Compare and Contrast the Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle

The Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle

Plato and Aristotle are the most famous philosophers who made a great contribution to the world`s political and philosophical thought. Some of their views were quite similar and the others – totally opposite. The following paper will explore the common, as well as different features in the philosophers` beliefs.


Plato was a great thinker, penetrating the entire world of philosophical science by his spiritual threads. The scientist was in love with philosophy: all his life was the expression of his views. Aristotle was Plato's student, but he disagreed with his teacher on a number of fundamental issues. It is in the writings of Aristotle, the philosophical thought of ancient Greece reached the peak. The views of the philosopher that incorporated the achievements of ancient science created an ambitious system of scientific and philosophical knowledge in its depth, subtlety, and scale.

Compare and Contrast the Philosophy Ideas

As for the similarities of their works, it should be noted that both scientists worked with the same philosophical categories. No wonder, Aristotle was Plato`s follower, and he borrowed some of his ideas. Also, they had similar views on the society and state. Both Plato and Aristotle emphasize the political freedom that consists of the right to rule and be ruled, and individual liberty that consists of the right to do as one likes (Roberts & Sutch, 2012). Both philosophers did not advocate the democracy.

However, at the same time, their views have the quite serious divergence. First and foremost, Aristotle considered the human soul as the energy or shape. For Aristotle, the soul is the substantial form that identifies a thing to be living (Williams & Burnyeat, 2008). Aristotle believed that the soul was a way of organizing of the living body, and it existed inseparably with the body. On the contrary, Plato opined that the soul was the essence, an independent entity, which was contained in the human body but existed apart from it.

Aristotle argued that human soul could not exist without a body; it would die together with the biological body. Comparatively, Plato stated that the soul could exist without the body. When the body dies, the soul returns to space and continues its life. As for the soul types, Aristotle distinguished three of them. The first one – the vegetative soul – is the lowest form, which includes nutrition and growth of the creature; the second one is the animal soul that is able to perceive. Such a soul can distinguish between good and bad, and hence tends to good and tries to avoid the bad.

According to Aristotle, all the mental functions originate from the second stage. The third one, the rational soul, is inherent to man. It has a mind that is the highest power of the soul. The reason is capable of understanding and good. Knowing what the good is, the mind is able to control the will. Plato divided the souls to corrupted and uncorrupted ones.

Plato considered essence as an idea while Aristotle believed that essence was neither idea, nor matter, but at the same time, they are the elements of substance. For Plato, idea is the central category, it is something perfect. The theoretical content of the idea is logical and metaphysical by nature. Aristotle does not consider the idea as a central, separate category, however, believes in its existence. Unlike Plato, Aristotle liked experimentation.

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In conclusion, it should be said that Aristotle`s and Plato`s influence on the world`s philosophy is enormous, and their teachings can be traced in all areas of spiritual and scientific life for many years. Their philosophical systems have found many followers up to the present time; the ideas they expressed are reflected in the works of later philosophers. Aristotle`s views are more realistic than Plato`s ones; he believed that Plato's theory of ideas is quite insufficient to explain the empirical reality; he sought to overcome Plato`s gap between the world of sensible things and the world of ideas.

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