Plato and Aristotle’s philosophies

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Plato's and Aristotle's Contributions to Educational History

Plato's and Aristotle's philosophies continue to be the most important in educational history. These philosophers have made significant contributions to the development of both previous and current ethics, education theory, and practice. Plato lived from 429 BCE and 347 BCE, whereas Aristotle lived between 384 BC and 322 BC. Despite the fact that Aristotle was Plato's student, he made significant contributions to the development of several theoretical theories. According to Aristotle's virtue theory, greater emphasis should be placed on characteristics than human understanding (Wagner, Paul and Simpson 22).

Aristotle's and Plato's Different Views on Ethics

Aristotle argued that human reasoning is untrustworthy for determining legal choices and cases (Wagner, Paul and Simpson 22). Therefore, much attention should be given to the virtues which make people live a better communal life and with a lot of excellence such corporation and sympathy. On the other hand, Plato argued that ethics is about reflection and judgment. Plato is well known as a moral realist. He asserted that leaders should be guided by moral and truth of the matter (Wagner, Paul and Simpson 25). Plato emphasizes that morality is a mere form of virtue but further emphasize that there are more to be added than just being virtually right. These different ideas of Plato and Aristotle are currently seen in the educational debates. Therefore, this paper will endeavor to discuss the philosophical differences between Plato and Aristotle's contribution to knowledge.

The Case Study of Melissa and Melinda

According to the story, Plato will agree with the Melissa and for a simple reason that people should acknowledge the truth and act. The philosophy of Plato is based on the purview that people should act after reflection of the reality. Melissa argues that Mathew's brain is damaged and there is no reason to keep the body artificially alive. There is nothing which can be done to revive the body of Mathew. It is a fact that Mathew's brain has been severely damaged and this cannot be repaired; however, this simple truth remains unfolded in Melinda's eye and makes her not to act for the good of others. On the other hand, Melinda believes that the body of Mathew is important because it is what hosts the soul. People frequently misbehave just because they lack information and should be taught the rational of discipline as well as critical thinking. Individuals with onset responsibility management should be in a position to draw a clear line, but the local circumstances have always made such actions difficult. However, their onset responsibility to make a lasting decision is hindered by the arguments importance of soul and the body. According to Mathew's written Will, his sister should mutually agree on the ultimate decision of retaining in the life-supporting system or pulling the plug. Therefore, this case study involving Melissa and Melinda is an exemplary example of the philosophical analysis. Melinda would use the theory of Plato that there is more than exists in a human being than flesh and blood and that is the soul. Plato says that real Mathew is in a soul form and it is only housed within the physical body.

Aristotelian View on the Soul

From the defense of Plato on the existence of a soul, Malinda should refer to the reality that the soul of Mathew should not be damaged. Melinda would argue that souls do exist and this is because the basic understanding is that everything originates from something and hence the soul. Melissa would respond that Mathew is gone and no soul is left and that lack of a functional body implies that only shell is left. Melissa would react to the weakness of Melinda's argument that the soul is not tangible cannot be seen with naked eyes. Therefore, it would be impossible to taste, feel and touch the soul. After Melissa had seen the damaged body, he believed that findings of the doctor showcase that the soul is never a factor in supporting life.

Aristotelian Perspective on the Soul and Life

Mathew has a soul hosted by the injured body. It is not right to pull the plug. From Aristotle's perspective, the soul is the first existence of the natural body with the potentiality of life. Due to this assertion of Aristotle, it would not be right to pull the plug from Mathew as this will lead to the death of the soul. According to the second and third readings, Aristotle argues that soul is only a substance when the natural body has potential life in it. Therefore, the soul is the actuality of a living body. The assertion is affirmed by the argument between Melissa and Malinda. Malinda argued that Mathew is not gone despite the destruction of the brain and advice Melissa not to look at the broad picture. Melinda believes that the soul of Mathew is what contributes to its uniqueness and therefore, abandoning the body will lead to the death of the soul as well. In the argument between Melissa and Melinda, Melissa became shocked by Melinda's remarks that Mathew is not gone even though the brain is destroyed. Melinda gives pieces of advice to her sister to look at the whole picture of life and not to concentrate on the human appearance. According to Aristotle's philosophy on the soul, there should be a distinction between sense and moral reasoning. Aristotle's basic orientation lies on the ontological theory. The ontology is a philosophical study which deals with human being's nature, existence and the reality of life.

