Quotations by Aristotle


It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

Humor is the only test of gravity, and gravity of humor; for a subject which will not bear raillery is suspicious, and a jest which will not bear serious examination is false wit.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

Whatsoever that be within us that feels, thinks, desires, and animates, is something celestial, divine, and, consequently, imperishable.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

The gods, too, are fond of a joke.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

How many a dispute could have been deflated into a single paragraph if the disputants had dared to define their terms?

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

There is a foolish corner in the brain of the wisest man.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

Bad men are full of repentance.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 19-Sep-07 | Last updated 19-Sep-07
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

Hence a young man is not a proper hearer of lectures on political science; for he is inexperienced in the actions that occur in life, but its discussions start from these and are about these; and, further, since he tends to follow his passions, his study will be vain and unprofitable, because the end aimed at is not knowledge but action.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nichomachean Ethics I:3: 1095a2-5
Added on 20-Mar-08 | Last updated 20-Mar-08
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

What lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nichomachean Ethics, 3.5 [tr. Thomson (1953)]
Added on 14-Jan-14 | Last updated 14-Jan-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Aristotle

The brave man is the man who faces or fears the right thing for the right purpose in the right manner at the right moment.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nichomachean Ethics, 3.7 [tr. J. Thomson (1953)]
Added on 21-Sep-09 | Last updated 21-Sep-09
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

A good man thinks it more blessed to give than to receive.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nichomachean Ethics, 4.1 [tr. Thomson (1953)]
Added on 13-Aug-10 | Last updated 13-Aug-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

For the things we have to learn before we can do, we learn by doing.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nichomachean Ethics, II.1103a33 (c. 350 BC)
Added on 24-Jan-11 | Last updated 24-Jan-11
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

The vices respectively fall short of or exceed what is right in both passions and actions, while virtue both finds and chooses that which is intermediate.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nichomachean Ethics, II.1107a4 (c. 350 BC)

Alt. trans.: "Some vices miss what is right because they are deficient, others because they are excessive, in feelings or in actions, while virtue finds and chooses the mean."

Added on 31-Jan-11 | Last updated 31-Jan-11
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

Anyone can become angry — that is easy, but to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not easy.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nichomachean Ethics, II.1109a27 (c. 350 BC)

Alt trans.:
  • "Any one can get angry — that is easy — or give or spend money; but to do this to the right person, to the right extent, at the right time, with the right motive, and in the right way, that is not for every one, nor is it easy."
  • "The man who gets angry at the right things and with the right people, and in the right way and at the right time, and for the right length of time, is commended."
  • "It is easy to fly into a passion -- anybody can do that -- but to be angry with the right person and to the right extent and at the right time and with the right object and in the right way -- that is not easy, and it is not everyone who can do it." [tr.  Thompson (1953); cited as "2.9"]
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 2-Jun-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Aristotle

It is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits; it is evidently equally foolish to accept probable reasoning from a mathematician and to demand from a rhetorician scientific proofs.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics, I.1094b24 (c. 325 BC)

Alt trans.: "It is the mark of an instructed mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject admits and not to seek exactness where only an approximation is possible."
Added on 16-Jul-07 | Last updated 10-Aug-09
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics (325 BC)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics (c. 350 BC) (paraphrase)

Variants: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." "We are what we repeatedly do, therefore excellence is not an act, but a habit."

Not actually Aristotle, but a summary by  Will Durant,  The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World's Greatest Philosophers (1926), ch. II "Aristotle and Greek Science," Part VII "Ethics and the Nature of Happiness" (1926):
Excellence is an art won by training and habituation: we do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have these because we have acted rightly; 'these virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions'; we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit: 'the good of man is a working of the soul in the way of excellence in a complete life... for as it is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy.'"
The quoted phrases are from the Nicomachean Ethics, Book 2, ch. 4; Book 1, ch. 7.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 2-Jun-17
Link to this post | 1 comment
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Aristotle

For though we love both the truth and our friends, piety requires us to honor the truth first.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics, bk. 1, ch. 6 (I.1096a16) [tr. T. Irwin (1985)]

Alt trans.: "Piety requires us to honor truth above our friends."

