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Martha C. Nussbaum

(b Stagira, 384 bc; d Khalkis, 322 bc). Ancient Greek philosopher. Born to a physician at the Macedonian court, Aristotle travelled to Athens in his 18th year to study philosophy at Plato’s Academy. He remained for nearly twenty years until Plato’s death in 348 bc; he was then forced to leave Athens: probably he had come under suspicion because of his Macedonian connections. He went first to Assos, then to Mytilene, doing the original biological research on which his later scientific writings are based. During this period, he spent some time as tutor to the young Alexander the Great (reg 336–323 bc); the relationship does not seem to have been a warm one. Returning to Athens in 335 bc, he set up his own philosophical school, later called the Lyceum. From the colonnaded path, or peripatos, attached to the building, his followers were later called ‘Peripatetics’. Here he taught, and wrote most of his surviving works. After Alexander’s death in ...

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Plato  

Martha C. Nussbaum

(b ?Athens, c. 429 bc; d 347 bc).

Ancient Greek philosopher. He was the son of a distinguished and wealthy Athenian family and grew up in turbulent times; the Peloponnesian War and the bitter struggles between local oligarchic and democratic factions made life unstable and justice difficult. In 399 bc the restored democracy put to death Plato’s beloved teacher Socrates (469–399 bc), reinforcing his dislike of democratic institutions. During the following years Plato travelled widely, beginning his friendship with Dion of Syracuse (409–353 bc). Around 385 bc he returned to Athens, where he remained for most of the rest of his life. He began teaching in a school that was later the first to be called an ‘Academy’, after the grove in which it stood. Plato made two further visits to Syracuse, attempting at Dion’s request, but without success, to make a philosopher of the young ruler Dionysius II (reg 367–343 bc)....