Aristotle and Darwin: A Comparison

Aristotle‘s approach to life was one of observation and precise thought. His concerns were ethical, and yet he understood that humans were very unpredictable. He was realistic in terms of human behavior, but he also offered that a thinking man who understood himself as well as his environment, would be more upright, or ethical. Aristotle searched himself. As in, he concerned himself with his own thinking. Aristotle was a true man of science and studied in a variety of areas including biology, zoology and government. He was very thorough in his research.

Aristotle reasoned that the universe had “no beginning and no end”. Aristotle’s concerns were with the natural world around him and how it functioned. He was a gatherer of knowledge and he was a teacher.

Like Darwin, Aristotle was the son of a physician. Aristotle did not include himself or other human beings in the animal category. His philosophy was one of understanding the physical world, self introspection and educating others.

It was Charles Darwin, who, after neglecting his medical studies, having been distracted by other concerns, like the life cycle of marine invertibrates, found himself invited to join others who thought like he did. He was fascinated with evolutionary ideas.  (For myself, in college, the distraction was the cell and how cancer formed and the various ways in which the cell could be super improved-to my detriment-I failed and am now banned from returning.)

Charles Darwin looked at the world around him and reasoned that there was much more to the great mysteries of the earth and the life which dwells there. His concern was in gathering knowledge, much like Aristotle had before him. However, Darwin reasoned that there was a link between all life. The genetic link.

Where Aristotle saw the less intellectually endowed as common slaves, Darwin, upon encountering those in a less enlightened condition, saw them as proof of evolution. But these were not derogatory conclusions. They were the conclusions of men, comparing themselves to others, which in the human realm is quite normal and their observances were scientific rather than socially motivated.

Darwin had ties to church. Aristotle did not. Both were of compassionate hearts. Men who lived in different times, but were very intelligent and sought to understand the world around them and how they fit into it. Darwin died at home in bed surrounded by his family. Aristotle died in his country home, a year after an uprising threatened him.

There were flaws in the the beliefs of both men. But there were also accuracies. Science and philosophy will always err in some way or another. Human beings make mistakes.

Like Darwin, Aristotle attended medical school but later went to study philosophy.

L

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