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A person is never happy till their vague strivings has itself marked out its proper limitations.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
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Piety requires us to honor truth above our friends.

Aristotle (Αριστοτέλης; Aristotelēs) (384 BC – 7 March 322 BC), Greek philosopher and scientist.

Note on references

Quotations from Aristotle are often cited by Bekker numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.


  • He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.
    • Variant: I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who overcomes his enemies.
    • Quoted in Florilegium by Joannes Stobaeus
  • In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.
    • Parts of Animals I.645a16
  • Concerning the generation of animals akin to them, as hornets and wasps, the facts in all cases are similar to a certain extent, but are devoid of the extraordinary features which characterize bees; this we should expect, for they have nothing divine about them as the bees have.
    • Generation of Animals III.761a2
  • Misfortune shows those who are not really friends.
    • Eudemian Ethics VII.1238a20
  • Time crumbles things; everything grows old under the power of Time and is forgotten through the lapse of Time.
    • Physics


  • It is absurd to hold that a man ought to be ashamed of being unable to defend himself with his limbs but not of being unable to defend himself with speech and reason, when the use of reason is more distinctive of a human being than the use of his limbs. (I.1355b1)
  • Evils draw men together. (I.1362b39)
    • (quoting a proverb)
  • Thus every action must be due to one or other of seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reasoning, anger, or appetite. (I.1369a5)
    • Variant: All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion and desire.
  • 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. (II.1389a31)
  • Wit is well-bred insolence. (II.1389b11)
  • It is simplicity that makes the uneducated more effective than the educated when addressing popular audiences. (II.1395b27)


  • Man is by nature a political animal. (I.1253a2)
    • Variant: Man is an animal whose nature it is to live in a polis. (H.D.F. Kitto, The Greeks)
  • Nature does nothing uselessly. (I.1253a8)
  • 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. (I.1253a27)
  • Man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all. (I.1253a31)
  • Money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of all modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural. (I.1258b4)
  • Men ... are easily induced to believe that in some wonderful manner everybody will become everybody's friend, especially when some one is heard denouncing the evils now existing in states, suits about contracts, convictions for perjury, flatteries of rich men and the like, which are said to arise out of the possession of private property. These evils, however, are due to a very different cause—the wickedness of human nature. (II.1263b15)
  • It is of the nature of desire not to be satisfied, and most men live only for the gratification of it. (II.1267b4)
  • Again, men in general desire the good, and not merely what their fathers had. (II.1269a4)
  • Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always to remain unaltered. (II.1269a9)
  • That judges of important causes should hold office for life is a disputable thing, for the mind grows old as well as the body. (II.1270b39)
  • They should rule who are able to rule best. (II.1273b5)
  • The good citizen need not of necessity possess the virtue which makes a good man. (III.1276b34)
  • A state is not a mere society, having a common place, established for the prevention of mutual crime and for the sake of exchange.... Political society exists for the sake of noble actions, and not of mere companionship. (III.1280b30, 1281a3)
  • The law is reason unaffected by desire. (III.1287a32)
    • Quoted in Legally Blonde as "The law is reason free from passion."
  • If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost. (IV.1291b34)
  • Inferiors revolt in order that they may be equal, and equals that they may be superior. Such is the state of mind which creates revolutions. (V.1302a29)
  • Well begun is half done. (V.1303b30)
    • (quoting a proverb)
  • Both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms. (V.1311a11)
  • 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. (V.1314b39)
  • The basis of a democratic state is liberty. (VI.1317a40)
  • Happiness, whether consisting in pleasure or virtue, or both, is more often found with those who are highly cultivated in their minds and in their character, and have only a moderate share of external goods, than among those who possess external goods to a useless extent but are deficient in higher qualities. (VII.1323b1)
  • Law is order, and good law is good order. (VII.1326a29)
  • Let us then enunciate the functions of a state and we shall easily elicit what we want: First there must be food; secondly, arts, for life requires many instruments; thirdly, there must be arms, for the members of a community have need of them, and in their own hands, too, in order to maintain authority both against disobedient subjects and against external assailants.... (VII.1328b4)
  • The appropriate age for marriage is around eighteen for girls and thirty-seven for men. (VII.1335a27)


