Athens – To celebrate the 2400th anniversary since the year of Aristotle’s birth, a World Congress of Philosophy is organized, to take place in Athens from 9 to 15 July, by the International Association for Greek Philosophy, the Greek Philosophical Society and the Philosophical Society of Cyprus. On this occasion, we met the President of the International Association of Greek Philosophy and President of the Organizing Committee, Professor Konstantinos Voudouris and we asked him about the Congress and Aristotle’s thought and the way it has influenced the world from antiquity until today.
We asked him, in particular, about the position Aristotle possesses in contemporary world philosophy and the world in general. About the crisis Greece is facing today and what Aristotle teaches us in relation to this crisis. About the influence of his thought and his teaching, since classical Greece and Alexander the Great until the Roman Empire, Byzantium and Medieval Europe, the Renaissance and the Modern World. Finally, we asked him, how he sees Aristotle’s influence on contemporary philosophical thought, as well as about the lessons his principles and thought could give us concerning great modern ventures, such as the European Unification, which is facing serious problems and internal reactions.
His answers are of very great interest and show the extent to which Aristotle’s thought always remains timely 2.400 years after his birth.
Professor, you are organizing this year, in co-operation with the Greek Philosophical Society and the Philosophical Society of Cyprus, the World Congress on the occasion of the 2.400th anniversary since the birth of Aristotle, on the topic “The philosophy of Aristotle”. What, in your opinion, is Aristotle’s position in contemporary world philosophy and in today’s world in general?
We are organizing the World Congress to honor the philosopher 2.400 years after his birth. He is the only philosopher that was a disciple of Plato for twenty years. There has never been a pupil in history who had the same teacher for so long. Philosophy, as an ethical science par excellence, owes its substance to Plato and Aristotle. We examine his important influence in science in the meta-Aristotelian era. For example, even in Byzantium Aristotle influenced philosophy, but in the following periods, too. He was referred to as “the philosopher”, because they believed no-one else existed like him. Aristotle’s philosophy is taught at all Universities in the world. He is present especially today. Aristotle and Plato’s teachings are taught, at every place where philosophical education is applied. Reliable editions of his works were published in Leipzig and Oxford. Aristotle represents a unique intellect, a multi-faceted personality that speaks the truth and only the truth. That is, he is not a demagogue. He is a critical mind and has objectivity. He is present in all epochs.
Greece is lost today in the middle of a crisis without precedent. What could it learn from Aristotle, from his political, philosophical and ethical thought?
Aristotle, with his ethics in the book “Nicomachean Ethics” and with his political philosophy in the book “Politics”, has expressed such ideas that, whoever follows them, will learn the correct way to act. It is there that all important theorems are contained concerning human values. If ones straggles away from Aristotle and Plato, one ends up in barbarity and ignorance. Greece is always in the middle of a crisis. This is due to her geostrategic position on the world map. Throughout all my life, I cannot remember a time when such carelessness prevailed. This situation never lasted for long. Greece has not followed Aristotle’s political and ethical philosophy. If our politicians had had Aristotle’s virtue, we would not have ended up here. Until the Second World War, there were politicians, such as Plastiras, who died in debt. The Americanism began to enter in political life in Greece after the political changeover. We were defeated by the bad policies that were followed by the politicians of our times. The younger generation must follow Aristotle’s politics and see the needs of human beings in their inner selves. It is always possible for us to take advantage of this philosopher.