Sheila asked:

Who is greater, Aristotle or Kant? and why?

Answer by Craig Skinner

My vote goes to Aristotle.

Here’s why.

Both are giants of philosophy, in their different ways, and I couldnt choose between them in this regard. But Aristotle was a great scientist, logician and literary critic as well.

To mention just a couple of their enduring contributions to philosophy.


  • virtue ethics is flourishing with lively ongoing philosophical debate, as well as appeal to notions of good character and habits by parents everywhere when bringing up children
  • ideas of proper function, ends and purposes, remain very influential in biology and in a naturalistic approach to human nature.


  • deontological ethics is also flourishing, both philosophically, and in appeals by parents to duty and right action.
  • ideas of forms of perception and categories of understanding are very influential in cognitive science.

But Aristotle pulls away with his other achievements.

  • his physics is often derided these days. Unfairly so. Given the accepted cosmology of his day (Earth-centred system of concentric circles), his physics is a coherent system of fluid mechanics which held sway for 1500 years till Newton came up with something better.
  • his field work in marine biology is suberb, it’s like reading Darwin. He is one of the great biologists.
  • his logic was only improved on in the 19th  Century.
  • I am not big on the arts, but leading classicists regard his analysis of tragedy as “the single most important piece of literary criticism in Western culture into the twentieth century” (Beard &Henderson 2010. Classics: A Very Short Introduction. OUP).

In conclusion, whilst Aristotle and Kant are two of the three top all-time great philosophers (alongside Plato), Aristotle pulls ahead of Kant in virtue of his being a great physicist, biologist, logician and literary critic.