Aristole V Plato

Plato and Aristotle comprise two basic, but different, elements of the western intellectual tradition.   Compare and contrast their views on knowledge (how we are able to understand general principles) and politics.
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Plato and Aristotle’s theories of politics vary from each other in one major way; with Plato’s theory, from his work The Republic, revolving around creating a perfect society from scratch, while Aristotle’s theory, described in his work The Politics, is to take the current system in place and improve upon it, reforming into the best obtainable system. However, both theories aspire to create a better society for the good of the people.
The differences between Plato and Aristotle’s thinking goes beyond politics, into ideas and concepts many people today wouldn’t normally think about, such as “What is knowledge?” In Plato’s dialogue the Theaetetus, Plato asks just that. According to Plato, knowledge is reason; while in Aristotle’s opinion, knowledge isn’t knowing what something is, but also why something is what it is through the use of our senses. The main similarity in their answers to the question “What is knowledge?”, is that “thinking, defined as true opinion supported by rational explanation, is true knowledge.” (023.htm)
“What is knowledge?”, the official answer, written in Plato’s Theaetetus, is that “we still do not know how to define knowledge.” Plato believed heavily in rationalism, having reason be the foundation of true knowledge. With this mentality, Plato focuses more on the How of knowledge, rather than the Why that Aristotle focuses on. In his work Theaetetus, Plato gives an example of syllables, explaining how someone could reproduce the word “Theaetetus” successfully, but without cognitive thought behind the reproduction of the word, how the letters form syllables and how those syllables form words, or in this case a name, the person doesn’t have knowledge of the word.
Aristotle also believes in rational...