  • All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all others the sense of sight. For not only with a view to action, but even when we are not going to do anything, we prefer sight to almost everything else. The reason is that this, most of all the senses, makes us know and brings to light many differences between things. (I.980a21)
    • Variant: All men by nature desire knowledge...
    • The first sentence is in the Oxford Dictionary of Scientific Quotations (2005), 21:10.
  • If, then, God is always in that good state in which we sometimes are, this compels our wonder; and if in a better this compels it yet more. And God is in a better state. And life also belongs to God; for the actuality of thought is life, and God is that actuality; and God's self-dependent actuality is life most good and eternal. (XII.1072b24)
  • Those who assert that the mathematical sciences say nothing of the beautiful or the good are in error. For these sciences say and prove a great deal about them; if they do not expressly mention them, but prove attributes which are their results or definitions, it is not true that they tell us nothing about them. The chief forms of beauty are order and symmetry and definiteness, which the mathematical sciences demonstrate in a special degree. (XIII.1078a33)

Nicomachean Ethics (c. 325 BC)

  • If there is some end of the things we do, which we desire for its own sake, clearly this must be the good. Will not knowledge of it, then, have a great influence on life? Shall we not, like archers who have a mark to aim at, be more likely to hit upon what we should? If so, we must try, in outline at least, to determine what it is. (I.1094a18)
  • 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. (I.1094b24)
  • The life of money-making is one undertaken under compulsion, and wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else. (I.1096a5)
  • Piety requires us to honor truth above our friends. (I.1096a16)
  • For just as for a flute-player, a sculptor, or an artist, and, in general, for all things that have a function or activity, the good and the well is thought to reside in the function, so would it seem to be for man, if he has a function. (I.1097b25)
  • If ... we state the function of man to be a certain kind of life, and this to be an activity or actions of the soul implying a rational principle, and the function of a good man to be the good and noble performance of these, and if any action is well performed when it is performed in accordance with the appropriate excellence ... human good turns out to be activity of the soul in accordance with virtue, and if there are more than one virtue, in accordance with the best and most complete. (I.1098a13)
  • One swallow does not make a summer, nor does one day; and so too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and happy. (I.1098a18)
  • For some identify happiness with virtue, some with practical wisdom, others with a kind of philosophic wisdom, others with these, or one of these, accompanied by pleasure or not without pleasure; while others include also external prosperity. Now ... it is not probable that these should be entirely mistaken, but rather that they should be right in at least some one respect or even in most respects. (I.1098b23)
  • For pleasure is a state of soul, and to each man that which he is said to be a lover of is pleasant.... Now for most men their pleasures are in conflict with one another because these are not by nature pleasant, but the lovers of what is noble find pleasant the things that are by nature pleasant; and virtuous actions are such... Happiness then is the best, noblest, and most pleasant thing in the world, and these attributes are not severed as in the inscription at Delos: Most noble is that which is justest, and best is health; but pleasantest is it to win what we love. (I.1099a6)
  • Everything that depends on the action of nature is by nature as good as it can be, and similarly everything that depends on art or any rational cause, and especially if it depends on the best of all causes. To entrust to chance what is greatest and most noble would be a very defective arrangement. (I.1099b22)
    • Quoted in Oxford Dictionary of Scientific Quotations (2005), 21:8.
  • May not we then confidently pronounce that man happy who realizes complete goodness in action, and is adequately furnished with external goods? Or should we add, that he must also be destined to go on living not for any casual period but throughout a complete lifetime in the same manner, and to die accordingly, because the future is hidden from us, and we conceive happiness as an end, something utterly and absolutely final and complete? If this is so, we shall pronounce those of the living who possess and are destined to go on possessing the good things we have specified to be supremely blessed, though on the human scale of bliss. (I.1101a10)
  • For the things we have to learn before we can do, we learn by doing. (II.1103a33)
    • Oxford Dictionary of Scientific Quotations (2005), 21:9.
  • For legislators make the citizens good by forming habits in them, and this is the wish of every legislator, and those who do not effect it miss their mark, and it is in this that a good constitution differs from a bad one. (II.1103b4)
  • It is well said, then, that it is by doing just acts that the just man is produced, and by doing temperate acts the temperate man; without doing these no one would have even a prospect of becoming good. But most people do not do these, but take refuge in theory and think they are being philosophers and will become good in this way, behaving somewhat like patients who listen attentively to their doctors, but do none of the things they are ordered to do. (II.1105b9)
  • Again, it is possible to fail in many ways (for evil belongs to the class of the unlimited ... and good to that of the limited), while to succeed is possible only in one way (for which reason also one is easy and the other difficult—to miss the mark easy, to hit it difficult); for these reasons also, then, excess and defect are characteristic of vice, and the mean of virtue; For men are good in but one way, but bad in many. (II.1106b28)
  • 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. (II.1107a4)
    • Variant: 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.
  • In cases of this sort, let us say adultery, rightness and wrongness do not depend on committing it with the right woman at the right time and in the right manner, but the mere fact of committing such action at all is to do wrong. (II.1107a15)
  • 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. (II.1109a27)
  • We must as second best, as people say, take the least of the evils. (II.1109a34)
  • Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods. (VIII.1155a5)
  • When people are friends, they have no need of justice, but when they are just, they need friendship in addition. (VIII.1155a26)
  • After these matters we ought perhaps next to discuss pleasure. For it is thought to be most intimately connected with our human nature, which is the reason why in educating the young we steer them by the rudders of pleasure and pain; it is thought, too, that to enjoy the things we ought and to hate the things we ought has the greatest bearing on virtue of character. For these things extend right through life, with a weight and power of their own in respect both to virtue and to the happy life, since men choose what is pleasant and avoid what is painful; and such things, it will be thought, we should least of all omit to discuss, especially since they admit of much dispute. (X.1172a17)
  • And happiness is thought to depend on leisure; for we are busy that we may have leisure, and make war that we may live in peace. (X.1177b4)
  • Now the activity of the practical virtues is exhibited in political or military affairs, but the actions concerned with these seem to be unleisurely. Warlike actions are completely so (for no one chooses to be at war, or provokes war, for the sake of being at war; any one would seem absolutely murderous if he were to make enemies of his friends in order to bring about battle and slaughter); but the action of the statesman is also unleisurely, and-apart from the political action itself-aims at despotic power and honours, or at all events happiness, for him and his fellow citizens-a happiness different from political action, and evidently sought as being different. So if among virtuous actions political and military actions are distinguished by nobility and greatness, and these are unleisurely and aim at an end and are not desirable for their own sake, but the activity of reason, which is contemplative, seems both to be superior in serious worth and to aim at no end beyond itself, and to have its pleasure proper to itself (and this augments the activity), and the self-sufficiency, leisureliness, unweariedness (so far as this is possible for man), and all the other attributes ascribed to the supremely happy man are evidently those connected with this activity, it follows that this will be the complete happiness of man, if it be allowed a complete term of life. (X.1177b6)
  • Life in the true sense is perceiving or thinking.
  • To be conscious that we are perceiving or thinking is to be conscious of our own existence.
  • With regard to excellence, it is not enough to know, but we must try to have and use it.
  • Young people are in a condition like permanent intoxication, because youth is sweet and they are growing.


