Contribution Of Plato And Aristotle

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One of the Western world’s most influential figures was a man named Aristotle – a Greek philosopher who lived between 384 and 322 B.C. (Cohen, S. M., Curd P., & C, Reeve, C.D., 2005, pp. 645-646) – whose works have shaped Western society. Wilson (2003), commenting upon the impact of one of Aristotle’s books, says, “His Nicomachean Ethics has had a major influence in Western moral philosophy” (chapter 27, para. 12). But Aristotle is more than just a philosopher whose impact is confined to the secular world of theoretical inquiry, he has also helped to shape much religious thought as well. In fact, Aristotle has touched numerous and diverse areas of excogitation such as politics, metaphysics, and poetry, to name just a few (Smith, 1870, Vol. 1, pp. 321–325).
During the first few centuries after the time of Christ, Aristotle, along with his teacher Plato, were important figures among Christians (Anthony & Benson, 2003, p. 112). Certainly, some Christians rejected wholesale the use of Greek philosophies, but the fact remains that without an understanding of Greek philosophy the church fathers are unintelligible (Reynolds, 2009, pp. 9, 17).
While it is true that both Plato and Aristotle were important figures in the early years of the Christian church, ultimately Aristotle lost sway over the minds of many and Plato ended up taking center stage. Platonism became the dominant philosophical paradigm for the church in the West from, roughly, Augustine to Aquinas (Reynolds 2009, p.
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