I would like to know if there are any systematic and comprehensive texts on synthesising Aristotle and Plato (mainly that come from a Neoplatonism stand point since I know this joining of the two philosophers' systems was a major objective of the Neoplatonists). After searching for a while I couldn't find any texts that were dedicated entirely to this matter so I'm guessing the topic is just covered generally in neoplatonic works without explicit indication.

2 Answers 2


Aristotle and Other Platonists by Lloyd P. Gerson is dedicated to this issue.

From the introduction:

Aristotle versus Plato. For a long time that is the angle from which the tale has been told, in textbooks on the history of philosophy and to university students. Aristotle’s philosophy, so the story goes, was au fond in opposition to Plato’s. But it was not always thus.

This book aims to give an account of how the perception of harmony arose among these Platonists, how it was articulated and defended, and to what extent it is justified.


A good start is the entry neoplatonism from Stanford Online encyclopedia. Here is a quote from its introduction:

However, and more importantly, their [= the Neoplatonists’] signature project is more accurately described as a grand synthesis of an intellectual heritage that was by then exceedingly rich and profound. In effect, they absorbed, appropriated, and creatively harmonized almost the entire Hellenic tradition of philosophy, religion, and even literature—with the exceptions of Epicureanism, which they roundly rejected, and the thoroughgoing corporealism of the Stoics. […]

The most fundamental of these assumptions, which the Neoplatonists shared with the majority of intellectuals of the ancient world, including most pre-Socratic thinkers as well as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and their followers, is that mindful consciousness (nous, often translated as thought, intelligence, or intellect) is in an important sense ontologically prior to the physical realm typically taken for ultimate reality (Mind over Matter).

There existed a dispute between Plato and Aristotle over whether or not the objects of mindful consciousness (abstract concepts, Platonic or otherwise, numbers, geometrical properties, and so forth) are also ontologically prior, but the Neoplatonists regarded this fact as a matter of inconsequential detail.

  1. Hence the project of the Neoplatonists was the grand synthesis of the philosophical approaches of nearly all of their predecessors.

    Aristotle was a student of Plato. But Aristotle argues against the theory of forms, one of the main doctrines of his teacher, in Aristotle’s “Metaphysics, book I, Chap. 9”, see Metaphysics.

  2. I cannot imagine how a synthesis of the two positions of Plato and Aristotle could look like. And I question that the proponents of such a synthesis did a careful reading of the original texts. We have their texts. Both philosophers belong to the most studied philosophers of all time.

Therefore: Who votes for an integration of the ideas of Plato and Aristotle should support his/her claim by pointing to specific texts of the two.

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