged three to five years. While a bill, approved on 21 July 1965, extended the program of social security.[39]

Moreover, the legal minimum wage was raised, all current pensions were revalued, seniority pensions were introduced (after 35 years of contributions workers could retire even before attaining pensionable age), and within the Social Security National Institute (INPS), a Social Fund (Fondo Sociale) was established, ensuring to all members pensioners a basic uniform pension largely financed by state, known as the "social pension".[40] A law, approved on 22 July 1966, extended social security insurance to small traders, while law of 22 July 1966 extended health insurance to retired traders. Another important reform was implemented with a bill, approved on 29 May 1967, which extended compulsory health insurance to retired farmers, tenant farmers, and sharecroppers, and extended health insurance to the unemployed in receipt of unemployment benefits.[41] Moreover, a law of 5 November 1968 extended family allowances to the unemployed who received unemployment benefits.[42]

Vajont Dam disaster

During his premiership, Moro had to face the outcome of one of the most tragic events in Italian republican history, the Vajont Dam disaster.[43] On 9 October 1963, a few weeks before his oath as Prime Minister, a landslide occurred on Monte Toc, in the province of Pordenone. The landslide caused a megatsunami in the artificial lake in which 50 million cubic metres of water overtopped the dam in a wave of 250 metres (820 ft), leading to the complete destruction of several villages and towns, and 1,917 deaths.[44]

The destroyed town of Longarone after the megatsunami

In the previous months, the Adriatic Society of Electricity (SADE) and the Italian government, which both owned the dam, dismissed evidence and concealed reports describing the geological instability of Monte Toc on the southern side of the basin and other early warning signs reported prior to the disaster.[45]

Immediately after the disaster, government and local authorities insisted on attributing the tragedy to an unexpected and unavoidable natural event. However, numerous warnings, signs of danger, and negative appraisals had been disregarded in the previous months and the eventual attempt to safely control the landslide into the lake by lowering its level came when the landslide was almost imminent and was too late to prevent it.[46] The communist newspaper L'Unità was the first to denounce the actions of management and government.[47] The DC accused the PCI of political profiteering from the tragedy, promising to bring justice to the people killed in the disaster.[48]

Differently from his predecessor, Giovanni Leone, who even became the head of SADE's team of lawyers, Moro acted strongly to condemn the managers of the society, immediately dismissing the administrative officials who had supervised the construction of the dam.[49]

Coalition crisis and presidential election

Moro with the Socialist leader Pietro Nenni

On 25 June 1964, the government was beaten on the budget law for the Italian Ministry of Education concerning the financing of private education, and on the same day Moro resigned. The moderate Christian Democratic President of Italy, Antonio Segni, during the presidential consultations for the formation of a new cabinet, asked the socialist leader Pietro Nenni to exit from the government majority.[50]

On 16 July, Segni sent the Carabinieri general, Giovanni De Lorenzo, to a meeting of representatives of DC, to deliver a message in case the negotiations around the formation of a new centre-left government would fail. According to some historians, De Lorenzo reported that President Segni was ready to give a subsequent mandate to the President of the Senate Cesare Merzagora, asking him of forming a "president's government", composed by all the conservative forces in the Parliament.[51][52] Moro, on the other hand, managed to form another centre-left majority. During the negotiations, Nenni had accepted the downsizing of his reform programs and, on 17 July, Moro went to the Quirinal Palace, with the acceptance of the assignment and the list of ministers of his second government.[53]

In August 1964, President Segni suffered a serious cerebral hemorrhage and resigned after a few months.[54] In December presidential election, Moro and his majority tried to elect a leftist politician at the Quirinal Palace. On the twenty-first round of voting, the leader of the PSDI and former President of the Constituent Assembly Giuseppe Saragat was elected President with 646 votes out of 963. Saragat was the first left-wing politician to become President of the Republic.[55][56]


Despite the opposition by Segni and other prominent rightist Christian Democrats, the centre-left coalition, the first one for the Italian post-war political life, stayed in power for nearly five years, until the 1968 general election, which was characterised by a defeat for DC's centre-left allies.[57] The socialists and the social democrats run in a joint list named Unified Socialist Party (PSU), which however lost many votes compared to the previous election, while the communists gained ground, achieving 30% of votes in the Senate.[58] The PSI and PSDI decided to exit from the government and Saragat appointed Giovanni Leone at the head of the a new cabinet, composed only by Christian Democracy's members.[59]

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Moro in 1968

In the 1968 DC's congress, Moro yielded the Secretariat and passed to internal opposition. On 5 August 1969, he was appointed Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs by Prime Minister Mariano Rumor,[60] a position that he also held under the premierships of Emilio Colombo and Giulio Andreotti.[61]

Pro-Arab policies

During his ministry, Moro continued the pro-Arab policy of his predecessor Fanfani.[62] He forced Yasser Arafat to promise not to carry out terrorist attacks in Italian territory, with a commitment that was named "Moro pact".[63][64]

The existence of this pact and its validity was confirmed by Bassam Abu Sharif, a long-time leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Interviewed by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, he confirmed the existence of an agreement between Italy and the Popular Front thanks to which, the PFLP could "transport weapons and explosives, guaranteeing immunity from attacks in return".[65] Abu Sharif also declared:" I personally followed the negotiations for the agreement. Aldo Moro was a great man, a true patriot, who wanted to save Italy some headaches, but I never met him. We discussed the details with an admiral and agents of the Italian secret service. The agreement was defined and since then we have always respected it; we were allowed to organize small transits, passages, purely Palestinian operations, without involving Italians. After the deal, every time I came to Rome, two cars were waiting for me to protect myself. For our part, we also guaranteed to avoid embarrassment to your country, that is attacks which started directly from the Italian soil."[66][67] This version was confirmed also by former President of Italy Francesco Cossiga, who stated that Moro was the real and only creator of the pact.[68]

Moro also had to cope with the difficult situation which erupted following the coup of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya,[69] a very important country for Italian interests not only for colonial ties, but also for its energy resources and the presence of about 20,000 Italians.[70]

1971 presidential election

Moro with U.S. President Richard Nixon, in 1970

In 1971, Amintore Fanfani was proposed as Christian Democracy's candidate for the Presidency of the Republic. However his candidacy was weakened by the divisions within his own party and the candidacy of the socialist Francesco De Martino, who received votes from PCI, PSI and some PSDI members.[71]

Fanfani retired after several unsuccessful ballots and Moro was then proposed as candidate by the left-wing faction; however the right-wing strongly opposed him and the moderate conservative Christian Democrats Giovanni Leone was slightly preferred to him.[72] At the twenty third round Leone was finally elected with a centre-right majority, with 518 votes out of 996, including those of the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI).[73]

Italicus Express bombing

On 4 August 1974, a bomb exploded on the Italicus Express, killing 12 people and injuring 48. The train was travelling from Rome to Munich; having left Florence about 45 minutes earlier, it was approaching the end of the long San Benedetto Val di Sambro tunnel under the Apennines. The bomb had been placed in the fifth passenger car of the train and exploded at 01:23, while the train was reaching the end of the tunnel.[74] The effects of the explosion and subsequent fire would have been even more terrible if the train would remain inside the tunnel.[75]

According to what was Moro's daughter, Maria Fida, stated in 2004, Moro should have been on board, but a few minutes before departure he was joined by some officials of the Ministry who made him get off to sign some important documents.[76] According to some reconstructions, Aldo Moro would have been the real target of the attack.[77]

Second term as Prime Minister

In October 1974, Rumor resigned as Prime Minister after failing to come to an agreement on how to deal with rising economic inflation.[78][79] In November, President Leone gave Moro the task of forming a new cabinet; he was sworn in on 23 November, at the head a cabinet composed by DC and PRI, externally supported by PSI and PSDI.[80]

Even during his second term as Prime Minister, the government implemented a series of important social reforms.[81] A law, approved on 9 June 1975, increased the number of occupational diseases and extended the duration of linked insurance and benefit; while a bill, approved on 3 June 1975, introduced various improvements for pensioners. Moreover, the multiplying coefficient was raised to 2% and it was applied to average earnings of the best 3 years in the last 10 years of work and automatic annual adjustment of minimum pensions. A law of 27 December 1975 implemented ad hoc upgradings of cash benefits for certain diseases.[42]

Osimo Treaty

Map of the Free Territory of Trieste and its division after the treaty

During his premiership, Moro signed the Osimo Treaty with Yugoslavia, defining the official partition of the Free Territory of Trieste. The port city of Trieste with a narrow coastal strip to the north west (Zone A) was given to Italy; a portion of the north-western part of the Istrian peninsula (Zone B) was given to Yugoslavia.[82]

The Italian government was harshly criticized for signing the treaty, particularly for the secretive way in which negotiations were carried out, skipping the traditional diplomatic channels. Italian nationalists of the MSI rejected the idea of giving up Istria, since Istria had been an ancient "Italian" region together with the Venetian region (Venetia et Histria).[83] Furthermore, Istria had belonged to Italy for 25 years between World War I and the end of World War II, and the west coast of Istria had long had a sizeable Italian minority population.[84]

Some nationalist politicians called for the prosecution of Moro and his Foreign Affairs Minister, Rumor, for the crime of treason, as stated in Article 241 of the Italian Criminal Code, which mandated a life sentence for anybody found guilty of aiding and abetting a foreign power to exert its sovereignty on the national territory.[85]


Despite the tensions within government's majority, the close relations between Moro and the communist leader, Enrico Berlinguer, guaranteed a certain stability to Moro's governments, allowing them a capacity to act that went beyond the premises that had seen them born.[86]

The fourth Moro government, with Ugo La Malfa as Deputy Prime Minister, started a first dialogue with the PCI, with the aim of beginning a new phase to strengthen the Italian democratic system.[87] However, in 1976 the PSI secretary, Francesco De Martino, withdrew the external support to the government and Moro was forced to resign.[88]

Historic compromise

Moro in 1978

After the 1976 general election, the PCI gained a historic 34% votes and Moro became a vocal supporter of the necessity of starting a dialogue between DC and PCI.[89] Moro's main aim was to widen the democratic base of the government, including the PCI in the parliamentary majority: the cabinets should have been able to represent a larger number of voters and parties. According to him, the DC should have been as the centre of a coalition system based on the principles of consociative democracy.[90] This process was known as Historic Compromise.[91]

Between 1976 and 1977, Berlinguer's PCI broke with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, implementing, with Spanish and French communist parties, a new political ideology known as Eurocommunism. Such a move made an eventual cooperation more acceptable for Christian democratic voters, and the two parties began an intense parliamentary debate, in a moment of deep social crises.[92]

In 1977, Moro was personally involved in international disputes. He strongly defended his long-time friend, Mariano Rumor, during the parliamentary debate on the Lockheed scandal, and some journalists reported that he might have been involved in the bribery too. The allegation, with the aim of politically destroying Moro and avoiding the risk of a DC–PCI–PSI cabinet, failed when Moro was cleared on 3 March 1978, 13 days before his kidnapping.[93]

The early-1978 proposal by Moro of starting a cabinet composed by Christian democrats and socialists, externally supported by the communists was strongly opposed by both superpowers. The United States feared that the cooperation between PCI and DC might have allowed the communists to gain information on strategic NATO military plans and installations.[94] Moreover, the participation in government of the communists in a Western country would have represented a cultural failure for the USA. On the other hand, the Soviets considered the potential participation by the Italian Communist Party in a cabinet as a form of emancipation from Moscow and rapprochement to the Americans.[95]

Kidnapping and death

Moro, photographed during his kidnapping by the Red Brigades

On 16 March 1978, on Via Fani, in Rome, a unit of the militant far-left organisation known as Red Brigades (BR) blocked the two-car convoy which was carrying Moro and kidnapped him, murdering his five bodyguards.[96] On the day of his kidnapping, Moro was on his way to a session of the Chamber of Deputies, where a discussion was to take place regarding a vote of confidence for a new government led by Giulio Andreotti that would have, for the first time, the support of the Communist Party. It was to be the first implementation of Moro's strategic political vision.[97]