  • A tragedy, then, is the imitation of an action ... with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its catharsis of such emotions. (1449b24)
  • A whole is that which has beginning, middle, and end. (1450b26)
  • Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular. (1451b6)
  • Poetry demands a man with a special gift for it, or else one with a touch of madness in him. (1455a33)
  • But the greatest thing by far is to have a command of metaphor. This alone cannot be imparted by another; it is the mark of genius, for to make good metaphors implies an eye for resemblances. (1459a4)
  • Homer has taught all other poets the art of telling lies skillfully. (1460a19)
    • Variant: It is Homer who has chiefly taught other poets the art of telling lies skillfully.
  • For the purposes of poetry a convincing impossibility is preferable to an unconvincing possibility. (1461b11)

Lives of Eminent Philosophers

by Diogenes Laërtius, quoting assertions attributed to Aristotle

  • Education is the best provision for old age.
  • Hope is a waking dream.
  • I have gained this by philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law.
  • Liars when they speak the truth are not believed.
  • To the query, "What is a friend?" his reply was "A single soul dwelling in two bodies."
    • Variants: Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.
      A true friend is one soul in two bodies.
      Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.
      What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.
    • To the query, in the same text, "what is love?" he replied "What is life without love? Love is like the sun; without light, there's no life"


  • A friend is a second self.
  • A great city is not to be confounded with a populous one.
  • All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.
  • All persons ought to endeavor to follow what is right, and not what is established.
  • All virtue is summed up in dealing justly.
  • Bad men are full of repentance.
  • Bashfulness is an ornament to youth, but a reproach to old age.
  • Bring your desires down to your present means. Increase them only when your increased means permit.
  • Change in all things is sweet.
  • Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.
  • Democracy arises out of the notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects; because men are equally free, they claim to be absolutely equal.
  • Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers.
  • Different men seek after happiness in different ways and by different means, and so make for themselves different modes of life and forms of government.
  • Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them.
    • Variants: Dignity does not come in possessing honors, but in deserving them.
      Dignity consists not in possessing honors, but in the consciousness that we deserve them.
  • Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.
  • Equality consists in the same treatment of similar persons.
  • Fear is pain arising from the anticipation of evil.
  • For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.
  • For what is the best choice, for each individual is the highest it is possible for him to achieve.
  • Friendship is essentially a partnership.
  • Great men are always of a nature originally melancholy.
  • Happiness depends upon ourselves.
  • Happiness is a sort of action.
  • 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.
  • If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is nature's way.
  • In a democracy the poor will have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme.
  • In modern times there are opposing views about the practice of education. There is no general agreement about what the young should learn either in relation to virtue or in relation to the best life; nor is it clear whether their education ought to be directed more towards the intellect than towards the character of the soul.... And it is not certain whether training should be directed at things useful in life, or at those conducive to virtue, or at non-essentials.... And there is no agreement as to what in fact does tend towards virtue. Men do not all prize most highly the same virtue, so naturally they differ also about the proper training for it.
  • In nine cases out of ten, a woman had better show more affection than she feels.
  • In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. The young they keep out of mischief; to the old they are a comfort and aid in their weakness, and those in the prime of life they incite to noble deeds.
  • In the arena of human life the honours and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities.
  • It is best to rise from life as from a banquet, neither thirsty nor drunken.
  • It is easy to perform a good action, but not easy to acquire a settled habit of performing such actions.
  • It is in justice that the ordering of society is centered.
  • It is just that we should be grateful, not only to those with whose views we may agree, but also to those who have expressed more superficial views; for these also contributed something, by developing before us the powers of thought.
  • It is not once nor twice but times without number that the same ideas make their appearance in the world.
  • It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
  • It is unbecoming for young men to utter maxims.
  • Melancholic men are of all others the most witty.
  • Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way... you become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions.
    • Variant: Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.
