Selective Focus Photography of Aristotle's Metaphysics Book Photo

90+ Best Philosophical Aristotle Quotes

Aristotle, best known as the Father of Western Philosophy, was a Greek philosopher during the Classical period of Ancient Greece. He focused on logic, metaphysics, ethics, political theory, philosophy of the mind, and so much more. He is considered one of the greatest philosophers of all time. His words and his insight on the world in which we live is unmatched. Here are some of the best Aristotle quotes that changed Western history forever.

Aristotle: Biography

The ancient great Greek philosopher, Aristotle, was born in 384 BCE in Stagira, northwest of Greece. However, his life’s true events are often commonly debated. 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. He also drafted some of his first works and developed a friendship with Plato. However, after Plato’s death, Aristotle abandoned his home in Athens, fearing 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, giving public lectures, organizing research opportunities, and revising his earlier works. Much to his dismay, in 323 BCE, Aristotle fled Athens once more. He feared he would be 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. He died of an illness at the age of 62 in 322 BCE and was buried next to his wife Pythias. He left 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 about Philosophy and Humans

“Philosophy is the science which considers truth.” -Aristotle

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

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

“All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire.” -Aristotle

“It was through the feeling of wonder that men now and at first began to philosophize.” -Aristotle

“Memory is the scribe of the soul.” -Aristotle

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

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

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

“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.” -Aristotle

“So it is naturally with the male and the female; the one is superior, the other inferior; the one governs, the other is governed, and the same rule must necessarily hold good with respect to all mind.” -Aristotle

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Aristotle Quotes on Evil and Wrongdoings

“Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.” -Aristotle

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

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.” -Aristotle

“Every rascal is not a thief, but every thief is a rascal.” -Aristotle

“The generality of men are naturally apt to be swayed by fear rather than reverence, and to refrain from evil rather because of the punishment that it brings than because of its own foulness.” -Aristotle

“No notice is taken of a little evil, but when it increases, it strikes the eye.” -Aristotle

“Evil draws men together.” -Aristotle

“We must as second best, as people say, take the least of the evils.” -Aristotle

“It is our choice of good or evil that determines our character, not our opinion about good or evil.” -Aristotle

“There is only one good, that is knowledge; there is only one evil, that is ignorance.” -Aristotle

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Aristotle Quotes on Government and Power

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

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

“Man is, by nature, a political animal.” -Aristotle

“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.” -Aristotle

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

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

“Democracy arose from men’s thinking that if they are equal in any respect, they are equal absolutely.” -Aristotle

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

“Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them.” -Aristotle

“He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander.” -Aristotle

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Aristotle Quotes on Learning and Wisdom

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

“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.” -Aristotle

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

“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.” -Aristotle

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

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” -Aristotle

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

“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.” -Aristotle

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

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

“All men, by nature, desire knowledge.” -Aristotle

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

“All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth.” -Aristotle

“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” -Aristotle

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Aristotle Quotes on Friendship and Love

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

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

“No one loves the man whom he fears.” -Aristotle

“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.” -Aristotle

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

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

“Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.” -Aristotle

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

“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.” -Aristotle

“A friend to all is a friend to none.” -Aristotle

“Misfortune shows those who are not really friends.” -Aristotle

“Friends hold a mirror up to each other; through that mirror they can see each other in ways that would not otherwise be accessible to them, and it is this mirroring that helps them improve themselves as persons.” -Aristotle

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

“Most people would rather give than get affection.” -Aristotle

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

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Wise Aristotle Quotes on Life and Free Will

“Change in all things is sweet.” -Aristotle

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

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

“Choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”  -Aristotle

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

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

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

“Each man judges well the things he knows.” -Aristotle

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

“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.” -Aristotle

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

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

“Character is that which reveals moral purpose, exposing the class of things a man chooses or avoids.” -Aristotle

“They — Young People have exalted notions because they have not been humbled by life or learned its necessary limitations; moreover, their hopeful disposition makes them think themselves equal to great things — and that means having exalted notions. They would always rather do noble deeds than useful ones: Their lives are regulated more by moral feeling than by reasoning — all their mistakes are in the direction of doing things excessively and vehemently. They overdo everything — they love too much, hate too much, and the same with everything else.” – Aristotle

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Aristotle Quotes on Self-Awareness

“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.” -Aristotle

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

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

“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.” -Aristotle

“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.” -Aristotle

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

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

“The wise man does not expose himself needlessly to danger, since there are few things for which he cares sufficiently; but he is willing, in great crises, to give even his life–knowing that under certain conditions it is not worthwhile to live.” -Aristotle

“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.” -Aristotle

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Aristotle Quotes On Happiness and Beauty

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

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

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” -Aristotle

“Great men are always of nature originally melancholy.” -Aristotle

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

“Hope is a waking dream.” -Aristotle

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

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.” -Aristotle

“Happiness is an expression of the soul in considered actions.” -Aristotle

“Nature does nothing uselessly.” -Aristotle

“The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.” -Aristotle

Major Works by Aristotle for Further Reading

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

More Quotes:

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