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-   -   Did Aristotle say "no great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness"? (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=93375)

Mr. Billion 21 January 2016 06:54 PM

Did Aristotle say "no great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness"?
 
You can find a lot of quotes-mining Web sites attributing this quotation to Aristotle: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=%22no+grea...sted%22&t=ffsb

But I haven't yet been able to find one that actually says where or when Aristotle supposedly said it.

I'm no Aristotle expert, but to me it doesn't sound like something he would have said. From the way he wrote, he always seemed to me like a pretty serious kind of guy. I guess this quote could fit in with his idea of the "golden mean", but the quotation doesn't appear in either of his works on ethics, where he articulated it.

He wrote the Eudemian Ethics and Nicomachean Ethics, and neither of them speaks positively about madness.

Steve 21 January 2016 07:46 PM

Seneca attributed it to him in On the Tranquility of Mind. so either Seneca made it up, or it's from a lost work.

Tootsie Plunkette 21 January 2016 07:59 PM

Well, according to Google Translate, it's more likely that he said "κανένα μεγάλο μυαλό έχει υπάρξει ποτέ χωρίς μια δόση τρέλας" -- but who knows if that's correct either (see translated Christmas Carol thread).

Brad from Georgia 21 January 2016 08:43 PM

I thought it was "Οι άνθρωποι έχουν ανάγκη να πιστεύουν σε κάτι . Πιστεύω ότι θα έχω μια άλλη μπύρα."

UEL 22 January 2016 11:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tootsie Plunkette (Post 1903977)
Well, according to Google Translate, it's more likely that he said "κανένα μεγάλο μυαλό έχει υπάρξει ποτέ χωρίς μια δόση τρέλας" -- but who knows if that's correct either (see translated Christmas Carol thread).

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brad from Georgia (Post 1903983)
I thought it was "Οι άνθρωποι έχουν ανάγκη να πιστεύουν σε κάτι . Πιστεύω ότι θα έχω μια άλλη μπύρα."

You both beat me to the punch.

GenYus234 22 January 2016 02:06 PM

Είναι όλα ελληνικά για μένα.

DawnStorm 30 January 2016 12:54 AM

It's all Greek to me. :fish:

Richard W 30 January 2016 11:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr. Billion (Post 1903968)
I'm no Aristotle expert, but to me it doesn't sound like something he would have said. From the way he wrote, he always seemed to me like a pretty serious kind of guy.

He supposedly wrote a lost work on comedy - that's part of the plot of The Name of the Rose.

The quote wouldn't seem out of place for that, but then since it's a lost work it would be hard to verify... Seneca would perhaps still have had access to it, if it existed, though.

Furienna 07 January 2017 05:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Richard W (Post 1904987)
He supposedly wrote a lost work on comedy - that's part of the plot of The Name of the Rose.

The quote wouldn't seem out of place for that, but then since it's a lost work it would be hard to verify... Seneca would perhaps still have had access to it, if it existed, though.

But I thought that Seneca came up with that quote himself?

Richard W 07 January 2017 07:41 PM

Weird, I was trying to remember when I'd replied to this thread, but it's from this time last year... It didn't help that there's a link, also from last year, to a thread that was recently resurrected and I'd thought was more recent!

Anyway, according to Steve (who himself may be making it up, since I haven't verified his statement), Seneca attributed the statement to Aristotle, but no known work by Aristotle contains it. I pointed out that there is rumoured to be a lost work by Aristotle about comedy, and that perhaps it wasn't lost in Seneca's day, and that's where the quote came from.

Since I'm not an expert, for all I know, this missing quote from Seneca might be part of the evidence for there being a lost work by Aristotle in the first place...


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