In the following days, trade unions called for a general strike, while security forces made hundreds of raids in Rome, Milan, Turin, and other cities searching for Moro's location. After a few days, even Pope Paul VI, a close friend of Moro's, intervened,[98] offering himself in exchange for Aldo Moro.[99]

Negotiations and captivity letters

The Red Brigades proposed exchanging Moro's life for the freedom of several prisoners.[3] There has been speculation that during his detention, many knew where he was hidden. The government immediately took a hard line position: the "State must not bend to terrorist demands". However, this position was openly criticised by prominent Christian Democracy party members such as Amintore Fanfani and Giovanni Leone, who at the time was serving as President of Italy.[100]

On 2 April Romano Prodi, Mario Baldassarri,[101] and Alberto Clò, three professors of the University of Bologna, passed on a tip about a safe-house where the Red Brigades might have been holding Moro. Prodi claimed he had been given the tip by the founders of the Christian Democrats, from beyond a grave in a séance and a Ouija board, which gave the names of Viterbo, Bolsena and Gradoli.[102]

During the investigation of Moro's kidnapping, some members of law enforcement and of the secret services advocated for the use of torture against terrorists, but prominent military like General Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa were against this. Dalla Chiesa once stated: "Italy can survive the loss of Aldo Moro, but it would not survive the introduction of torture."[103][104][105]

During his kidnapping, Moro wrote several letters to the leaders of the Christian Democrats and to Pope Paul VI, who later personally officiated in Moro's funeral mass. Some of those letters, as one that was very critical of Giulio Andreotti, were kept secret for more than a decade, and published only in the early 1990s.[3]

In his letters, Moro said that the state's primary focus should be saving lives and that the government should comply with his kidnappers' demands. Most of the DC's leaders argued that the letters did not express Moro's genuine wishes, claiming they were written under duress, and thus refused all negotiations. This position was in stark contrast to the requests of Moro's family. In his appeal to the terrorists, Pope Paul VI asked them to release Moro "without conditions".[106]


The corpse of Aldo Moro is found on May 9, 1978

When it became clear that the government did not want to negotiate, the Red Brigades had a "people's trial", in which Moro was found guilty and sentenced to death. Then they sent a last demand to the Italian authorities, stating that if 16 Red Brigades prisoners were not released, Moro would be killed. The Italian authorities responded with a large-scale manhunt, which was unsuccessful.[107]

On 9 May 1978, the terrorists placed Moro in a car and told him to cover himself with a blanket, saying that they were going to transport him to another location.[108] After Moro was covered they shot him ten times. According to the official reconstruction after a series of trials, the killer was Mario Moretti. Moro's body was left in the trunk of a red Renault 4 on Via Michelangelo Caetani towards the Tiber River near the Roman Ghetto.[109]

After the recovery of Moro's body, the Minister of the Interior, Francesco Cossiga, resigned.

New revelations and controversies

In 2005, Sergio Flamigni, a leftist politician and writer, who had served on a parliamentary inquiry on the Moro case, suggested the involvement of the Operation Gladio network directed by NATO. He asserted that Gladio had manipulated Moretti as a way to take over the BR in order to effect a strategy of tension aimed at creating popular demand for a new, right-wing law-and-order regime.[110][111]

In 2006, the Harvard and MIT educated American psychiatrist and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Management, Steve Pieczenik, was interviewed by Emmanuel Amara in his documentary film Les derniers jours d'Aldo Moro ("The Last Days of Aldo Moro"). In the interview, Pieczenik, an expert on international terrorism and negotiating strategies who had been brought to Italy as a consultant to Interior Minister Francesco Cossiga's Crisis Committee, stated that: "We had to sacrifice Aldo Moro to maintain the stability of Italy."[112][113]

Pieczenik maintained that the U.S. had had to "instrumentalize the Red Brigades." According to him, the decision to have Moro killed was taken during the fourth week of his detention, when Moro was thought to be revealing state secrets in his letters,[114] namely, the existence of Gladio.[113] In another interview former interior minister Cossiga revealed that the Crisis Committee had also leaked a false statement attributed to the Red Brigades that Moro was already dead. This was intended to communicate to the kidnappers that further negotiations would be useless, since the government had written Moro off.[115][116]

In April 2015, it was reported that controversies around Moro could cause the suspension or closing of the cause. The postulator has stated the cause will continue when the discrepancies are cleared up.[117] The halting of proceedings was due to Antonio Mennini, the priest who heard his last confession, being allowed to provide a statement to a tribunal in regards to Moro's kidnapping and confession. The cause was able to resume its initial investigations following this.


A portrait of Moro in 1965

As a Christian democrat with social democratic tendencies, Moro is widely considered one of the ideological fathers of modern Italian centre-left.[118] During all his political life, he implemented numerous reforms which deeply changed Italian social life; along with his long-time friend and, at the same time, opponent, Amintore Fanfani, he was the protagonist of a long-standing political phase, which brought the social conservative DC towards more leftist politics, through a cooperation with the Italian Socialist Party first, and the Italian Communist Party later.[119]

Due to his reformist stances but also for his tragic death, Moro has often been compared to John F. Kennedy and Olof Palme.[120]

According to media reports on 26 September 2012, the Holy See has received a file on beatification for Moro; this is the first step to become a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.[121]

Electoral history

Election House Constituency Party Votes Result
1946 Constituent Assembly Bari–Foggia DC 27,801 checkY Elected
1948 Chamber of Deputies Bari–Foggia DC 62,971 checkY Elected
1953 Chamber of Deputies Bari–Foggia DC 39,007 checkY Elected
1958 Chamber of Deputies Bari–Foggia DC 154,411 checkY Elected
1963 Chamber of Deputies Bari–Foggia DC 227,570 checkY Elected
1968 Chamber of Deputies Bari–Foggia DC 293,167 checkY Elected
1972 Chamber of Deputies Bari–Foggia DC 178,475 checkY Elected
1976 Chamber of Deputies Bari–Foggia DC 166,260 checkY Elected

Cinematic adaptations

A number of films have portrayed the events of Moro's kidnapping and murder with varying degrees of fictionalization including the following:


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  2. ^ Aldo Moro – Biografia, Mondi
  3. ^ a b c Il rapimento Moro Archived 10 June 2020 at the Wayback Machine, Rai Scuola
  4. ^ "[Pillole di storia italiana] Le riforme del primo centrosinistra: Moro tessitore d'Italia". 29 November 2008.
  5. ^ La lezione di Aldo Moro quarant'anni dopo, Voce Tempo
  6. ^ Biografia di Aldo Moro, Biografie Online
  7. ^ Biografia, Aldo Moro
  8. ^ FUCI – Sito Ufficiale della Federazione Universitaria Cattolica Italiana, www.fuci.net
  9. ^ Renato Moro, Aldo Moro negli anni della FUCI, Studium 2008; Tiziano Torresi L'altra giovinezza. Gli universitari cattolici dal 1935 al 1940, Cittadella editrice 2010.
  10. ^ Vi racconto la storia dimenticata del giovane Aldo Moro di destra, Corriere del Mezzogiorno
  11. ^ Il Codice di Camaldoli, Giuseppe Capograssi
  12. ^ The Turn of Camaldoli , in State and Economy , then resumed with the same intent in Paolo Emilio Taviani, Because the Code of Camaldoli was a turning point in " Civitas ", XXXV. July–August 1984.[clarification needed]
  13. ^ Rinaldi, Marcello (2006). From the welfare state to the welfare society. Social Theology and Pastoral Action of Italian Caritas , Effatà Editrice. ISBN 88-7402-301-4.
  14. ^ Morta Eleonora Chiavarelli, la moglie di Aldo Moro, Famiglia Cristiana
  15. ^ "30Giorni | Ricordare Piccioni (Giulio Andreotti)". www.30giorni.it.
  16. ^ La «santità» di Aldo Moro secondo Dossetti, Avvenire
  17. ^ Aldo Moro: autentico innovatore, Azione Cattolica
  18. ^ "Aldo Moro, Intervento all'Assemblea Costituente" (PDF).
  19. ^ Elezioni 1946: Circoscrizione Bari–Foggia, Ministero dell'Interno
  20. ^ Elezioni 1948: Circoscrizione Bari–Foggia, Ministero dell'Interno]
  21. ^ Governo De Gasperi V, www.governo.it
  22. ^ Storia della Democrazia Cristiana. Le correnti, Storia DC
  23. ^ Elezioni del 1953: Circoscrizione Bari–Foggia, Ministero dell'Interno
  24. ^ Governo Segni I, governo.it
  25. ^ I Governo Segni, camera.it
  26. ^ Governo Zoli, camera.it
  27. ^ Governo Fanfani II, senato.it
  28. ^ L'ora mancante di Educazione Civica, Corriere della Sera
  29. ^ Ritorno a scuola, educazione civica in 33 ore, Il Sole 24 Ore
  30. ^ Scuola, il Parlamento prepara il ritorno in grande stile dell'educazione civica, Adnkronos
  31. ^ Il Doroteismo, In Storia
  32. ^ VII Congresso Nazionale della Democrazia Cristiana Archived 12 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Storia DC
  33. ^ VIII Congresso di Napoli, Della Repubblica
  34. ^ Elezioni del 1963, Ministero dell'Interno
  35. ^ I Governo Leone, camera.it
  36. ^ I Governo Moro, governo.it
  37. ^ Sabattini, Gianfranco (28 November 2011). "Cinquant'anni fa nasceva il centrosinistra poi arrivarono i 'nani' della politica". Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  38. ^ Legge "Ponte" n. 765/1967 del 6 agosto 1967 (GU n. 218 del 31-8-1967), Studio Tecnico Pagliai
  39. ^ "Il centrosinistra e le riforme degli anni '60". 22 January 2018.
  40. ^ "Il centro-sinistra e i governi Moro - Istituto Luigi Sturzo". old.sturzo.it.
  41. ^ La svolta di Aldo Moro: i governi di centrosinistra, Il Giornale
  42. ^ a b Growth to Limits: The Western European Welfare States Since World War II Volume 4 edited by Peter Flora.
  43. ^ Il 9 settembre 1963 il disastro del Vajont: commemorazioni in tutta la regione, Friuli Venezia Giulia
  44. ^ "Vaiont Dam photos and virtual field trip". University of Wisconsin. Archived from the original on 29 July 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2009.
  45. ^ La cronaca del disastro e il processo, ANSA
  46. ^ La tragedia del Vajont, Rai Scuola
  47. ^ "Mattolinimusic.com". Mattolinimusic.com. Retrieved 29 October 2012.[permanent dead link]
  48. ^ "Vajont, Due Volte Tragedia". Sopravvissutivajont.org. 9 October 2002. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
  49. ^ Un banco di prova. La legislazione sul Vajont dalle carte di Giovanni Pieraccini (1963–1964)
  50. ^ Indro Montanelli, Storia d'Italia Vol. 10, RCS Quotidiani, Milan, 2004, page 379-380.
  51. ^ Gianni Flamini, L'Italia dei colpi di Stato, Newton Compton Editori, Rome, page 82.
  52. ^ Sergio Romano, Cesare Merzagora: uno statista contro I partiti, in: Corriere della Sera, 14 marzo 2005.
  53. ^ Governo Moro II, governo.it
  54. ^ Segni, uomo solo tra sciabole e golpisti, Il Fatto Quotidiano
  55. ^ Tempers Flare as Italian Parliament Fails to Elect New President, Retrospective Blog
  56. ^ I Presidenti – Giuseppe Saragat, Camera dei Deputati
  57. ^ Elezioni del 1968, Ministero dell'Interno
  58. ^ Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1048 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  59. ^ V Legislatura della Repubblica italiana, Camera dei Deputati
  60. ^ Governo Rumor II, governo.it
  61. ^ Appunti trasmessi dalla Presidenza del Consiglio con missiva, 27 January 1998.
  62. ^ Aldo Moro, il vero artefice della svolta verso il mondo arabo, Welfare Network
  63. ^ Sergio Flamigni, La tela del ragno. Il delitto Moro (page 197-198), Kaos edizioni, 2003.
  64. ^ Tribunale di Venezia, procedimento penale nº204 del 1983, page 1161-1163.
  65. ^ “Fu il Lodo Moro a tenere gli italiani al sicuro a Beirut nell’82”, La Stampa
  66. ^ Corriere della Sera, 14 August 2008, page 19
  67. ^ Aldo Moro, parla Abu Sharif: «Un mese prima del sequestro Moro ho dato io l’allarme a Roma», Corriere della Sera
  68. ^ Corriere della Sera, 15 August 2008, page 21
  69. ^ Mastelloni : “Così nel ’71 bloccammo un golpe Gheddafi”, La Stampa
  70. ^ Aldo Moro – Dizionario Biografico, Enciclopedia Treccani
  71. ^ Corsa al Quirinale: l'elezione di Giovanni Leone, Panorama
  72. ^ L'elezione del Presidente Leone, quirinale.it
  73. ^ Elezione del Presidente della Repubblica, 1971, Senato della Repubblica
  74. ^ Ed Vulliamy (4 March 2007). "Blood and glory" (XHTML). The Observer. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
  75. ^ Strage dell'Italicus, Associazione Italiana Vittime del Terrorismo
  76. ^ «Moro salì sull'Italicus ma fu fatto scendere», Corriere della Sera
  77. ^ Italicus: storia di un mistero italiano in dieci punti, Linkiesta
  78. ^ Paul, Hofman. "RUMOR'S CABINET RESIGNS IN ITALY". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  79. ^ Shenker, Israel. "RUMOR'S CABINET RESIGNS IN ITALY". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  80. ^ IV Governo Moro – Coalizione politica DC–PRI, Della Republica
  81. ^ Aldo Moro: uomo del riformismo e del compromesso, Falsa Riga
  82. ^ The Europa World Year, Taylor & Francis Group
  83. ^ Ronald Haly Linden (2002). Norms and nannies: the impact of international organizations on the central and east European states. p. 104. ISBN 9780742516038.
  84. ^ Valussi, Ressmann (1861). Trieste e l'Istria nelle quistione italiana. p. 62.
  85. ^ Aldo Moro e la ferita del Trattato di Osimo, Il Piccolo
  86. ^ Berlinguer, teoria e tecnica del compromesso storico, Rai Storia
  87. ^ Compromesso storico, Enciclopedia Treccani
  88. ^ Governo Moro V, governo.it
  89. ^ Elezioni del 1976, Ministero dell'Interno
  90. ^ Fontana, Sandro (1982). "Moro e il sistema politico italiano" (PDF). Cultura e politica nell'esperienza di Aldo Moro (in Italian). Milan: Giuffrè. pp. 183–184.
  91. ^ "Cos'è il compromesso storico? | Sapere.it". www.sapere.it.
  92. ^ Eurocomunismo, Enciclopedia Treccani
  93. ^ Wagner-Pacifici, Robin Erica (1986). The Moro Morality Play. Terrorism as Social Drama. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. pp. 30–32., Cucchiarelli, Paolo; Aldo Giannuli (1997). Lo Stato parallelo. Rome: Gamberetti Editrice. p. 422.
  94. ^ Quanti rimpianti da quella stretta di mano tra Moro e Berlinguer, Giornale Mio
  95. ^ Quando c'era Berlinguer. Bureau. 21 May 2015. ISBN 9788858680681 – via Google Books.
  96. ^ Tutto quel che non torna del rapimento di Aldo Moro, Linkiesta
  97. ^ Governo Andreotti IV, governo.it
  98. ^ 1978: Aldo Moro snatched at gunpoint, "On This Day", BBC (in English)
  99. ^ Holmes, J. Derek, and Bernard W. Bickers. A Short History of the Catholic Church. London: Burns and Oates, 1983. 291.
  100. ^ Leone mi raccontò perché non riuscì a salvare Moro, Il Dubbio
  101. ^ 17 June 1998 hearing of the Commissione parlamentare d'inchiesta sul terrorismo in Italia e sulle cause della mancata individuazione dei responsabili delle stragi directed by senator Giovanni Pellegrino (in Italian)
  102. ^ Popham, Peter (2 December 2005). "The seance that came back to haunt Romano Prodi". The Independent. London. Retrieved 28 November 2008.
  103. ^ This is the widely cited translation. Original Italian: L'Italia è un Paese democratico che poteva permettersi il lusso di perdere Moro non di introdurre la tortura, "Italy is a democratic country that could allow itself the luxury of losing Moro, [but] not of the introduction of torture." Source
  104. ^ Report of Conadep (National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons): Prologue – 1984
  105. ^ Quoted in Dershowitz, Alan M. Why Terrorism Works, p.134, ISBN 978-0-300-10153-9
  106. ^ "L'appello di Paolo VI per il rilascio di Moro". Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  107. ^ 100 Years of Terror, documentary by History Channel
  108. ^ Aldo Moro, 40 anni fa il sequestro del presidente della Dc, ANSA
  109. ^ Fasanella, Giovanni; Giuseppe Roca (2003). The Mysterious Intermediary. Igor Markevitch and the Moro affair. Einaudi.
  110. ^ Giovanni Fasanella and Alberto Franceschini (with a postscript by Judge Rosario Priore, a judge in the Moro case), Che cosa sono le Brigate Rosse ("What are the Red Brigades"), Published in French as Brigades rouges: L'histoire secrète des BR racontée par leur fondateur (Red Brigades: The secret [hi]story of the RBs, recounted by their founder), Alberto Franceschini, with Giovanni Fasanella. Editions Panama, 2005, ISBN 2-7557-0020-3.
  111. ^ Omicidio Pecorelli – Andreotti condannato, La Repubblica, 17 November 2002 (in Italian)
  112. ^ Emmanuel Amara, Les derniers jours d'Aldo Moro (The Last Days of Aldo Moro), Interview of Steve Pieczenik put on-line by Rue 89
  113. ^ a b Hubert Artus, Pourquoi le pouvoir italien a lâché Aldo Moro, exécuté en 1978 (Why the Italian Power let go of Aldo Moro, executed in 1978), Rue 89, 6 February 2008 (in French)
  114. ^ Emmanuel Amara, Les derniers jours d'Aldo Moro (The Last Days of Aldo Moro), Interview of Steve Pieczenik & Francesco Cossiga put on-line by Rue 89
  115. ^ Moore, Malcolm (11 March 2008). "US envoy admits role in Aldo Moro killing". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 12 November 2008.
  116. ^ "Europa nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg:Freiheitliche Demokratien oder Satelliten der USA?" (in German). .zeit-fragen.ch. 9 June 2008. Archived from the original on 20 June 2008. Retrieved 12 November 2008.
  117. ^ "Controversies around Aldo Moro risks a stop for beatification (in Italian)". Corriere del Mezzogiorno. 24 April 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  118. ^ "Il centro-sinistra di Aldo Moro - Marsilio Editori". www.marsilioeditori.it.
  119. ^ E Moro divenne «Padre della Patria», Avvenire]
  121. ^ "Murdered Italian PM Aldo Moro 'could be beatified'". The Daily Telegraph. London. 26 September 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2018.

Further reading

  • Drake, Richard (1996). The Aldo Moro Murder Case. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-01481-2.
  • Hof, Tobias. The Moro Affair – Left-Wing Terrorism and Conspiracy in Italy in the Late 1970s. Historical Social Research, vol. 38 (2013), no. 1, pp. 129–141 (PDF).
  • Wagner-Pacifici, Robin. The Moro morality play: Terrorism as social drama (University of Chicago Press, 1986).
  • Pasquino, Gianfranco. Aldo Moro. In: Wilsford, David, ed. Political leaders of contemporary Western Europe: a biographical dictionary (Greenwood, 1995) pp. 339–45.

Primary sources

External links

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11 February 1978

Censorship: China lifts a ban on works by Aristotle, William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens.

Aristotle Altemps Inv8575.jpg
Roman copy in marble of a Greek bronze bust of Aristotle by Lysippos, c. 330 BC, with modern alabaster mantle
Born384 BC[A]
Died322 BC (aged 61–62)
EraAncient Greek philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Notable studentsAlexander the Great, Theophrastus
Main interests
Notable ideas

Aristotle (/ærɪˈstɒtəl/;[3] Greek: Ἀριστοτέλης Aristotélēs, pronounced [aristotélɛːs]; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Lyceum, the Peripatetic school of philosophy, and the Aristotelian tradition. His writings cover many subjects including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theatre, music, rhetoric, psychology, linguistics, economics, politics, meteorology and government. Aristotle provided a complex synthesis of the various philosophies existing prior to him. It was above all from his teachings that the West inherited its intellectual lexicon, as well as problems and methods of inquiry. As a result, his philosophy has exerted a unique influence on almost every form of knowledge in the West and it continues to be a subject of contemporary philosophical discussion.

Little is known about his life. Aristotle was born in the city of Stagira in Northern Greece. His father, Nicomachus, died when Aristotle was a child, and he was brought up by a guardian. At seventeen or eighteen years of age he joined Plato's Academy in Athens and remained there until the age of thirty-seven (c. 347 BC).[4] Shortly after Plato died, Aristotle left Athens and, at the request of Philip II of Macedon, tutored Alexander the Great beginning in 343 BC.[5] He established a library in the Lyceum which helped him to produce many of his hundreds of books on papyrus scrolls. Though Aristotle wrote many elegant treatises and dialogues for publication, only around a third of his original output has survived, none of it intended for publication.[6]

Aristotle's views on physical science profoundly shaped medieval scholarship. Their influence extended from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages into the Renaissance, and were not replaced systematically until the Enlightenment and theories such as classical mechanics were developed. Some of Aristotle's zoological observations found in his biology, such as on the hectocotyl (reproductive) arm of the octopus, were disbelieved until the 19th century. His works contain the earliest known formal study of logic, studied by medieval scholars such as Peter Abelard and John Buridan. Aristotle's influence on logic also continued well into the 19th century.

He influenced Judeo-Islamic philosophies (800–1400) during the Middle Ages, as well as Christian theology, especially the Neoplatonism of the Early Church and the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church. Aristotle was revered among medieval Muslim scholars as "The First Teacher" and among medieval Christians like Thomas Aquinas as simply "The Philosopher". His ethics, though always influential, gained renewed interest with the modern advent of virtue ethics.