  • Men create gods after their own image, not only with regard to their form but with regard to their mode of life.
  • Most people would rather give than get affection.
  • Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own.
    • Variant: This is the reason why mothers are more devoted to their children than fathers: it is that they suffer more in giving them birth and are more certain that they are their own.
  • My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake.
    • Variant: The best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake.
  • No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness.
    • Variants: No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness.
      There is no great genius without a mixture of madness.
      There was never a genius without a tincture of madness.
  • No notice is taken of a little evil, but when it increases it strikes the eye.
  • Of all the varieties of virtues, liberalism is the most beloved.
  • Personal beauty is a greater recommendation than any letter of reference.
  • Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.
  • Politicians also have no leisure, because they are always aiming at something beyond political life itself, power and glory, or happiness.
  • Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.
  • Republics decline into democracies and democracies degenerate into despotisms.
  • Strange that the vanity which accompanies beauty— excusable, perhaps, when there is such great beauty, or at any rate understandable— should persist after the beauty was gone.
  • Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind.
  • That in the soul which is called the mind is, before it thinks, not actually any real thing.
  • The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.
  • The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.
  • The complete is more than the sum of its pieces.
    • Variant: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
  • The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living from the dead.
  • 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.
    • Variant: Men are swayed more by fear than by reverence.
  • The gods too are fond of a joke.
  • The good of man must be the end of the science of politics.
  • The greatest virtues are those which are most useful to other persons.
  • The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.
  • The moral virtues, then, are produced in us neither by nature nor against nature. Nature, indeed, prepares in us the ground for their reception, but their complete formation is the product of habit.
  • The more thou dost advance, the more thy feet pitfalls will meet. The Path that leadeth on is lighted by one fire— the light of daring burning in the heart. The more one dares, the more he shall obtain. The more he fears, the more that light shall pale— and that alone can guide.
  • The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes.
  • The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching.
  • The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law.
  • The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.
  • The secret to humor is surprise.
  • The soul never thinks without a picture.
  • The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.
  • The virtue of justice consists in moderation, as regulated by wisdom.
  • The wise man does not expose himself needlessly to danger, since there are few things for which he cares sufficiently; but he is willing, in great crises, to give even his life— knowing that under certain conditions it is not worthwhile to live.
  • The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.
  • Those who educate children well are more to be honored than parents, for these only gave life, those the art of living well.
  • Those who excel in virtue have the best right of all to rebel, but then they are of all men the least inclined to do so.
  • Thou wilt find rest from vain fancies if thou doest every act in life as though it were thy last.
  • To give a satisfactory decision as to the truth it is necessary to be rather an arbitrator than a party to the dispute.
  • To perceive is to suffer.
  • To run away from trouble is a form of cowardice and, while it is true that the suicide braves death, he does it not for some noble object but to escape some ill.
  • We become just by performing just action, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave action.
  • We must no more ask whether the soul and body are one than ask whether the wax and the figure impressed on it are one.
  • Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd rather have been talking.
  • What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.
  • What the statesman is most anxious to produce is a certain moral character in his fellow citizens, namely a disposition to virtue and the performance of virtuous actions.
  • Wicked men obey from fear; good men, from love.
  • Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.
  • You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.
  • Youth is easily deceived because it is quick to hope.
  • The trade of the petty usurer is hated with most reason: it makes a profit from currency itself, instead of making it from the process which currency was meant to serve. Their common characteristic is obviously their sordid avarice.
  • The greatest crimes are not those committed for the sake of necessity but those committed for the sake of superfluity. One does not become a tyrant to avoid exposure to the cold.
  • The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance
  • Teaching is the highest form of understanding.


