Top 20 Aristotle Quotes on Excellence, Happines and Love: Background and Insights

Aristotle was a renowned Greek philosopher who lived between 384-322 BCE. He was a student of Plato and later became a teacher to Alexander the Great. Aristotle’s contributions to Western philosophy are highly regarded and have influenced many aspects of human knowledge, including politics, ethics, metaphysics, biology, and logic. He is considered one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy. Aristotle is well known for his quotes on excellence, happiness, love and ethics.

Aristotle’s philosophical works have been studied and debated for centuries, and his ideas continue to be relevant today. He believed in the importance of reason and logic and emphasized the need for empirical evidence to support scientific claims. Aristotle’s ideas on ethics and politics have also had a significant impact on Western thought. His works on the subject, such as the Nicomachean Ethics and Politics, explore the nature of human happiness, virtue, and the ideal society.

Aristotle’s famous quotes are a testament to his wisdom and insight. They cover a wide range of topics, including politics, ethics, friendship, and education. Some of his most famous quotes include “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit,” “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” and “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” In this article, we will explore Aristotle’s top 20 most famous quotes and the impact they have had on Western philosophy.

Background on Aristotle

Aristotle (384-322 BCE) was a Greek philosopher and scientist who made significant contributions to fields such as ethics, metaphysics, politics, and biology. He was born in Stagira, a small town in northern Greece, and his father was a physician to the king of Macedon.

Early Life

Aristotle spent his early years in Stagira, where he was educated by his father and other local teachers. At the age of 17, he moved to Athens to study at Plato’s Academy. He spent 20 years there, first as a student and later as a teacher. During this time, he developed his own ideas and theories, which sometimes conflicted with Plato’s.


Aristotle’s education at Plato’s Academy was focused on philosophy, mathematics, and science. However, he was not satisfied with the theoretical approach of his teachers and sought to apply his knowledge to the real world. After leaving the Academy, he traveled extensively throughout Greece and Asia Minor, studying the natural world and collecting data.


In 335 BCE, Aristotle was invited by Philip II of Macedon to tutor his son, Alexander the Great. Aristotle taught Alexander for several years, instilling in him a love of learning and a desire to explore the world. After Alexander became king, Aristotle returned to Athens and founded his own school, the Lyceum.

At the Lyceum, Aristotle taught a wide range of subjects, including logic, ethics, metaphysics, politics, and biology. He also conducted research and wrote extensively, producing works such as the Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, and Poetics. His ideas and theories had a profound influence on Western thought and continue to be studied and debated today.

Top 20 Most Famous Quotes by Aristotle

  1. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
  2. “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
  3. “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”
  4. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
  5. “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.”
  6. “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”
  7. “The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.”
  8. “All human beings, by nature, desire to know.”
  9. “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”
  10. “The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.”
  11. “The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living from the dead.”
  12. “It is not enough to win a war; it is more important to organize the peace.”
  13. “The law is reason, free from passion.”
  14. “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.”
  15. “The wise man does not expose himself needlessly to danger, since there are few things for which he cares sufficiently; but he is willing, in great crises, to give even his life–knowing that under certain conditions it is not worthwhile to live.”
  16. “The energy of the mind is the essence of life.”
  17. “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”
  18. “Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.”
  19. “A friend to all is a friend to none.”
  20. “Happiness depends upon ourselves.”

Aristotle’s Philosophy

Aristotle’s philosophy is one of the most influential and enduring in the history of Western thought. His ideas and concepts have shaped the way we think about the world and our place in it. Aristotle’s philosophy is divided into three main areas: metaphysics, ethics, and politics. Each of these areas explores different aspects of human life and the world around us.


Metaphysics is the study of the nature of reality. Aristotle believed that everything in the world had a purpose and a reason for being. He believed that the ultimate purpose of all things was to achieve the highest good, which he called eudaimonia, or happiness. Aristotle believed that everything in the world had a telos, or end goal, and that the goal of human life was to achieve eudaimonia.


Ethics is the study of moral principles and values. Aristotle believed that ethics was the study of how to live a good life. He believed that the key to living a good life was to cultivate virtues, such as courage, honesty, and generosity. Aristotle believed that virtues were habits of behavior that could be learned and practiced, and that they were essential to achieving eudaimonia.


Politics is the study of government and the organization of society. Aristotle believed that the purpose of government was to promote the common good and to create conditions that would allow individuals to achieve eudaimonia. He believed that the best form of government was a constitutional government, in which the power of the state was balanced between different branches and levels of government.

Aristotle believed that the natural world was governed by laws and principles that could be discovered through observation and reason. He believed that the soul was the animating principle of life, and that it was the source of human consciousness and intelligence. Aristotle believed that truth could be discovered through reason and that it was the foundation of all knowledge.

Aristotle believed that people were social creatures and that they needed to live in communities in order to achieve eudaimonia. He believed that happiness was not something that could be achieved alone, but that it was something that could only be achieved through friendship and social interaction.

Aristotle’s philosophy is a comprehensive system of thought that explores the nature of reality, ethics, and politics. His ideas and concepts have had a profound impact on Western thought and continue to be studied and debated today. His contributions to the fields of metaphysics, ethics, politics, biology, and physics have had a profound impact on the way we understand the world and our place in it. In addition to his groundbreaking ideas, Aristotle is also known for his insightful and thought-provoking quotes.

Aristotle’s Famous Quotes