142 Aristotle quotes

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. Along with his teacher Plato, he has been called the “Father of Western Philosophy”.

His writings cover many subjects – including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theatre, music, rhetoric, psychology, linguistics, economics, politics and government.

Aristotle quotes part 1

At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.

The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.

A true friend is one soul in two bodies.

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.

No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness.

In making a speech one must study three points: first, the means of producing persuasion; second, the language; third the proper arrangement of the various parts of the speech.

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

The secret to humor is surprise.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Probable impossibilities are to be preferred to improbable possibilities.

Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers.

Fear is pain arising from the anticipation of evil.

He who can be, and therefore is, another’s, and he who participates in reason enough to apprehend, but not to have, is a slave by nature.

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

Bring your desires down to your present means. Increase them only when your increased means permit.

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

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

The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.

It is clearly better that property should be private, but the use of it common; and the special business of the legislator is to create in men this benevolent disposition.

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

Democracy arises out of the notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects; because men are equally free, they claim to be absolutely equal.

Men create gods after their own image, not only with regard to their form but with regard to their mode of life.

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

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

The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.

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.

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

In a democracy the poor will have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme.

Bad men are full of repentance.

Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always to remain unaltered.

Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim.

A friend to all is a friend to none.

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.

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

Of all the varieties of virtues, liberalism is the most beloved.

Men are swayed more by fear than by reverence.

If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in government to the utmost.

All men by nature desire knowledge.

Well begun is half done.

Perfect friendship is the friendship of men who are good, and alike in excellence; for these wish well alike to each other qua good, and they are good in themselves.

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

The beginning of reform is not so much to equalize property as to train the noble sort of natures not to desire more, and to prevent the lower from getting more.

For as the eyes of bats are to the blaze of day, so is the reason in our soul to the things which are by nature most evident of all.

Most people would rather give than get affection.

Politicians also have no leisure, because they are always aiming at something beyond political life itself, power and glory, or happiness.

Hope is a waking dream.

The young are permanently in a state resembling intoxication.

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

Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.

There was never a genius without a tincture of madness.

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

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.

The gods too are fond of a joke.

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

There is no great genius without a mixture of madness.

To run away from trouble is a form of cowardice and, while it is true that the suicide braves death, he does it not for some noble object but to escape some ill.

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

Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.

A sense is what has the power of receiving into itself the sensible forms of things without the matter, in the way in which a piece of wax takes on the impress of a signet-ring without the iron or gold.

We must no more ask whether the soul and body are one than ask whether the wax and the figure impressed on it are one.

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.

Wit is educated insolence.

Hence poetry is something more philosophic and of graver import than history, since its statements are rather of the nature of universals, whereas those of history are singulars.

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

A great city is not to be confounded with a populous one.

The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes.

Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.

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.

Both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms.

Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.

The moral virtues, then, are produced in us neither by nature nor against nature. Nature, indeed, prepares in us the ground for their reception, but their complete formation is the product of habit.

Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them.

For though we love both the truth and our friends, piety requires us to honor the truth first.

The law is reason, free from passion.

Aristotle quotes part 2

Man is by nature a political animal.

All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.

What the statesman is most anxious to produce is a certain moral character in his fellow citizens, namely a disposition to virtue and the performance of virtuous actions.

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

Republics decline into democracies and democracies degenerate into despotisms.

It is best to rise from life as from a banquet, neither thirsty nor drunken.

No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness.

It is Homer who has chiefly taught other poets the art of telling lies skillfully.

Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is truth.

We become just by performing just action, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave action.

In nine cases out of ten, a woman had better show more affection than she feels.

Personal beauty is a greater recommendation than any letter of reference.

The soul never thinks without a picture.

Jealousy is both reasonable and belongs to reasonable men, while envy is base and belongs to the base, for the one makes himself get good things by jealousy, while the other does not allow his neighbour to have them through envy.

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

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.

Nature does nothing in vain.

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.

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

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

Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.

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

Thou wilt find rest from vain fancies if thou doest every act in life as though it were thy last.

Quality is not an act, it is a habit.

Youth is easily deceived because it is quick to hope.

Piety requires us to honor truth above our friends.

He who hath many friends hath none.

We make war that we may live in peace.

All virtue is summed up in dealing justly.

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.

A constitution is the arrangement of magistracies in a state.

If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is nature’s way.

Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.

Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.

Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.

It is not once nor twice but times without number that the same ideas make their appearance in the world.

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.

He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god.

Homer has taught all other poets the art of telling lies skillfully.

No one loves the man whom he fears.

Bashfulness is an ornament to youth, but a reproach to old age.

Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.

Change in all things is sweet.

Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.

Friendship is essentially a partnership.

We praise a man who feels angry on the right grounds and against the right persons and also in the right manner at the right moment and for the right length of time.

Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own.

Education is the best provision for old age.

The end of labor is to gain leisure.

It is unbecoming for young men to utter maxims.

Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.

The energy of the mind is the essence of life.

Temperance is a mean with regard to pleasures.

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

Therefore, the good of man must be the end of the science of politics.

Misfortune shows those who are not really friends.

The whole is more than the sum of its parts.

It is just that we should be grateful, not only to those with whose views we may agree, but also to those who have expressed more superficial views; for these also contributed something, by developing before us the powers of thought.

Hope is the dream of a waking man.

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

No one would choose a friendless existence on condition of having all the other things in the world.

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

Happiness depends upon ourselves.

A tragedy is a representation of an action that is whole and complete and of a certain magnitude. A whole is what has a beginning and middle and end.

Courage is a mean with regard to fear and confidence.

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.