School of Aristotle in Mieza, Macedonia, Greece

In general, the details of Aristotle's life are not well-established. The biographies written in ancient times are often speculative and historians only agree on a few salient points.[B]

Aristotle, whose name means "the best purpose" in Ancient Greek,[7] was born in 384 BC in Stagira, Chalcidice, about 55 km (34 miles) east of modern-day Thessaloniki.[8][9] His father Nicomachus was the personal physician to King Amyntas of Macedon. While he was young, Aristotle learned about biology and medical information, which was taught by his father.[10] Both of Aristotle's parents died when he was about thirteen, and Proxenus of Atarneus became his guardian.[11] Although little information about Aristotle's childhood has survived, he probably spent some time within the Macedonian palace, making his first connections with the Macedonian monarchy.[12]

At the age of seventeen or eighteen, Aristotle moved to Athens to continue his education at Plato's Academy.[13] He probably experienced the Eleusinian Mysteries as he wrote when describing the sights one viewed at the Eleusinian Mysteries, "to experience is to learn" [παθείν μαθεĩν].[14] Aristotle remained in Athens for nearly twenty years before leaving in 348/47 BC. The traditional story about his departure records that he was disappointed with the Academy's direction after control passed to Plato's nephew Speusippus, although it is possible that he feared the anti-Macedonian sentiments in Athens at that time and left before Plato died.[15] Aristotle then accompanied Xenocrates to the court of his friend Hermias of Atarneus in Asia Minor. After the death of Hermias, Aristotle travelled with his pupil Theophrastus to the island of Lesbos, where together they researched the botany and zoology of the island and its sheltered lagoon. While in Lesbos, Aristotle married Pythias, either Hermias's adoptive daughter or niece. She bore him a daughter, whom they also named Pythias. In 343 BC, Aristotle was invited by Philip II of Macedon to become the tutor to his son Alexander.[16][5]

Portrait bust of Aristotle; an Imperial Roman (1st or 2nd century AD) copy of a lost bronze sculpture made by Lysippos

Aristotle was appointed as the head of the royal academy of Macedon. During Aristotle's time in the Macedonian court, he gave lessons not only to Alexander but also to two other future kings: Ptolemy and Cassander.[17] Aristotle encouraged Alexander toward eastern conquest, and Aristotle's own attitude towards Persia was unabashedly ethnocentric. In one famous example, he counsels Alexander to be "a leader to the Greeks and a despot to the barbarians, to look after the former as after friends and relatives, and to deal with the latter as with beasts or plants".[17] By 335 BC, Aristotle had returned to Athens, establishing his own school there known as the Lyceum. Aristotle conducted courses at the school for the next twelve years. While in Athens, his wife Pythias died and Aristotle became involved with Herpyllis of Stagira, who bore him a son whom he named after his father, Nicomachus. If the Suda – an uncritical compilation from the Middle Ages – is accurate, he may also have had an erômenos, Palaephatus of Abydus.[18]

This period in Athens, between 335 and 323 BC, is when Aristotle is believed to have composed many of his works.[5] He wrote many dialogues, of which only fragments have survived. Those works that have survived are in treatise form and were not, for the most part, intended for widespread publication; they are generally thought to be lecture aids for his students. His most important treatises include Physics, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, On the Soul and Poetics. Aristotle studied and made significant contributions to "logic, metaphysics, mathematics, physics, biology, botany, ethics, politics, agriculture, medicine, dance, and theatre."[4]

Near the end of his life, Alexander and Aristotle became estranged over Alexander's relationship with Persia and Persians. A widespread tradition in antiquity suspected Aristotle of playing a role in Alexander's death, but the only evidence of this is an unlikely claim made some six years after the death.[19] Following Alexander's death, anti-Macedonian sentiment in Athens was rekindled. In 322 BC, Demophilus and Eurymedon the Hierophant reportedly denounced Aristotle for impiety,[20] prompting him to flee to his mother's family estate in Chalcis, on Euboea, at which occasion he was said to have stated: "I will not allow the Athenians to sin twice against philosophy"[21][22][23] – a reference to Athens's trial and execution of Socrates. He died on Euboea of natural causes later that same year, having named his student Antipater as his chief executor and leaving a will in which he asked to be buried next to his wife.[24]

Speculative philosophy


With the Prior Analytics, Aristotle is credited with the earliest study of formal logic,[25] and his conception of it was the dominant form of Western logic until 19th-century advances in mathematical logic.[26] Kant stated in the Critique of Pure Reason that with Aristotle logic reached its completion.[27]


One of Aristotle's types of syllogism[C]
In words In terms[D] In equations[E]
    All men are mortal.

    All Greeks are men.

All Greeks are mortal.
M a P

S a M

S a P
Modus Barbara Equations.svg

What is today called Aristotelian logic with its types of syllogism (methods of logical argument),[28] Aristotle himself would have labelled "analytics". The term "logic" he reserved to mean dialectics. Most of Aristotle's work is probably not in its original form, because it was most likely edited by students and later lecturers. The logical works of Aristotle were compiled into a set of six books called the Organon around 40 BC by Andronicus of Rhodes or others among his followers.[30] The books are:

  1. Categories
  2. On Interpretation
  3. Prior Analytics
  4. Posterior Analytics
  5. Topics
  6. On Sophistical Refutations
Plato (left) and Aristotle in Raphael's 1509 fresco, The School of Athens. Aristotle holds his Nicomachean Ethics and gestures to the earth, representing his view in immanent realism, whilst Plato gestures to the heavens, indicating his Theory of Forms, and holds his Timaeus.[31][32]

The order of the books (or the teachings from which they are composed) is not certain, but this list was derived from analysis of Aristotle's writings. It goes from the basics, the analysis of simple terms in the Categories, the analysis of propositions and their elementary relations in On Interpretation, to the study of more complex forms, namely, syllogisms (in the Analytics)[33][34] and dialectics (in the Topics and Sophistical Refutations). The first three treatises form the core of the logical theory stricto sensu: the grammar of the language of logic and the correct rules of reasoning. The Rhetoric is not conventionally included, but it states that it relies on the Topics.[35]


The word "metaphysics" appears to have been coined by the first century AD editor who assembled various small selections of Aristotle's works to the treatise we know by the name Metaphysics.[36] Aristotle called it "first philosophy", and distinguished it from mathematics and natural science (physics) as the contemplative (theoretikē) philosophy which is "theological" and studies the divine. He wrote in his Metaphysics (1026a16):

if there were no other independent things besides the composite natural ones, the study of nature would be the primary kind of knowledge; but if there is some motionless independent thing, the knowledge of this precedes it and is first philosophy, and it is universal in just this way, because it is first. And it belongs to this sort of philosophy to study being as being, both what it is and what belongs to it just by virtue of being.[37]


Aristotle examines the concepts of substance (ousia) and essence (to ti ên einai, "the what it was to be") in his Metaphysics (Book VII), and he concludes that a particular substance is a combination of both matter and form, a philosophical theory called hylomorphism. In Book VIII, he distinguishes the matter of the substance as the substratum, or the stuff of which it is composed. For example, the matter of a house is the bricks, stones, timbers, etc., or whatever constitutes the potential house, while the form of the substance is the actual house, namely 'covering for bodies and chattels' or any other differentia that let us define something as a house. The formula that gives the components is the account of the matter, and the formula that gives the differentia is the account of the form.[38][36]

Immanent realism
Plato's forms exist as universals, like the ideal form of an apple. For Aristotle, both matter and form belong to the individual thing (hylomorphism).

Like his teacher Plato, Aristotle's philosophy aims at the universal. Aristotle's ontology places the universal (katholou) in particulars (kath' hekaston), things in the world, whereas for Plato the universal is a separately existing form which actual things imitate. For Aristotle, "form" is still what phenomena are based on, but is "instantiated" in a particular substance.[36]

Plato argued that all things have a universal form, which could be either a property or a relation to other things. When one looks at an apple, for example, one sees an apple, and one can also analyse a form of an apple. In this distinction, there is a particular apple and a universal form of an apple. Moreover, one can place an apple next to a book, so that one can speak of both the book and apple as being next to each other. Plato argued that there are some universal forms that are not a part of particular things. For example, it is possible that there is no particular good in existence, but "good" is still a proper universal form. Aristotle disagreed with Plato on this point, arguing that all universals are instantiated at some period of time, and that there are no universals that are unattached to existing things. In addition, Aristotle disagreed with Plato about the location of universals. Where Plato spoke of the world of forms, a place where all universal forms subsist, Aristotle maintained that universals exist within each thing on which each universal is predicated. So, according to Aristotle, the form of apple exists within each apple, rather than in the world of the forms.[36][39]

Potentiality and actuality

With regard to the change (kinesis) and its causes now, as he defines in his Physics and On Generation and Corruption 319b–320a, he distinguishes the coming to be from:

  1. growth and diminution, which is change in quantity;
  2. locomotion, which is change in space; and
  3. alteration, which is change in quality.
Aristotle argued that a capability like playing the flute could be acquired – the potential made actual – by learning.

The coming to be is a change where nothing persists of which the resultant is a property. In that particular change he introduces the concept of potentiality (dynamis) and actuality (entelecheia) in association with the matter and the form. Referring to potentiality, this is what a thing is capable of doing or being acted upon if the conditions are right and it is not prevented by something else. For example, the seed of a plant in the soil is potentially (dynamei) a plant, and if it is not prevented by something, it will become a plant. Potentially beings can either 'act' (poiein) or 'be acted upon' (paschein), which can be either innate or learned. For example, the eyes possess the potentiality of sight (innate – being acted upon), while the capability of playing the flute can be possessed by learning (exercise – acting). Actuality is the fulfilment of the end of the potentiality. Because the end (telos) is the principle of every change, and for the sake of the end exists potentiality, therefore actuality is the end. Referring then to the previous example, it can be said that an actuality is when a plant does one of the activities that plants do.[36]

For that for the sake of which (to hou heneka) a thing is, is its principle, and the becoming is for the sake of the end; and the actuality is the end, and it is for the sake of this that the potentiality is acquired. For animals do not see in order that they may have sight, but they have sight that they may see.[40]

In summary, the matter used to make a house has potentiality to be a house and both the activity of building and the form of the final house are actualities, which is also a final cause or end. Then Aristotle proceeds and concludes that the actuality is prior to potentiality in formula, in time and in substantiality. With this definition of the particular substance (i.e., matter and form), Aristotle tries to solve the problem of the unity of the beings, for example, "what is it that makes a man one"? Since, according to Plato there are two Ideas: animal and biped, how then is man a unity? However, according to Aristotle, the potential being (matter) and the actual one (form) are one and the same.[36][41]


Aristotle's immanent realism means his epistemology is based on the study of things that exist or happen in the world, and rises to knowledge of the universal, whereas for Plato epistemology begins with knowledge of universal Forms (or ideas) and descends to knowledge of particular imitations of these.[35] Aristotle uses induction from examples alongside deduction, whereas Plato relies on deduction from a priori principles.[35]

Natural philosophy

Aristotle's "natural philosophy" spans a wide range of natural phenomena including those now covered by physics, biology and other natural sciences.[42] In Aristotle's terminology, "natural philosophy" is a branch of philosophy examining the phenomena of the natural world, and includes fields that would be regarded today as physics, biology and other natural sciences. Aristotle's work encompassed virtually all facets of intellectual inquiry. Aristotle makes philosophy in the broad sense coextensive with reasoning, which he also would describe as "science". However, his use of the term science carries a different meaning than that covered by the term "scientific method". For Aristotle, "all science (dianoia) is either practical, poetical or theoretical" (Metaphysics 1025b25). His practical science includes ethics and politics; his poetical science means the study of fine arts including poetry; his theoretical science covers physics, mathematics and metaphysics.[42]


The four classical elements (fire, air, water, earth) of Empedocles and Aristotle illustrated with a burning log. The log releases all four elements as it is destroyed.

