Aristotle of Stagira


Without a doubt, the single-most influential thinker in the history of the world, Aristotle (384–322 BC) encapsulates the genius of ancient Athens. Student of Plato, the Stagirite advanced his own common sense philosophy grounded in rational observation on nature. Thomas Jefferson mentioned Aristotle as one of the principal influences on the deliberations that preceded the writing of the Declaration of Independence.

A Philosophical Description of God

Using reason alone, Aristotle gives us an absolutely remarkable description of God. The Divine Being causes the motion of the world through Mind, drawing all things to perfection through the desire for what is good.

The Acquisition of the Virtues

Aristotle's writings on ethics remain as accurate and insightful as when he first put stylus to wax. We are not born with virtues or vices, but acquire habits of good or bad conduct through our own free choices.

The Source of Human Happiness

The greatest degree of happiness derives from the cultivation of mind. The moral virtues also produce happiness in us, but they depend somewhat on what is beyond our control. True happiness is self-sufficient.

Reflections on Constitutional Government

The state is natural because it has its foundation in nature. The good of the state precedes the good of its individual members. Under constitutional government, the virtuous learn how to rule through obedience.