Added on 15-Dec-08 | Last updated 10-Aug-09
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

The generality of men are naturally apt to be swayed by fear rather than reverence, and to refrain from evil rather because of the punishment that it brings than because of its own foulness.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics, bk. 10, ch. 9
Added on 17-Apr-08 | Last updated 17-Apr-08
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

We will more easily accomplish what is proper if, like archers, we have a target in sight.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics, Book 1 (350 BC)
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:
  • “It concerns us to know the purposes we seek in life, for then, like archers aiming at a definite mark, we shall be more likely to attain what we want.”
  • Shall we not, like archers who have a mark to aim at, be more likely to hit upon what is right?" [tr. Ross]
Added on 2-Jun-17 | Last updated 2-Jun-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Aristotle

It is also characteristic of the great-souled man … to be haughty towards men of position and fortune, but courteous towards those of moderate station, because it is difficult and distinguished to be superior to the great, but easy to outdo the lowly, and to adopt a high manner with the former is not ill-bred, but it is vulgar to lord it over humble people: it is like putting forth one’s strength against the weak.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics, Book 4, ch. 3, l. 26 – 1124b.19 [tr. Rackham]
    (Source)

Sometimes paraphrased: "It is not ill-bred to adopt a high manner with the great and the powerful, but it is vulgar to lord it over humble people."

Alt. trans.: "Towards those in high position and prosperity he bears himself with pride, but towards ordinary men with moderation; for in the former case it is difficult to show superiority, and to do so is a lordly mater; whereas in the latter case it is easy. To be haughty among the great is no proof of bad breeding, but haughtiness among the lowly is as base-born a thing as it is to make trial of great strength upon the weak." [tr. Williams (1869)]
Added on 3-Aug-17 | Last updated 3-Aug-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Aristotle

The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
On the Heavens, Book I, ch. v
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Poetics, 1451b6
Added on 7-Feb-11 | Last updated 7-Feb-11
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

Poetry demands a man with a special gift for it, or else one with a touch of madness in him.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Poetics, 1455a33
Added on 14-Feb-11 | Last updated 14-Feb-11
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

For the purposes of poetry a convincing impossibility is preferable to an unconvincing possibility.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Poetics, 1461b11
Added on 21-Feb-11 | Last updated 21-Feb-11
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

Such an event is probable in Agathon’s sense of the word: “It is probable,” he says, “that many things should happen contrary to probability.”

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Poetics, ch. 18
Added on 17-Sep-08 | Last updated 17-Sep-08
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

Well begun is half done.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Politics, V.1303b30 (c. 350 BC)

Quoting a proverb.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 10-Aug-09
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Politics, V.1314b39
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 10-Aug-09
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

The male is by nature superior, and the female inferior; and the one rules, and the other is ruled; this principle, of necessity, extends to all mankind.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Politics, 1.5 [tr. B. Jowett (1885)]
Added on 9-Jan-14 | Last updated 9-Jan-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Aristotle

Everywhere inequality is a cause of revolution.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Politics, 5.1 [tr. Jowett (1865)]
Added on 30-Jul-13 | Last updated 15-Jul-13
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

Man is by nature a political animal.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Politics, I.1253a2
Added on 20-Dec-10 | Last updated 20-Dec-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Politics, I.1253a27
Added on 28-Dec-10 | Last updated 28-Dec-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

Man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Politics, I.1253a31
Added on 10-Jan-11 | Last updated 10-Jan-11
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

The appropriate age for marriage is around eighteen for girls and thirty-seven for men.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Politics, VII.1335a27
Added on 17-Jan-11 | Last updated 17-Jan-11
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

There is no great genius without a touch of madness.

[Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae fuit.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Problemata, 30.1

Attributed to Aristotle by Seneca the Younger, "On Tranquillity of Mind" (17.10). Variants:
  • "No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness."
  • "No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness." [tr. Basore (1932)]
  • "There is no great genius without a mixture of madness."
  • "There was never a genius without a tincture of madness."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 11-Jul-16
Link to this post | 2 comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Aristotle

Revenge and punishment are different things: Punishment is inflicted for the sake of the person punished; revenge for that of the punisher, to satisfy his feelings.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Rhetoric, 1.10 [tr. Roberts (1954)]
Added on 30-Oct-13 | Last updated 30-Oct-13
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

It is deliberate purpose that constitutes wickedness and criminal guilt.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Rhetoric, 1.13 [tr. W. Rhys Roberts (1954)]

Often given as "The intention makes the crime."
Added on 3-Jun-09 | Last updated 3-Jun-09
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle

We ought in fairness to fight our case with no help beyond the bare facts: nothing, therefore, should matter except the proof of these facts.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Rhetoric, 3.1
Added on 7-Feb-14 | Last updated 7-Feb-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: ,
More quotes by Aristotle

The young have exalted notions, because they have not been humbled by life or learned its necessary limitations; moreover, their hopeful disposition makes them think themselves equal to great things — and that means having exalted notions. They would always rather do noble deeds than useful ones: Their lives are regulated more by moral feeling than by reasoning…. All their mistakes are in the direction of doing things excessively and vehemently. They overdo everything; they love too much, hate too much, and the same with everything else.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Rhetoric, II.1389a31
Added on 13-Dec-10 | Last updated 13-Dec-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Aristotle