Five elements

In his On Generation and Corruption, Aristotle related each of the four elements proposed earlier by Empedocles, Earth, Water, Air, and Fire, to two of the four sensible qualities, hot, cold, wet, and dry. In the Empedoclean scheme, all matter was made of the four elements, in differing proportions. Aristotle's scheme added the heavenly Aether, the divine substance of the heavenly spheres, stars and planets.[43]

Aristotle's elements[43]
Element Hot/Cold Wet/Dry Motion Modern state
of matter
Earth Cold Dry Down Solid
Water Cold Wet Down Liquid
Air Hot Wet Up Gas
Fire Hot Dry Up Plasma
Aether (divine
(in heavens)


Aristotle describes two kinds of motion: "violent" or "unnatural motion", such as that of a thrown stone, in the Physics (254b10), and "natural motion", such as of a falling object, in On the Heavens (300a20). In violent motion, as soon as the agent stops causing it, the motion stops also: in other words, the natural state of an object is to be at rest,[44][F] since Aristotle does not address friction.[45] With this understanding, it can be observed that, as Aristotle stated, heavy objects (on the ground, say) require more force to make them move; and objects pushed with greater force move faster.[46][G] This would imply the equation[46]


incorrect in modern physics.[46]

Natural motion depends on the element concerned: the aether naturally moves in a circle around the heavens,[H] while the 4 Empedoclean elements move vertically up (like fire, as is observed) or down (like earth) towards their natural resting places.[47][45][I]

Aristotle's laws of motion. In Physics he states that objects fall at a speed proportional to their weight and inversely proportional to the density of the fluid they are immersed in.[45] This is a correct approximation for objects in Earth's gravitational field moving in air or water.[47]

In the Physics (215a25), Aristotle effectively states a quantitative law, that the speed, v, of a falling body is proportional (say, with constant c) to its weight, W, and inversely proportional to the density,[J] ρ, of the fluid in which it is falling:[47][45]

Aristotle implies that in a vacuum the speed of fall would become infinite, and concludes from this apparent absurdity that a vacuum is not possible.[47][45] Opinions have varied on whether Aristotle intended to state quantitative laws. Henri Carteron held the "extreme view"[45] that Aristotle's concept of force was basically qualitative,[48] but other authors reject this.[45]

Archimedes corrected Aristotle's theory that bodies move towards their natural resting places; metal boats can float if they displace enough water; floating depends in Archimedes' scheme on the mass and volume of the object, not as Aristotle thought its elementary composition.[47]

Aristotle's writings on motion remained influential until the Early Modern period. John Philoponus (in the Middle Ages) and Galileo are said to have shown by experiment that Aristotle's claim that a heavier object falls faster than a lighter object is incorrect.[42] A contrary opinion is given by Carlo Rovelli, who argues that Aristotle's physics of motion is correct within its domain of validity, that of objects in the Earth's gravitational field immersed in a fluid such as air. In this system, heavy bodies in steady fall indeed travel faster than light ones (whether friction is ignored, or not[47]), and they do fall more slowly in a denser medium.[46][K]

Newton's "forced" motion corresponds to Aristotle's "violent" motion with its external agent, but Aristotle's assumption that the agent's effect stops immediately it stops acting (e.g., the ball leaves the thrower's hand) has awkward consequences: he has to suppose that surrounding fluid helps to push the ball along to make it continue to rise even though the hand is no longer acting on it, resulting in the Medieval theory of impetus.[47]

Four causes

Aristotle argued by analogy with woodwork that a thing takes its form from four causes: in the case of a table, the wood used (material cause), its design (formal cause), the tools and techniques used (efficient cause), and its decorative or practical purpose (final cause).[49]

Aristotle suggested that the reason for anything coming about can be attributed to four different types of simultaneously active factors. His term aitia is traditionally translated as "cause", but it does not always refer to temporal sequence; it might be better translated as "explanation", but the traditional rendering will be employed here.[50][51]

  • Material cause describes the material out of which something is composed. Thus the material cause of a table is wood. It is not about action. It does not mean that one domino knocks over another domino.[50]
  • The formal cause is its form, i.e., the arrangement of that matter. It tells one what a thing is, that a thing is determined by the definition, form, pattern, essence, whole, synthesis or archetype. It embraces the account of causes in terms of fundamental principles or general laws, as the whole (i.e., macrostructure) is the cause of its parts, a relationship known as the whole-part causation. Plainly put, the formal cause is the idea in the mind of the sculptor that brings the sculpture into being. A simple example of the formal cause is the mental image or idea that allows an artist, architect, or engineer to create a drawing.[50]
  • The efficient cause is "the primary source", or that from which the change under consideration proceeds. It identifies 'what makes of what is made and what causes change of what is changed' and so suggests all sorts of agents, non-living or living, acting as the sources of change or movement or rest. Representing the current understanding of causality as the relation of cause and effect, this covers the modern definitions of "cause" as either the agent or agency or particular events or states of affairs. In the case of two dominoes, when the first is knocked over it causes the second also to fall over.[50] In the case of animals, this agency is a combination of how it develops from the egg, and how its body functions.[52]
  • The final cause (telos) is its purpose, the reason why a thing exists or is done, including both purposeful and instrumental actions and activities. The final cause is the purpose or function that something is supposed to serve. This covers modern ideas of motivating causes, such as volition.[50] In the case of living things, it implies adaptation to a particular way of life.[52]


Aristotle describes experiments in optics using a camera obscura in Problems, book 15. The apparatus consisted of a dark chamber with a small aperture that let light in. With it, he saw that whatever shape he made the hole, the sun's image always remained circular. He also noted that increasing the distance between the aperture and the image surface magnified the image.[53]

Chance and spontaneity

According to Aristotle, spontaneity and chance are causes of some things, distinguishable from other types of cause such as simple necessity. Chance as an incidental cause lies in the realm of accidental things, "from what is spontaneous". There is also more a specific kind of chance, which Aristotle names "luck", that only applies to people's moral choices.[54][55]


In astronomy, Aristotle refuted Democritus's claim that the Milky Way was made up of "those stars which are shaded by the earth from the sun's rays," pointing out correctly that if "the size of the sun is greater than that of the earth and the distance of the stars from the earth many times greater than that of the sun, then... the sun shines on all the stars and the earth screens none of them."[56]

Geology/Natural Sciences

Aristotle noted that the ground level of the Aeolian islands changed before a volcanic eruption.

Aristotle was one of the first people to record any geological observations. He stated that geological change was too slow to be observed in one person's lifetime.[57][58] The geologist Charles Lyell noted that Aristotle described such change, including "lakes that had dried up" and "deserts that had become watered by rivers", giving as examples the growth of the Nile delta since the time of Homer, and "the upheaving of one of the Aeolian islands, previous to a volcanic eruption."'[59] Aristotle also made many observations about the hydrologic cycle and meteorology (including his major writings "Meteorologica"). For example, he made some of the earliest observations about desalination: he observed early – and correctly – that when seawater is heated, freshwater evaporates and that the oceans are then replenished by the cycle of rainfall and river runoff (“I have proved by experiment that salt water evaporated forms fresh and the vapor does not when it condenses condense into sea water again” [60]


Among many pioneering zoological observations, Aristotle described the reproductive hectocotyl arm of the octopus (bottom left).

Empirical research

Aristotle was the first person to study biology systematically,[61] and biology forms a large part of his writings. He spent two years observing and describing the zoology of Lesbos and the surrounding seas, including in particular the Pyrrha lagoon in the centre of Lesbos.[62][63] His data in History of Animals, Generation of Animals, Movement of Animals, and Parts of Animals are assembled from his own observations,[64] statements given by people with specialized knowledge such as beekeepers and fishermen, and less accurate accounts provided by travellers from overseas.[65] His apparent emphasis on animals rather than plants is a historical accident: his works on botany have been lost, but two books on plants by his pupil Theophrastus have survived.[66]

Aristotle reports on the sea-life visible from observation on Lesbos and the catches of fishermen. He describes the catfish, electric ray, and frogfish in detail, as well as cephalopods such as the octopus and paper nautilus. His description of the hectocotyl arm of cephalopods, used in sexual reproduction, was widely disbelieved until the 19th century.[67] He gives accurate descriptions of the four-chambered fore-stomachs of ruminants,[68] and of the ovoviviparous embryological development of the hound shark.[69]

He notes that an animal's structure is well matched to function, so, among birds, the heron, which lives in marshes with soft mud and lives by catching fish, has a long neck and long legs, and a sharp spear-like beak, whereas ducks that swim have short legs and webbed feet.[70] Darwin, too, noted these sorts of differences between similar kinds of animal, but unlike Aristotle used the data to come to the theory of evolution.[71] Aristotle's writings can seem to modern readers close to implying evolution, but while Aristotle was aware that new mutations or hybridizations could occur, he saw these as rare accidents. For Aristotle, accidents, like heat waves in winter, must be considered distinct from natural causes. He was thus critical of Empedocles's materialist theory of a "survival of the fittest" origin of living things and their organs, and ridiculed the idea that accidents could lead to orderly results.[72] To put his views into modern terms, he nowhere says that different species can have a common ancestor, or that one kind can change into another, or that kinds can become extinct.[73]

Scientific style

Aristotle inferred growth laws from his observations on animals, including that brood size decreases with body mass, whereas gestation period increases. He was correct in these predictions, at least for mammals: data are shown for mouse and elephant.

Aristotle did not do experiments in the modern sense.[74] He used the ancient Greek term pepeiramenoi to mean observations, or at most investigative procedures like dissection.[75] In Generation of Animals, he finds a fertilized hen's egg of a suitable stage and opens it to see the embryo's heart beating inside.[76][77]

Instead, he practiced a different style of science: systematically gathering data, discovering patterns common to whole groups of animals, and inferring possible causal explanations from these.[78][79] This style is common in modern biology when large amounts of data become available in a new field, such as genomics. It does not result in the same certainty as experimental science, but it sets out testable hypotheses and constructs a narrative explanation of what is observed. In this sense, Aristotle's biology is scientific.[78]

From the data he collected and documented, Aristotle inferred quite a number of rules relating the life-history features of the live-bearing tetrapods (terrestrial placental mammals) that he studied. Among these correct predictions are the following. Brood size decreases with (adult) body mass, so that an elephant has fewer young (usually just one) per brood than a mouse. Lifespan increases with gestation period, and also with body mass, so that elephants live longer than mice, have a longer period of gestation, and are heavier. As a final example, fecundity decreases with lifespan, so long-lived kinds like elephants have fewer young in total than short-lived kinds like mice.[80]

Classification of living things

Aristotle recorded that the embryo of a dogfish was attached by a cord to a kind of placenta (the yolk sac), like a higher animal; this formed an exception to the linear scale from highest to lowest.[81]

Aristotle distinguished about 500 species of animals,[82][83] arranging these in the History of Animals in a graded scale of perfection, a scala naturae, with man at the top. His system had eleven grades of animal, from highest potential to lowest, expressed in their form at birth: the highest gave live birth to hot and wet creatures, the lowest laid cold, dry mineral-like eggs. Animals came above plants, and these in turn were above minerals.[84] see also:[85] He grouped what the modern zoologist would call vertebrates as the hotter "animals with blood", and below them the colder invertebrates as "animals without blood". Those with blood were divided into the live-bearing (mammals), and the egg-laying (birds, reptiles, fish). Those without blood were insects, crustacea (non-shelled – cephalopods, and shelled) and the hard-shelled molluscs (bivalves and gastropods). He recognised that animals did not exactly fit into a linear scale, and noted various exceptions, such as that sharks had a placenta like the tetrapods. To a modern biologist, the explanation, not available to Aristotle, is convergent evolution.[86] He believed that purposive final causes guided all natural processes; this teleological view justified his observed data as an expression of formal design.[87]

Aristotle's Scala naturae (highest to lowest)
Group Examples
(given by Aristotle)
Blood Legs Souls
Man Man with blood 2 legs R, S, V Hot, Wet
Live-bearing tetrapods Cat, hare with blood 4 legs S, V Hot, Wet
Cetaceans Dolphin, whale with blood none S, V Hot, Wet
Birds Bee-eater, nightjar with blood 2 legs S, V Hot, Wet, except Dry eggs
Egg-laying tetrapods Chameleon, crocodile with blood 4 legs S, V Cold, Wet except scales, eggs
Snakes Water snake, Ottoman viper with blood none S, V Cold, Wet except scales, eggs
Egg-laying fishes Sea bass, parrotfish with blood none S, V Cold, Wet, including eggs
(Among the egg-laying fishes):
placental selachians
Shark, skate with blood none S, V Cold, Wet, but placenta like tetrapods
Crustaceans Shrimp, crab without many legs S, V Cold, Wet except shell
Cephalopods Squid, octopus without tentacles S, V Cold, Wet
Hard-shelled animals Cockle, trumpet snail without none S, V Cold, Dry (mineral shell)
Larva-bearing insects Ant, cicada without 6 legs S, V Cold, Dry
Spontaneously-generating Sponges, worms without none S, V Cold, Wet or Dry, from earth
Plants Fig without none V Cold, Dry
Minerals Iron without none none Cold, Dry



Aristotle proposed a three-part structure for souls of plants, animals, and humans, making humans unique in having all three types of soul.

