Compiled by Anthony Harrison-Barbet
THE CLASSICAL PERIOD: PLATO AND ARISTOTLE
The classical period was the high point of
ancient Greek philosophy. The
philosophies of Plato and Aristotle combined acute analysis with comprehensive
synthesis of the thought of their predecessors. At the same time their thinking was highly
original and covered a wide range of philosophical speculation in
epistemology, metaphysics, psychology (that is, concerning the 'mind' or
'soul'), ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics (and Aristotle was also
to all intents and purposes the founder of logic). While their writings were in a sense systematic, neither Plato nor Aristotle
produced a 'full-blown' system as such; their thought was constantly in flux,
undergoing changes as ideas were worked out and developed. Both philosophers came to influence
profoundly later philosophy (and theology) down to at least the sixteenth
century. Their writings have also been
the object of intense scholarly study in the modern era particularly by
philosophers working in the so-called linguistic/analytic tradition.
A. H. Armstrong, An Introduction to Ancient Philosophy.
T. H. Irwin, Classical Thought.
(ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Greek and Roman Philosophy.
Individual reading lists for Plato
and Aristotle will be found at the end of the respective Profile.