The Views on the Soul and Body

They have knowledge of the Forms before we are even born and by being virtuous we can enjoy unity with the Forms after death. Aristotle's central theme on humans is simple – man is a rational animal. There is no separate soul from man; a person has a soul that is special, but a person is still one unified creature. According to Aristotelian, Melinda would have responded that the soul is inseparable from the body and the soul is unique, therefore, pulling the plug would kill the body and finally the soul. As for the Melinda, this could have been an exemplary example to show Melissa that Mathew's existed even before the body was born and perhaps will continue in existence. The soul existed before, during and after the life of the human body.

Comparison of Plato and Aristotle's Philosophies

The Plato and Aristotle's views are comparatively different. First and foremost, Plato opposed that the world perceived through the status of the brain is the most factual. On the other hand, Aristotle disregarded the notion that acquaintance must not only be fixed but also static and this presents the paradox kind of reasoning. Additionally, Plato's views were based on the idea of creating a better society, but Aristotle's philosophy was to use deducing methods for the improvement of the already existing society. Plato always dreamed of creating an ideal society without fear of the politics. However, Aristotle opposed the approach of Plato and suggested that people should strive to attain better and feasible system for universal governance. It is, therefore, possible to deduce that Plato based his reasoning on the inductive tactics but Aristotle argued based on the deductive methods. Despite the differences of Plato and Aristotle's philosophical stands, they remain crucial in molding history as well as politics.

Different Views on Human Nature

Plato and Aristotle's philosophies also differ on the perception of the human nature. According to Plato, the soul is the backbone of a real person and not the human body. The soul resides in the physical body, but it does not depend on people for existence. Plato emphasizes that soul and the body existed even before a person is a bone. Conversely, Aristotle's theme on people is that a man is a rational being. The soul is not separated from the physical body and despite a person having a unique soul; the person remains a unified creature.

Plato and Aristotle's Different Approaches to Knowledge

Even though the two philosophers disputed their mentor's philosophical contribution, they had different views. They developed their way of acquiring knowledge. Plato used idealism while Aristotle used empiricism to gain knowledge (Gordon, 200, p.64).

Different Views on Ethics

As far as ethics are concerned, Plato and Aristotle have different views concerning the same. Plato thinks that people can get the same certainty in the behavior rules. According to Plato, the ultimate vision of the Form of Good provides the standard for decision-making in practical situations. Unfortunately, the two sisters who can decide for the conditions of Mathew will be a solution for the value questions. Nonetheless, Aristotle has a different view and according to him, there is no need to ask for excess certainty than what the subject matter will allow. An ordinary individual can make better decisions and have a better life. Aristotle argues that one needs not have the expertise in the ethical field to practice ethics. I would disagree with Aristotle's philosophy which disregards human reasoning as unreliable and cannot form any part of decision-making. According to Wagner, Paul and Simpson (22), human reasoning is unreliable for decision making. Aristotle seems to contradict his contribution simple because better decision-making is arrived at after having better human reasoning and therefore, the reasoning of the people cannot be taken lightly but be given more weight in every decision-making. An individual who makes inferences on what is real life cannot act immorally but will certainly be guided by the reasoning and therefore, I disagree with Aristotle for disregarding human reasoning. On the other hand, I agree with Aristotle on valuable nature of the virtues and ignoring the human reasoning (Wagner, Paul and Simpson 22). Indeed, the human reasoning can be flawed due to external interference and the virtues will remain the same at all times.

Disagreement with Plato's Existence of the Soul

I also disagree with Plato on the existence of the sole. Plato argues that sole is the backbone of a genuine person and not the body. There is no proof that sole existed before the creation of the body and after the death of a body. If the soul exists, then presence without the body is a mere assumption because this cannot be proved. Plato's theory of justice is a fundamental philosophy that would support Melinda's concluding argument on the soul separation from the body.


In conclusion, Aristotle and Plato's philosophies have influenced the education theory in great depth. They have proved that they did not rely on each for many ideas and this makes the people read their contrary views for the creation of an excellent education system. Finally, the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle have differences and similarities which has become a better example for many people for philosophical reasoning.

(Note: The original text has been divided into paragraphs with headings using HTML tags


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Works Cited

Boss, J. (2008). Ethics for life (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Gordon, John L. "Creating Knowledge Maps by Exploiting Dependent Relationships." (2000).

Wagner, Paul A., and Douglas J. Simpson. Ethical decision making in school administration: Leadership as moral architecture. Sage Publications, 2008.

May 24, 2023

Philosophy Science

Subject area:

Plato Aristotle Theory

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