Aristotle's psychology, given in his treatise On the Soul (peri psychēs), posits three kinds of soul ("psyches"): the vegetative soul, the sensitive soul, and the rational soul. Humans have a rational soul. The human soul incorporates the powers of the other kinds: Like the vegetative soul it can grow and nourish itself; like the sensitive soul it can experience sensations and move locally. The unique part of the human, rational soul is its ability to receive forms of other things and to compare them using the nous (intellect) and logos (reason).[88]

For Aristotle, the soul is the form of a living being. Because all beings are composites of form and matter, the form of living beings is that which endows them with what is specific to living beings, e.g. the ability to initiate movement (or in the case of plants, growth and chemical transformations, which Aristotle considers types of movement).[16] In contrast to earlier philosophers, but in accordance with the Egyptians, he placed the rational soul in the heart, rather than the brain.[89] Notable is Aristotle's division of sensation and thought, which generally differed from the concepts of previous philosophers, with the exception of Alcmaeon.[90]


According to Aristotle in On the Soul, memory is the ability to hold a perceived experience in the mind and to distinguish between the internal "appearance" and an occurrence in the past.[91] In other words, a memory is a mental picture (phantasm) that can be recovered. Aristotle believed an impression is left on a semi-fluid bodily organ that undergoes several changes in order to make a memory. A memory occurs when stimuli such as sights or sounds are so complex that the nervous system cannot receive all the impressions at once. These changes are the same as those involved in the operations of sensation, Aristotelian 'common sense', and thinking.[92][93]

Aristotle uses the term 'memory' for the actual retaining of an experience in the impression that can develop from sensation, and for the intellectual anxiety that comes with the impression because it is formed at a particular time and processing specific contents. Memory is of the past, prediction is of the future, and sensation is of the present. Retrieval of impressions cannot be performed suddenly. A transitional channel is needed and located in past experiences, both for previous experience and present experience.[94]

Because Aristotle believes people receive all kinds of sense perceptions and perceive them as impressions, people are continually weaving together new impressions of experiences. To search for these impressions, people search the memory itself.[95] Within the memory, if one experience is offered instead of a specific memory, that person will reject this experience until they find what they are looking for. Recollection occurs when one retrieved experience naturally follows another. If the chain of "images" is needed, one memory will stimulate the next. When people recall experiences, they stimulate certain previous experiences until they reach the one that is needed.[96] Recollection is thus the self-directed activity of retrieving the information stored in a memory impression.[97] Only humans can remember impressions of intellectual activity, such as numbers and words. Animals that have perception of time can retrieve memories of their past observations. Remembering involves only perception of the things remembered and of the time passed.[98]

Senses, perception, memory, dreams, action in Aristotle's psychology. Impressions are stored in the sensorium (the heart), linked by his laws of association (similarity, contrast, and contiguity).

Aristotle believed the chain of thought, which ends in recollection of certain impressions, was connected systematically in relationships such as similarity, contrast, and contiguity, described in his laws of association. Aristotle believed that past experiences are hidden within the mind. A force operates to awaken the hidden material to bring up the actual experience. According to Aristotle, association is the power innate in a mental state, which operates upon the unexpressed remains of former experiences, allowing them to rise and be recalled.[99][100]


Aristotle describes sleep in On Sleep and Wakefulness.[101] Sleep takes place as a result of overuse of the senses[102] or of digestion,[101] so it is vital to the body.[102] While a person is asleep, the critical activities, which include thinking, sensing, recalling and remembering, do not function as they do during wakefulness. Since a person cannot sense during sleep they cannot have desire, which is the result of sensation. However, the senses are able to work during sleep,[102] albeit differently,[101] unless they are weary.[102]

Dreams do not involve actually sensing a stimulus. In dreams, sensation is still involved, but in an altered manner.[102] Aristotle explains that when a person stares at a moving stimulus such as the waves in a body of water, and then looks away, the next thing they look at appears to have a wavelike motion. When a person perceives a stimulus and the stimulus is no longer the focus of their attention, it leaves an impression.[101] When the body is awake and the senses are functioning properly, a person constantly encounters new stimuli to sense and so the impressions of previously perceived stimuli are ignored.[102] However, during sleep the impressions made throughout the day are noticed as there are no new distracting sensory experiences.[101] So, dreams result from these lasting impressions. Since impressions are all that are left and not the exact stimuli, dreams do not resemble the actual waking experience.[103] During sleep, a person is in an altered state of mind. Aristotle compares a sleeping person to a person who is overtaken by strong feelings toward a stimulus. For example, a person who has a strong infatuation with someone may begin to think they see that person everywhere because they are so overtaken by their feelings. Since a person sleeping is in a suggestible state and unable to make judgements, they become easily deceived by what appears in their dreams, like the infatuated person.[101] This leads the person to believe the dream is real, even when the dreams are absurd in nature.[101] In De Anima iii 3, Aristotle ascribes the ability to create, to store, and to recall images in the absence of perception to the faculty of imagination, phantasia.[16]

One component of Aristotle's theory of dreams disagrees with previously held beliefs. He claimed that dreams are not foretelling and not sent by a divine being. Aristotle reasoned naturalistically that instances in which dreams do resemble future events are simply coincidences.[104] Aristotle claimed that a dream is first established by the fact that the person is asleep when they experience it. If a person had an image appear for a moment after waking up or if they see something in the dark it is not considered a dream because they were awake when it occurred. Secondly, any sensory experience that is perceived while a person is asleep does not qualify as part of a dream. For example, if, while a person is sleeping, a door shuts and in their dream they hear a door is shut, this sensory experience is not part of the dream. Lastly, the images of dreams must be a result of lasting impressions of waking sensory experiences.[103]

Practical philosophy

Aristotle's practical philosophy covers areas such as ethics, politics, economics, and rhetoric.[42]

Virtues and their accompanying vices[4]
Too little Virtuous mean Too much
Humbleness High-mindedness Vainglory
Lack of purpose Right ambition Over-ambition
Spiritlessness Good temper Irascibility
Rudeness Civility Obsequiousness
Cowardice Courage Rashness
Insensibility Self-control Intemperance
Sarcasm Sincerity Boastfulness
Boorishness Wit Buffoonery
Shamelessness Modesty Shyness
Callousness Just resentment Spitefulness
Pettiness Generosity Vulgarity
Meanness Liberality Wastefulness

Just war theory

Aristotelian just war theory is not well regarded in the present day, especially his view that warfare was justified to enslave "natural slaves". In Aristotelian philosophy, the abolition of what he considers "natural slavery" would undermine civic freedom. The pursuit of freedom is inseparable from pursuing mastery over "those who deserve to be slaves". According to The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle's Politics the targets of this aggressive warfare were non-Greeks, noting Aristotle's view that "our poets say 'it is proper for Greeks to rule non-Greeks' ".[105]

Aristotle generally has a favourable opinion of war, extolling it as a chance for virtue and writing that "the leisure that accompanies peace" tends to make people "arrogant". War to "avoid becoming enslaved to others" is justified as self-defence. He writes that war "compels people to be just and temperate", however, in order to be just "war must be chosen for the sake of peace" (with the exception of wars of aggression discussed above).[105]


Aristotle considered ethics to be a practical rather than theoretical study, i.e., one aimed at becoming good and doing good rather than knowing for its own sake. He wrote several treatises on ethics, including most notably, the Nicomachean Ethics.[106]

Aristotle taught that virtue has to do with the proper function (ergon) of a thing. An eye is only a good eye in so much as it can see, because the proper function of an eye is sight. Aristotle reasoned that humans must have a function specific to humans, and that this function must be an activity of the psuchē (soul) in accordance with reason (logos). Aristotle identified such an optimum activity (the virtuous mean, between the accompanying vices of excess or deficiency[4]) of the soul as the aim of all human deliberate action, eudaimonia, generally translated as "happiness" or sometimes "well being". To have the potential of ever being happy in this way necessarily requires a good character (ēthikē aretē), often translated as moral or ethical virtue or excellence.[107]

Aristotle taught that to achieve a virtuous and potentially happy character requires a first stage of having the fortune to be habituated not deliberately, but by teachers, and experience, leading to a later stage in which one consciously chooses to do the best things. When the best people come to live life this way their practical wisdom (phronesis) and their intellect (nous) can develop with each other towards the highest possible human virtue, the wisdom of an accomplished theoretical or speculative thinker, or in other words, a philosopher.[108]


In addition to his works on ethics, which address the individual, Aristotle addressed the city in his work titled Politics. Aristotle considered the city to be a natural community. Moreover, he considered the city to be prior in importance to the family which in turn is prior to the individual, "for the whole must of necessity be prior to the part".[109] He famously stated that "man is by nature a political animal" and argued that humanity's defining factor among others in the animal kingdom is its rationality.[110] Aristotle conceived of politics as being like an organism rather than like a machine, and as a collection of parts none of which can exist without the others. Aristotle's conception of the city is organic, and he is considered one of the first to conceive of the city in this manner.[111]

Aristotle's classifications of political constitutions

The common modern understanding of a political community as a modern state is quite different from Aristotle's understanding. Although he was aware of the existence and potential of larger empires, the natural community according to Aristotle was the city (polis) which functions as a political "community" or "partnership" (koinōnia). The aim of the city is not just to avoid injustice or for economic stability, but rather to allow at least some citizens the possibility to live a good life, and to perform beautiful acts: "The political partnership must be regarded, therefore, as being for the sake of noble actions, not for the sake of living together." This is distinguished from modern approaches, beginning with social contract theory, according to which individuals leave the state of nature because of "fear of violent death" or its "inconveniences."[L]

In Protrepticus, the character 'Aristotle' states:[112]

For we all agree that the most excellent man should rule, i.e., the supreme by nature, and that the law rules and alone is authoritative; but the law is a kind of intelligence, i.e. a discourse based on intelligence. And again, what standard do we have, what criterion of good things, that is more precise than the intelligent man? For all that this man will choose, if the choice is based on his knowledge, are good things and their contraries are bad. And since everybody chooses most of all what conforms to their own proper dispositions (a just man choosing to live justly, a man with bravery to live bravely, likewise a self-controlled man to live with self-control), it is clear that the intelligent man will choose most of all to be intelligent; for this is the function of that capacity. Hence it's evident that, according to the most authoritative judgment, intelligence is supreme among goods.[112]

As Plato’s disciple Aristotle was rather skeptical concerning democracy and, following Plato's vague ideas, he developed a coherent theory of integrating various forms of power into a so-called mixed state:

It is … constitutional to take … from oligarchy that offices are to be elected, and from democracy that this is not to be on a property-qualification. This then is the mode of the mixture; and the mark of a good mixture of democracy and oligarchy is when it is possible to speak of the same constitution as a democracy and as an oligarchy.

