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Aristotle’s Views on Education

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Aristotle’s Views on Education

Who am I? I am a mathematician so therefore my expertise is in algebra, calculus, geometry and trigonometry. I am not versed in economics, politics and astronomy therefore my opinions of these are foolish. And I quote now each man judges well the things he knows and of these he is a good judge. And so the man who has been educated in a subject is a good judge of that subject, and a man that has received an all-round education is a good judge in general. It is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the subject admits. It is equally foolish to accept probable reasoning from a mathematician and to demand for a rhetorician scientific proofs.

Aristotle says that nature is given and is beyond our control; but habit and reason are largely matters of education. Education consists of two parts, habituation and direct instruction. The education of the habits must precede that of the reason, and the education of the body that of the intellect. But as reason or intellect is the end or complete development of our nature, it is with reference to it that we should order the training of the habits. Hence, the education of the body must precede that of the soul, and the education of the irrational part of the soul, the appetites, must precede the education of the rational part, the intellect; but the education of the appetite is for the sake of the intellect, and that of the body for the sake of the soul. The principle, therefore, to be observed in education, as in everything, is that the lower is for the sake of the higher.

The education of the young is, therefore, Aristotle says, a matter which has a paramount claim upon the attention of the legislator. The superintendence of such education, he further says, should be a public

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