2008 NewFoundations

Aristotle On "Woman"

edited 5/21/18

Along with his teacher Plato, Aristotle is the most revered philosopher of Greek antiquity. His thoughts had a great influence on Arabian and Jewish thinkers and on the Christian philosophers of the Middle Ages. He made a significant contribution to all areas of philosophy and natural sciences, tutored Alexander the Creat, and founded the so-called Peripatetic School at the Lyceum Athens.

According to Aristotle the goodness of a thing lies in the realization of its ultimate nature, and with this principle in mind he attempted to divine the nature of the woman.

Aristotle was firmly convinced that woman was, in fact, an incomplete or mutilated man. He saw the male as the ultimate realization of humanity, and the female as necessarily inferior.

In spite of this negative view of womankind, Aristotle treated individual women with kindness and compassion. He was happily married, and following the death of his wife, took her former handmaid as a concubine. He had one legitimate daughter and an illegitimate son whom he adopted and to whom, as was the custom in those days, he left his estate.


Aristotle c. (38 B.C.-32 A.D.)
-- One of the most important philosophers of all time, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great

 Woman may be said to be an inferior man.
-- Poetics

The female is, as it were, a mutilated male.
-- Generation of Animals

Females are weaker and colder in nature, and we must look upon the female character as being a sort of natural deficiency.
-- Generation of Animals

What difference does it make whether women rule, or the rulers are ruled by women? The result is the same.
-- Politics

The female is softer in disposition than the male, is more mischievous, less simple, more impulsive, and more attentive to the nurture of the young; the male, on the other hand, is more spirited than the female, more savage, more simple and less cunning. The traces of these differentiated characteristics are more or less visible everywhere, but they are especially visible where character is the more developed, and most of all in man.
-- History of Animals

Woman is more compassionate than man, more easily moved to tears, at the same time is more jealous, more querulous, more apt to scold and to strike. She is, furthermore, more prone to despondency and less hopeful than the man, more void of shame or self-respect, more false of speech, more deceptive, and of more retentive memory. She is also more wakeful , more shrinking, more difficult to rouse to action, and requires a smaller quantity of nutriment.
-- History of Animals