This is the essay for the 5th week of the 9th Grade Tom Woods Homeschool. It’s an answer to two questions, one about Socrates and other about Sparta.
1. Why was Aristotle a significant figure?
2. What was a Spartan society like?
Since Aristotle did many very important things, I’ll go through what he did in Philosophy and why it’s so important.
Aristotle wrote over 200 works. Most of them were notes or manuscript drafts, from a whole range of subjects, from reasoning, psychology, politics, ethics, etc. Aristotle not only wrote these but also 11 whole books.
Let’s go through what developments Aristotle made in Philosophy. Many Western philosophical concepts and even some words come from Aristotle’s accomplishments. I will quickly list through a lot of these concepts, but I will focus on the one I think is the most significant. Go! Analysis of change, Potential-actual, Essential-accidental, Matter-form and lastly Analysis of causation.
I will be focusing on the analysis of causation. There are four types of causes. There is the material cause, the formal cause, the efficient cause, and the final cause. This was the reasoning of thought about the ways that something could change. These changes were caused by one (or more) of these four types.
- The material cause is a change in the material the thing is made out of, for example for a chair it is wood.
- The formal cause is a change in the appearance or shape of the thing, for example for the chair it is that it has four legs, the seat, and the back.
- The efficient cause is a little more difficult to understand but is a change in the person, who makes the changes in the object. For a chair, this would be the carpenter.
- Lastly, the final cause is a change in the purpose the thing was meant for. For a chair, this would be sitting on it.
I hope you understood all of this. This is what made Aristotle significant, and that is why this is what Aristotle is remembered for, but he also made advancements in many other areas.
Ok, now onto question number 2, this one is pretty simple. The spartan society was militaristic. There you got your answer blog post over, see you later! You want more than that, fine I’ll give it to you.
The Spartans were militaristic for one reason. Because they had a lot of helots. Helots are just Spartan slaves. Once these slaves revolted and the Spartans needed a way to make sure the slaves never revolted again. Their solution was to become a highly militaristic society. The slaves worked the land, they did the agricultural work and also some other domestic work. Due to this, the Spartans had time to receive military training, which was very extreme. I do not underestimate this, the training was absolutely crazy. I will give you a rundown of how it went.
At age 7 a Spartan boy would leave home for his military training and not be allowed to come back for 13 years. The spartan boys would have to kill the helots. The boys were under absolute control from the polis, or in English basically the Spartan state. They couldn’t say no to anything that they were told to do. Children were not allowed to have much either, they had no shoes, and all they owned was one cloak. The cloaks were intentionally made to not be very warm and combined with the Spartan harsh winter, the cloaks wouldn’t keep the boys warm during the winter. The boys were also given only just enough food that they could survive nothing more. This gave the boys a great incentive to steal food. The weird thing was that, if you didn’t get directly caught stealing the food, you would get no punishment whatsoever. If you did get caught, you would get a very harsh punishment
In Sparta, it was also very important to get male children. Even the female children, while they were allowed to stay home, the girls had to undergo rigorous training as well. They had to run and wrestle to make them strong. This was believed to make them bear good male children. Bachelors were also shunned in Spartan society. They had to walk down the streets naked, even in the winter, to make sure they got wives and children.
For everybody, even the children and the wives the spartan society was very harsh. This was all because they had to control the helots using one way or another. This was not a complete guide of Spartan society, only what made it so special.