The work of Aristotle and Plato laid the foundations for Western Philosophy.
Aristotle and Plato
Aristotle and Plato in the Academy
At the age of seventeen, Aristotle joined Plato's Academy in Athens. Before he left the Academy, Aristotle and Plato were firmly established as the greatest philosophers of that time, and perhaps of all time. Aristotle had been inspired to join the Academy by reading Plato’s Gorgias, and Plato found his new pupil an inspiration. The Academy was, in theory, a public arena. But, in practice, Aristotle and Plato ran it as an exclusive college on a private estate.
Aristotle the polymath, and Plato the specialist
Aristotle and Plato showed some differences in the work that they pursued. Plato was not the polymath that Aristotle was later to become. Instead, Plato concentrated on philosophy, especially metaphysics, epistemology, logic, ethics, and political theory. But, although Plato was not a mathematician or scientist, he did set his pupils mathematical problems and encouraged them to study physics.
Aristotle and Plato on rhetoric and poetics
The Academy taught more than philosophy and science. It also taught political theory and, because many of the students aspired to become working politicians, rhetoric was on the syllabus. Both Aristotle and Plato did much work in this area. The ideas later to be found in Aristotle’s works Rhetoric and Topics began to take shape during his early days at the Academy. Aristotle and Plato also had great impact on literary theory. Aristotle produced accounts of Homer and the other Greek poets in the Academy that prepared the ground for his later work Poetics.