Aristotle was the greatest of the philosophers to emerge from the Axial Age of human history. He was the student of the legendary philosopher Plato for many years, and would himself grow to surpass even the preeminence of his master in the collective human consciousness. Aristotle’s proficiency spread comprehensive throughout virtually every discipline of his time, including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theater, music, rhetoric, linguistics, politics and government. His cognitive prowess would lay the foundation going forward for future minds to take the human race into an ever expanding understanding of the universe and our place in it.
Aristotle’s personal intellectual achievements and influence might have been enough by themselves to put him on this list, but they are not his only claim to fame. The great philosopher was commissioned later in life by King Philip of Macedon to invest in and disciple a young man who would become arguably even greater than Aristotle himself … Alexander.
“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the most difficult victory is over the self.” – Aristotle