— Aristotle. Politics, Book 4, 1294b.10–18

To illustrate this approach, Aristotle proposed a first-of-its-kind mathematical model of voting, albeit textually described, where the democratic principle of "one voter–one vote" is combined with the oligarchic "merit-weighted voting"; for relevant quotes and their translation into mathematical formulas see.[113]


Aristotle made substantial contributions to economic thought, especially to thought in the Middle Ages.[114] In Politics, Aristotle addresses the city, property, and trade. His response to criticisms of private property, in Lionel Robbins's view, anticipated later proponents of private property among philosophers and economists, as it related to the overall utility of social arrangements.[114] Aristotle believed that although communal arrangements may seem beneficial to society, and that although private property is often blamed for social strife, such evils in fact come from human nature. In Politics, Aristotle offers one of the earliest accounts of the origin of money.[114] Money came into use because people became dependent on one another, importing what they needed and exporting the surplus. For the sake of convenience, people then agreed to deal in something that is intrinsically useful and easily applicable, such as iron or silver.[115]

Aristotle's discussions on retail and interest was a major influence on economic thought in the Middle Ages. He had a low opinion of retail, believing that contrary to using money to procure things one needs in managing the household, retail trade seeks to make a profit. It thus uses goods as a means to an end, rather than as an end unto itself. He believed that retail trade was in this way unnatural. Similarly, Aristotle considered making a profit through interest unnatural, as it makes a gain out of the money itself, and not from its use.[115]

Aristotle gave a summary of the function of money that was perhaps remarkably precocious for his time. He wrote that because it is impossible to determine the value of every good through a count of the number of other goods it is worth, the necessity arises of a single universal standard of measurement. Money thus allows for the association of different goods and makes them "commensurable".[115] He goes on to state that money is also useful for future exchange, making it a sort of security. That is, "if we do not want a thing now, we shall be able to get it when we do want it".[115]

Rhetoric and poetics

The Blind Oedipus Commending his Children to the Gods (1784) by Bénigne Gagneraux. In his Poetics, Aristotle uses the tragedy Oedipus Tyrannus by Sophocles as an example of how the perfect tragedy should be structured, with a generally good protagonist who starts the play prosperous, but loses everything through some hamartia (fault).[116]

Aristotle's Rhetoric proposes that a speaker can use three basic kinds of appeals to persuade his audience: ethos (an appeal to the speaker's character), pathos (an appeal to the audience's emotion), and logos (an appeal to logical reasoning).[117] He also categorizes rhetoric into three genres: epideictic (ceremonial speeches dealing with praise or blame), forensic (judicial speeches over guilt or innocence), and deliberative (speeches calling on an audience to make a decision on an issue).[118] Aristotle also outlines two kinds of rhetorical proofs: enthymeme (proof by syllogism) and paradeigma (proof by example).[119]

Aristotle writes in his Poetics that epic poetry, tragedy, comedy, dithyrambic poetry, painting, sculpture, music, and dance are all fundamentally acts of mimesis ("imitation"), each varying in imitation by medium, object, and manner.[120][121] He applies the term mimesis both as a property of a work of art and also as the product of the artist's intention[120] and contends that the audience's realisation of the mimesis is vital to understanding the work itself.[120] Aristotle states that mimesis is a natural instinct of humanity that separates humans from animals[120][122] and that all human artistry "follows the pattern of nature".[120] Because of this, Aristotle believed that each of the mimetic arts possesses what Stephen Halliwell calls "highly structured procedures for the achievement of their purposes."[120] For example, music imitates with the media of rhythm and harmony, whereas dance imitates with rhythm alone, and poetry with language. The forms also differ in their object of imitation. Comedy, for instance, is a dramatic imitation of men worse than average; whereas tragedy imitates men slightly better than average. Lastly, the forms differ in their manner of imitation – through narrative or character, through change or no change, and through drama or no drama.[123]

While it is believed that Aristotle's Poetics originally comprised two books – one on comedy and one on tragedy – only the portion that focuses on tragedy has survived. Aristotle taught that tragedy is composed of six elements: plot-structure, character, style, thought, spectacle, and lyric poetry.[124] The characters in a tragedy are merely a means of driving the story; and the plot, not the characters, is the chief focus of tragedy. Tragedy is the imitation of action arousing pity and fear, and is meant to effect the catharsis of those same emotions. Aristotle concludes Poetics with a discussion on which, if either, is superior: epic or tragic mimesis. He suggests that because tragedy possesses all the attributes of an epic, possibly possesses additional attributes such as spectacle and music, is more unified, and achieves the aim of its mimesis in shorter scope, it can be considered superior to epic.[125] Aristotle was a keen systematic collector of riddles, folklore, and proverbs; he and his school had a special interest in the riddles of the Delphic Oracle and studied the fables of Aesop.[126]

Views on women

Aristotle's analysis of procreation describes an active, ensouling masculine element bringing life to an inert, passive female element. On this ground, proponents of feminist metaphysics have accused Aristotle of misogyny[127] and sexism.[128] However, Aristotle gave equal weight to women's happiness as he did to men's, and commented in his Rhetoric that the things that lead to happiness need to be in women as well as men.[M]


More than 2300 years after his death, Aristotle remains one of the most influential people who ever lived.[130][131][132] He contributed to almost every field of human knowledge then in existence, and he was the founder of many new fields. According to the philosopher Bryan Magee, "it is doubtful whether any human being has ever known as much as he did".[133] Among countless other achievements, Aristotle was the founder of formal logic,[134] pioneered the study of zoology, and left every future scientist and philosopher in his debt through his contributions to the scientific method.[135][136][137] Taneli Kukkonen, writing in The Classical Tradition, observes that his achievement in founding two sciences is unmatched, and his reach in influencing "every branch of intellectual enterprise" including Western ethical and political theory, theology, rhetoric and literary analysis is equally long. As a result, Kukkonen argues, any analysis of reality today "will almost certainly carry Aristotelian overtones ... evidence of an exceptionally forceful mind."[137] Jonathan Barnes wrote that "an account of Aristotle's intellectual afterlife would be little less than a history of European thought".[138]

On his successor, Theophrastus

Frontispiece to a 1644 version of Theophrastus's Historia Plantarum, originally written around 300 BC

Aristotle's pupil and successor, Theophrastus, wrote the History of Plants, a pioneering work in botany. Some of his technical terms remain in use, such as carpel from carpos, fruit, and pericarp, from pericarpion, seed chamber.[139] Theophrastus was much less concerned with formal causes than Aristotle was, instead pragmatically describing how plants functioned.[140][141]

On later Greek philosophers

The immediate influence of Aristotle's work was felt as the Lyceum grew into the Peripatetic school. Aristotle's notable students included Aristoxenus, Dicaearchus, Demetrius of Phalerum, Eudemos of Rhodes, Harpalus, Hephaestion, Mnason of Phocis, Nicomachus, and Theophrastus. Aristotle's influence over Alexander the Great is seen in the latter's bringing with him on his expedition a host of zoologists, botanists, and researchers. He had also learned a great deal about Persian customs and traditions from his teacher. Although his respect for Aristotle was diminished as his travels made it clear that much of Aristotle's geography was clearly wrong, when the old philosopher released his works to the public, Alexander complained "Thou hast not done well to publish thy acroamatic doctrines; for in what shall I surpass other men if those doctrines wherein I have been trained are to be all men's common property?"[142]

On Hellenistic science

After Theophrastus, the Lyceum failed to produce any original work. Though interest in Aristotle's ideas survived, they were generally taken unquestioningly.[143] It is not until the age of Alexandria under the Ptolemies that advances in biology can be again found.

The first medical teacher at Alexandria, Herophilus of Chalcedon, corrected Aristotle, placing intelligence in the brain, and connected the nervous system to motion and sensation. Herophilus also distinguished between veins and arteries, noting that the latter pulse while the former do not.[144] Though a few ancient atomists such as Lucretius challenged the teleological viewpoint of Aristotelian ideas about life, teleology (and after the rise of Christianity, natural theology) would remain central to biological thought essentially until the 18th and 19th centuries. Ernst Mayr states that there was "nothing of any real consequence in biology after Lucretius and Galen until the Renaissance."[145]

On Byzantine scholars

Greek Christian scribes played a crucial role in the preservation of Aristotle by copying all the extant Greek language manuscripts of the corpus. The first Greek Christians to comment extensively on Aristotle were Philoponus, Elias, and David in the sixth century, and Stephen of Alexandria in the early seventh century.[146] John Philoponus stands out for having attempted a fundamental critique of Aristotle's views on the eternity of the world, movement, and other elements of Aristotelian thought.[147] Philoponus questioned Aristotle's teaching of physics, noting its flaws and introducing the theory of impetus to explain his observations.[148]

After a hiatus of several centuries, formal commentary by Eustratius and Michael of Ephesus reappeared in the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries, apparently sponsored by Anna Comnena.[149]

On the medieval Islamic world

Islamic portrayal of Aristotle, c. 1220

Aristotle was one of the most revered Western thinkers in early Islamic theology. Most of the still extant works of Aristotle,[150] as well as a number of the original Greek commentaries, were translated into Arabic and studied by Muslim philosophers, scientists and scholars. Averroes, Avicenna and Alpharabius, who wrote on Aristotle in great depth, also influenced Thomas Aquinas and other Western Christian scholastic philosophers. Alkindus greatly admired Aristotle's philosophy,[151] and Averroes spoke of Aristotle as the "exemplar" for all future philosophers.[152] Medieval Muslim scholars regularly described Aristotle as the "First Teacher".[150] The title "teacher" was first given to Aristotle by Muslim scholars, and was later used by Western philosophers (as in the famous poem of Dante) who were influenced by the tradition of Islamic philosophy.[153]

On medieval Europe

With the loss of the study of ancient Greek in the early medieval Latin West, Aristotle was practically unknown there from c. AD 600 to c. 1100 except through the Latin translation of the Organon made by Boethius. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, interest in Aristotle revived and Latin Christians had translations made, both from Arabic translations, such as those by Gerard of Cremona,[155] and from the original Greek, such as those by James of Venice and William of Moerbeke. After the Scholastic Thomas Aquinas wrote his Summa Theologica, working from Moerbeke's translations and calling Aristotle "The Philosopher",[156] the demand for Aristotle's writings grew, and the Greek manuscripts returned to the West, stimulating a revival of Aristotelianism in Europe that continued into the Renaissance.[157] These thinkers blended Aristotelian philosophy with Christianity, bringing the thought of Ancient Greece into the Middle Ages. Scholars such as Boethius, Peter Abelard, and John Buridan worked on Aristotelian logic.[158]

The medieval English poet Chaucer describes his student as being happy by having

at his beddes heed
Twenty bookes, clad in blak or reed,
Of aristotle and his philosophie,[159]

A cautionary medieval tale held that Aristotle advised his pupil Alexander to avoid the king's seductive mistress, Phyllis, but was himself captivated by her, and allowed her to ride him. Phyllis had secretly told Alexander what to expect, and he witnessed Phyllis proving that a woman's charms could overcome even the greatest philosopher's male intellect. Artists such as Hans Baldung produced a series of illustrations of the popular theme.[160][154]

The Italian poet Dante says of Aristotle in The Divine Comedy:

L'Inferno, Canto IV. 131–135

vidi 'l maestro di color che sanno
seder tra filosofica famiglia.
Tutti lo miran, tutti onor li fanno:
quivi vid'ïo Socrate e Platone
che 'nnanzi a li altri più presso li stanno;

I saw the Master there of those who know,
Amid the philosophic family,
By all admired, and by all reverenced;
There Plato too I saw, and Socrates,
Who stood beside him closer than the rest.

On Early Modern scientists

William Harvey's De Motu Cordis, 1628, showed that the blood circulated, contrary to classical era thinking.

