Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Plato and Aristotle

Plato was a deductive thinker! He learned and absorbed the thinking of Socrates. Aristotle was an inductive thinker! He learned from, and then rejected, the deductive processes of Plato. Plato deduced solutions by applying logic to situations and interior argument leading to reasoning. He said to his students " Go figure! " and they did. Aristotle, on the other hand, broke with his teacher,Plato, and set up his own school and said to his students "Go observe!" and they did. Inductive thinking is reasoning, first based on experimental observation. Solutions follow, or fail to follow as the case may be, but thereby, they are evidence based! Both processes still go on today. Both camps are useful. Aristotle was a physician amongst other things, so I guess he was one of the first researchers. It's probably why I like him better. So Plato was a top down thinker and Aristotle was a bottom up thinker. As an aside, we used to say that the top third of the medical school class made the best researchers. The middle third made the best doctors. The lower third made the most money! A little sarcasm when you find at the end of your career you have less than you wished! I suppose if you owned an Academy or Lyceum, as a thinker, you could earn a fair bundle, teaching on the side.

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