Aristotle, the founder of that Peripatetic School of Philosophy in Greece which has had so wide an influence over human thought, was born in 384 B.C. at Stagira, Macedonia. Hence he is called "The Stagirite." His father was physician to the Macedonian court, but died when Aristotle was seventeen. Left an orphan, the youth went to Athens, and, after following for many years the teaching of Plato and other Socratic philosophers, set up a school of his own. After Plato's death (348) he spent some years in Mysia, but was invited in 343 to undertake the education of Philip's heir, the future Alexander the Great, He was handsomely treated both by father and son, and in 335 returned to Athens, where the Lyceum was assigned to him as a school. Here he taught for thirteen years, delivering his lectures as he walked up and down the shady colonnades - a habit that gave the name "Peripatetic" to his doctrine. In 332, pursued by jealous foes with charges of impiety, and having lost Alexander, whose friendship for him had cooled even before death, Aristotle fled from Athens and took refuge at Chalcis and died there within the year. In personal appearance the great philosopher was thin and slightly built. He had small eyes, a shaven face, and a feminine voice, and always showed great care for his dress. He left a son, Nicomachus, and a daughter, Pythias, both of whom he dearly loved.
As a speculative thinker, Aristotle is distinguished for range no less than power. Though much that he wrote has been lost, we have from him profound and original treatises on Metaphysics, Psychology, Logic (the Organon), Physics, Natural History, Meteorology, Moral and Political Science (the Ethics and Politics), Rhetoric and Poetry. Within the limits of these pages it is impossible even to give an intelligible outline of his principles, but there is scarcely one of these works that might not serve as the basis of a great reputation. For the Natural History and Politics Alexander is reported to have employed a host of men in collecting materials and information, but the organising of this chaotic mass was a task that demanded superhuman industry and incredible genius. In 1891 a work was published which was announced to be from the pen of Aristotle, which consisted of a brief record of the rise and growth of the constitutions of Athens. But all this was but a small part of what he achieved. The principles which he laid down, the terms that he employed, the methods he pursued in Psychology, Ontology, and Logic, have not only shaped the whole tenour of the Christian theology, and provided a foundation for numberless sects and schools of philosophy, but they have so permeated the daily lives of men that it is scarcely possible to frame a sentence that is wholly unflavoured by Aristotle. If in Ethics his doctrine of "the mean" scarcely commends itself as a satisfactory explanation of the difference between right and wrong, yet his theory of the formation of habit, his conception of that happiness which is the chief good, and his description of typical characters are masterpieces, while his attempt to reduce morals and politics to the certainty of science has served as a starting point for all subsequent inquiry.