In the Early Modern period, scientists such as William Harvey in England and Galileo Galilei in Italy reacted against the theories of Aristotle and other classical era thinkers like Galen, establishing new theories based to some degree on observation and experiment. Harvey demonstrated the circulation of the blood, establishing that the heart functioned as a pump rather than being the seat of the soul and the controller of the body's heat, as Aristotle thought.[161] Galileo used more doubtful arguments to displace Aristotle's physics, proposing that bodies all fall at the same speed whatever their weight.[162]

On 19th-century thinkers

The 19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche has been said to have taken nearly all of his political philosophy from Aristotle.[163] Aristotle rigidly separated action from production, and argued for the deserved subservience of some people ("natural slaves"), and the natural superiority (virtue, arete) of others. It was Martin Heidegger, not Nietzsche, who elaborated a new interpretation of Aristotle, intended to warrant his deconstruction of scholastic and philosophical tradition.[164]

The English mathematician George Boole fully accepted Aristotle's logic, but decided "to go under, over, and beyond" it with his system of algebraic logic in his 1854 book The Laws of Thought. This gives logic a mathematical foundation with equations, enables it to solve equations as well as check validity, and allows it to handle a wider class of problems by expanding propositions of any number of terms, not just two.[165]

Modern rejection and rehabilitation

"That most enduring of romantic images, Aristotle tutoring the future conqueror Alexander".[137] Illustration by  [fr], 1866

During the 20th century, Aristotle's work was widely criticized. The philosopher Bertrand Russell argued that "almost every serious intellectual advance has had to begin with an attack on some Aristotelian doctrine". Russell called Aristotle's ethics "repulsive", and labelled his logic "as definitely antiquated as Ptolemaic astronomy". Russell stated that these errors made it difficult to do historical justice to Aristotle, until one remembered what an advance he made upon all of his predecessors.[5]

The Dutch historian of science Eduard Jan Dijksterhuis wrote that Aristotle and his predecessors showed the difficulty of science by "proceed[ing] so readily to frame a theory of such a general character" on limited evidence from their senses.[166] In 1985, the biologist Peter Medawar could still state in "pure seventeenth century"[167] tones that Aristotle had assembled "a strange and generally speaking rather tiresome farrago of hearsay, imperfect observation, wishful thinking and credulity amounting to downright gullibility".[167][168]

By the start of the 21st century, however, Aristotle was taken more seriously: Kukkonen noted that "In the best 20th-century scholarship Aristotle comes alive as a thinker wrestling with the full weight of the Greek philosophical tradition."[137] Alasdair MacIntyre has attempted to reform what he calls the Aristotelian tradition in a way that is anti-elitist and capable of disputing the claims of both liberals and Nietzscheans.[169] Kukkonen observed, too, that "that most enduring of romantic images, Aristotle tutoring the future conqueror Alexander" remained current, as in the 2004 film Alexander, while the "firm rules" of Aristotle's theory of drama have ensured a role for the Poetics in Hollywood.[137]

Biologists continue to be interested in Aristotle's thinking. Armand Marie Leroi has reconstructed Aristotle's biology,[170] while Niko Tinbergen's four questions, based on Aristotle's four causes, are used to analyse animal behaviour; they examine function, phylogeny, mechanism, and ontogeny.[171][172]

Surviving works

Corpus Aristotelicum

First page of a 1566 edition of the Nicomachean Ethics in Greek and Latin

The works of Aristotle that have survived from antiquity through medieval manuscript transmission are collected in the Corpus Aristotelicum. These texts, as opposed to Aristotle's lost works, are technical philosophical treatises from within Aristotle's school. Reference to them is made according to the organization of Immanuel Bekker's Royal Prussian Academy edition (Aristotelis Opera edidit Academia Regia Borussica, Berlin, 1831–1870), which in turn is based on ancient classifications of these works.[173]

Loss and preservation

Aristotle wrote his works on papyrus scrolls, the common writing medium of that era.[N] His writings are divisible into two groups: the "exoteric", intended for the public, and the "esoteric", for use within the Lyceum school.[175][O][176] Aristotle's "lost" works stray considerably in characterization from the surviving Aristotelian corpus. Whereas the lost works appear to have been originally written with a view to subsequent publication, the surviving works mostly resemble lecture notes not intended for publication.[177][175] Cicero's description of Aristotle's literary style as "a river of gold" must have applied to the published works, not the surviving notes.[P] A major question in the history of Aristotle's works is how the exoteric writings were all lost, and how the ones now possessed came to be found.[179] The consensus is that Andronicus of Rhodes collected the esoteric works of Aristotle's school which existed in the form of smaller, separate works, distinguished them from those of Theophrastus and other Peripatetics, edited them, and finally compiled them into the more cohesive, larger works as they are known today.[180][181]




Aristotle has been depicted by major artists including Lucas Cranach the Elder,[182] Justus van Gent, Raphael, Paolo Veronese, Jusepe de Ribera,[183] Rembrandt,[184] and Francesco Hayez over the centuries. Among the best-known depictions is Raphael's fresco The School of Athens, in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, where the figures of Plato and Aristotle are central to the image, at the architectural vanishing point, reflecting their importance.[185] Rembrandt's Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, too, is a celebrated work, showing the knowing philosopher and the blind Homer from an earlier age: as the art critic Jonathan Jones writes, "this painting will remain one of the greatest and most mysterious in the world, ensnaring us in its musty, glowing, pitch-black, terrible knowledge of time."[186][187]



The Aristotle Mountains in Antarctica are named after Aristotle. He was the first person known to conjecture, in his book Meteorology, the existence of a landmass in the southern high-latitude region and called it Antarctica.[188] Aristoteles is a crater on the Moon bearing the classical form of Aristotle's name.[189]

See also



  1. ^ That these dates (the first half of the Olympiad year 384/383 BC, and in 322 shortly before the death of Demosthenes) are correct was shown by August Boeckh (Kleine Schriften VI 195); for further discussion, see Felix Jacoby on FGrHist 244 F 38. Ingemar Düring, Aristotle in the Ancient Biographical Tradition, Göteborg, 1957,p. 253
  2. ^ See Shields 2012, pp. 3–16; Düring 1957 covers ancient biographies of Aristotle.
  3. ^ This type of syllogism, with all three terms in 'a', is known by the traditional (medieval) mnemonic Barbara.[28]
  4. ^ M is the Middle (here, Men), S is the Subject (Greeks), P is the Predicate (mortal).[28]
  5. ^ The first equation can be read as 'It is not true that there exists an x such that x is a man and that x is not mortal.'[29]
  6. ^ Rhett Allain notes that Newton's First Law is "essentially a direct reply to Aristotle, that the natural state is not to change motion.[44]
  7. ^ Leonard Susskind comments that Aristotle had clearly never gone ice skating or he would have seen that it takes force to stop an object.[46]
  8. ^ For heavenly bodies like the Sun, Moon, and stars, the observed motions are "to a very good approximation" circular around the Earth's centre, (for example, the apparent rotation of the sky because of the rotation of the Earth, and the rotation of the moon around the Earth) as Aristotle stated.[47]
  9. ^ Drabkin quotes numerous passages from Physics and On the Heavens (De Caelo) which state Aristotle's laws of motion.[45]
  10. ^ Drabkin agrees that density is treated quantitatively in this passage, but without a sharp definition of density as weight per unit volume.[45]
  11. ^ Philoponus and Galileo correctly objected that for the transient phase (still increasing in speed) with heavy objects falling a short distance, the law does not apply: Galileo used balls on a short incline to show this. Rovelli notes that "Two heavy balls with the same shape and different weight do fall at different speeds from an aeroplane, confirming Aristotle's theory, not Galileo's."[47]
  12. ^ For a different reading of social and economic processes in the Nicomachean Ethics and Politics see Polanyi, Karl (1957) "Aristotle Discovers the Economy" in Primitive, Archaic and Modern Economies: Essays of Karl Polanyi ed. G. Dalton, Boston 1971, 78–115.
  13. ^ "Where, as among the Lacedaemonians, the state of women is bad, almost half of human life is spoilt."[129]
  14. ^ "When the Roman dictator Sulla invaded Athens in 86 BC, he brought back to Rome a fantastic prize – Aristotle's library. Books then were papyrus rolls, from 10 to 20 feet long, and since Aristotle's death in 322 BC, worms and damp had done their worst. The rolls needed repairing, and the texts clarifying and copying on to new papyrus (imported from Egypt – Moses' bulrushes). The man in Rome who put Aristotle's library in order was a Greek scholar, Tyrannio."[174]
  15. ^ Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics 1102a26–27. Aristotle himself never uses the term "esoteric" or "acroamatic". For other passages where Aristotle speaks of exōterikoi logoi, see W.D. Ross, Aristotle's Metaphysics (1953), vol. 2 pp= 408–10. Ross defends an interpretation according to which the phrase, at least in Aristotle's own works, usually refers generally to "discussions not peculiar to the Peripatetic school", rather than to specific works of Aristotle's own.
  16. ^ "veniet flumen orationis aureum fundens Aristoteles", (Google translation: "Aristotle will come pouring forth a golden stream of eloquence").[178]
  17. ^ Compare the medieval tale of Phyllis and Alexander above.


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Further reading

The secondary literature on Aristotle is vast. The following is only a small selection.

  • Ackrill, J. L. (1997). Essays on Plato and Aristotle, Oxford University Press.
  • Ackrill, J.L. (1981). Aristotle the Philosopher. Oxford University Press.
  • Adler, Mortimer J. (1978). Aristotle for Everybody. Macmillan.
  • Ammonius (1991). Cohen, S. Marc; Matthews, Gareth B (eds.). On Aristotle's Categories. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-2688-9.
  • Aristotle (1908–1952). The Works of Aristotle Translated into English Under the Editorship of W.D. Ross, 12 vols. Clarendon Press. These translations are available in several places online; see External links.
  • Bakalis, Nikolaos. (2005). Handbook of Greek Philosophy: From Thales to the Stoics Analysis and Fragments, Trafford Publishing, ISBN 978-1412048439.
  • Bocheński, I. M. (1951). Ancient Formal Logic. North-Holland.
  • Bolotin, David (1998). An Approach to Aristotle's Physics: With Particular Attention to the Role of His Manner of Writing. Albany: SUNY Press. A contribution to our understanding of how to read Aristotle's scientific works.
  • Burnyeat, Myles F. et al. (1979). Notes on Book Zeta of Aristotle's Metaphysics. Oxford: Sub-faculty of Philosophy.
  • Cantor, Norman F.; Klein, Peter L., eds. (1969). Ancient Thought: Plato and Aristotle. Monuments of Western Thought. 1. Blaisdell.
  • Chappell, V. (1973). "Aristotle's Conception of Matter". Journal of Philosophy. 70 (19): 679–96. doi:10.2307/2025076. JSTOR 2025076.
  • Code, Alan (1995). Potentiality in Aristotle's Science and Metaphysics, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 76.
  • Cohen, S. Marc; Reeve, C. D. C. (21 November 2020). "Aristotle's Metaphysics". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2020 ed.).
  • Ferguson, John (1972). Aristotle. Twayne Publishers.
  • De Groot, Jean (2014). Aristotle's Empiricism: Experience and Mechanics in the 4th century BC, Parmenides Publishing, ISBN 978-1930972834.
  • Frede, Michael (1987). Essays in Ancient Philosophy. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Fuller, B.A.G. (1923). Aristotle. History of Greek Philosophy. 3. Cape.
  • Gendlin, Eugene T. (2012). Line by Line Commentary on Aristotle's De Anima Archived 27 March 2017 at the Wayback Machine, Volume 1: Books I & II; Volume 2: Book III. The Focusing Institute.
  • Gill, Mary Louise (1989). Aristotle on Substance: The Paradox of Unity. Princeton University Press.
  • Guthrie, W.K.C. (1981). A History of Greek Philosophy. 6. Cambridge University Press.
  • Halper, Edward C. (2009). One and Many in Aristotle's Metaphysics, Volume 1: Books Alpha – Delta. Parmenides Publishing. ISBN 978-1930972216.
  • Halper, Edward C. (2005). One and Many in Aristotle's Metaphysics, Volume 2: The Central Books. Parmenides Publishing. ISBN 978-1930972056.
  • Irwin, Terence H. (1988). Aristotle's First Principles (PDF). Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0198242905.
  • Jaeger, Werner (1948). Robinson, Richard (ed.). Aristotle: Fundamentals of the History of His Development (2nd ed.). Clarendon Press.
  • Jori, Alberto (2003). Aristotele, Bruno Mondadori (Prize 2003 of the "International Academy of the History of Science"), ISBN 978-8842497370.
  • Kiernan, Thomas P., ed. (1962). Aristotle Dictionary. Philosophical Library.
  • Knight, Kelvin (2007). Aristotelian Philosophy: Ethics and Politics from Aristotle to MacIntyre, Polity Press.
  • Lewis, Frank A. (1991). Substance and Predication in Aristotle. Cambridge University Press.
  • Lord, Carnes (1984). Introduction to The Politics, by Aristotle. Chicago University Press.
  • Loux, Michael J. (1991). Primary Ousia: An Essay on Aristotle's Metaphysics Ζ and Η. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
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