Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Aristotelians Versus Platonists

It is a tradition to regard the Aristotle and Plato as the two opposite poles of philosophy. Plato is idealistic, utopian, other-worldly, whereas Aristotle is realistic, practical, commonsensical. 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge has nicely articulated this traditional view in a passage of his Table Talk, dated 2nd July, 1830: 
Every man is born an Aristotelian or a Platonist. I do not think it possible that anyone born an Aristotelian can become a Platonist, and I am sure no born Platonist can change into an Aristotelian. They are the two classes of men, besides which it is next to impossible to conceive a third. The one considers reason a quality, or attribute; the other considers it a power. I believe that Aristotle never could get to understand what Plato meant by an "idea." 

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