Selective Focus Photography of Aristotle's Metaphysics Book Photo

60+ Philosophical Aristotle Quotes on Friendship, Free Will, and Thought

Although the true events of his life are commonly debated, it is said that the great Greek philosopher, Aristotle, was born in 384 BCE in Stagira, northwest of Greece. Known as the father of Western philosophy, he began his career in 367 BCE by studying, researching, and teaching at Plato’s Academy in Athens. Over the twenty years Aristotle spent in Athens, he explored his love for philosophy while drafting some of his first works and developing a friendship with Plato. However, after Plato’s death, Aristotle had to abandon his home in Athens for fear that he was in political danger from being “too friendly” with the Macedonians.

At the age of 38, he found a new home in Asia Minor where he gained many friends and married Hermias’ sister, Pythias. Together they bore two children, a daughter named after her mother and a son named Nicomachus. A few years later near 334 BCE, Aristotle decided to return to Athens once more to continue his work. His next twelve years were spent working at Lyceum, a gymnasium that was open to all, while giving public lectures, organizing research opportunities, and revising his earlier works. Much to his dismay, in 323 BCE, Aristotle fled Athens once more for fear of being charged with anti-Macedonian intrigue and suspicion of impiety (the sentence that killed Socrates).

Aristotle’s later years were spent at this mother’s home in Chalcis where he eventually died of an illness at the age of 62 in 322 BCE. As per his wishes, he was buried next to his wife Pythias, leaving behind an incredible legacy of knowledge, thought, and philosophy that is still discussed today. Uncover a brilliant Aristotle quote below for Aristotle’s philosophy and wisdom is renowned by all.

Aristotle Quotes

Aristotle Quotes on Philosophy, Government, and Knowledge

“Philosophy is the science which considers truth.”

“I have gained this from philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law.”

“The virtue of justice consists in moderation, as regulated by wisdom.”

“At his best, man is the noblest of all animals. Separated from law and justice, he is the worst.”

“The difference between a learned man and an ignorant one is the same as that between a living man and a corpse.”

“Different men seek after happiness in different ways and by different means, and so make for themselves different modes of life and forms of government.”

“The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching.”

“To write well, express yourself like common people, but think like a wise man. Or, think as wise men do, but speak as the common people do.”

“The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.”

“All men by nature desire knowledge.”

“The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living from the dead.”

“Man is by nature a political animal.”

“The high-minded man must care more for the truth than for what people think.”

“Inferiors revolt in order that they may be equal, and equals that they may be superior. Such is the state of mind which creates revolutions.”

“He who is to be a good ruler must have first been ruled.”

“Obstinate people can be divided into the opinionated, the ignorant, and the boorish.”

Aristotle Quotes on Friendship and Love

“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.”

“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”

“No one loves the man whom he fears.”

“For one swallow does not make a summer, nor does one day; and so too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and happy.”

“My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake.”

“Wicked men obey from fear; good men, from love.”

“Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.”

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

“In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. The young they keep out of mischief; to the old, they are a comfort and aid in their weakness, and those in the prime of life they incite to noble deeds.”

“Misfortune shows those who are not really friends.”

“The greatest virtues are those which are most useful to other persons.”

“Most people would rather give than get affection.”

“Piety requires us to honor truth above our friends.”

Wise Aristotle Quotes on Life, Free Will, and Self-Awareness

“Excellence, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean, relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it.”

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

“Each man judges well the things he knows.”

“Man is a goal-seeking animal. His life only has meaning if he is reaching out and striving for his goals.”

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”

“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”

“Happiness is the settling of the soul into its most appropriate spot.”

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim, and end of human existence.”

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”

“Fear is pain arising from the anticipation of evil.”

“Men are swayed more by fear than by reverence.”

“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.”

“You will never do anything in the world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind, next to honor.”

“Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind.”

“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.”

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

“Those who excel in virtue have the best right of all to rebel, but then they are of all men the least inclined to do so.”

“Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.”

“Hope is a waking dream.”

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

“Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal and history only the particular.”

“Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting in a particular way.”

“Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate actions, brave by doing brave acts.”

“The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.”

“The energy of the mind is the essence of life.”

“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”

“Change in all things is sweet.”

“Probable impossibilities are to be preferred to improbable possibilities.”

“What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.”

“It is possible to fail in many ways… while to succeed is possible in only one way.”

“It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.”

Major Works by Aristotle for Further Reading

Discover more insightful sayings from the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle by reading his various works.

More Quotes:

About the author
Katee is a lover of language and is in awe of the power it holds. Read more articles from Katee on Thought Catalog.

Learn more about Thought Catalog and our writers on our about page.

Related