  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
    • Variant: We are what we repeatedly do, therefore excellence is not an act, but a habit.
    • Source: Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World's Greatest Philosophers (1926) [Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books, 1991, ISBN 0-671-73916-6] Ch. II: Aristotle and Greek Science; part VII: Ethics and the Nature of Happiness: "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'" (p. 76). The quoted phrases within the quotation are from the Nicomachean Ethics, Book II, 4; Book I, 7. The misattribution is from taking Durant's summation of Aristotle's ideas as being the words of Aristotle himself.
  • "We live in deeds, not years: In thoughts not breaths; In feelings, not in figures on a dial. We should count time by heart throbs. He most lives Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best."
    • This is actually from the poem "We live in deeds..." by Philip James Bailey. This explains the strange pattern of capitalization.

Possible Misattribution

  • Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is truth.
    • Variant: Plato is my friend, but the truth is more my friend.
    • These statements have been attributed to Aristotle, but research done for Wikiquote has thus far not found them among his works. They may possibly be derived from a reduction of a statement known to have been made by Isaac Newton, who at the head of notes he titled Quaestiones Quaedam Philosophicae (Certain Philosophical Questions) wrote in Latin: "Amicus Plato— amicus Aristoteles— magis amica veritas" which translates to: "Plato is my friend— Aristotle is my friend— but my greatest friend is truth." (c. 1664)
    • Another possible origin of the "dear is Plato" statement is in the Nicomachean Ethics; the Ross translation (of 1096a11-1096a16) provides: "We had perhaps better consider the universal good and discuss thoroughly what is meant by it, although such an inquiry is made an uphill one by the fact that the Forms have been introduced by friends of our own. Yet it would perhaps be thought to be better, indeed to be our duty, for the sake of maintaining the truth even to destroy what touches us closely, especially as we are philosophers; for, while both are dear, piety requires us to honour truth above our friends."
      Note that the last clause, when quoted by itself loses the connection to "the friends" who introduced "the Forms", Plato above all. Therefore the misattribution could be the result of the "quote" actually being a paraphrase which identifies Plato where Aristotle only alludes to him circumspectly.
  • "The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances."
    • Considering the subject matter, this should appear in "Nicomachean Ethics", but research done for Wikiquote has thus far not found it in that work or any other.


The Works of Aristotle. Ed. W. David Ross. 12 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1908.

The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation. Ed. Jonathan Barnes. 2 vols. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 1984.

  • A revised edition of Ross's translations.

The quotations above may have come from these or other translations.

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