Maslow and Aristotle: Similarities and differences

Essay by memyselfCollege, Undergraduate October 2008

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Maslow and Aristotle:

Similarities and differences

Paula Medina

PHIL 2306-201

Dr. Bruce Beck

September, 16th 2008

Maslow and Aristotle:

Similarities and differences

Abraham Harold Maslow (1908-1970) was a psychologist and visionary who pioneered revolutionary ideas that helped form modern psychology (Hoffman, 1988, p. XV). He strived to find the good in people, "the best of humanity" through positive psychology. His greatest contribution to the psychology world was probably the hierarchy of needs. One of his greatest influences was Aristotle and one can clearly see that on the hierarchy of needs. In this essay we are going to examine Maslow's hierarchy of needs and Aristotle's psychological and moral theory, and how their similarities and differences, but most of all we are going to see the influence Aristotle has in Maslow's development of the hierarchy of needs.


Like Aristotle, Maslow viewed self-sufficiency (self-actualization) as the highest achievement in a human being's life.

Self-actualization, or self-sufficiency, is that "which when isolated makes life desirable and lacking in nothing" (Denise, White, and Peterfreund, 2008, p. 26). One can also see Aristotle reflected on the fourth step of the hierarchy: esteem. In Aristotle believed that we each fulfilled our humanness by developing our naturally given potentials, and that by achieving those potentials one could achieve happiness within one's self. When it comes to love and belongingness they are also alike: Aristotle believed that "man was born for citizenship" (Denise, White, and Peterfreund, 2008, p. 26) and that self-sufficiency involved one's relationship with his/her family and fellow citizens. This definition could also be linked to the safety needs: social safety. To achieve self-actualization (happiness or self-sufficiency) there must be a balance of everything; there should be no excess and no deficiency.,

In Aristotle's view there...