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Emma Stone Quotes Greek Philosopher Aristotle During Oscars Speech

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In her Oscar acceptance speech, during which she triumphed as the Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in Greek Director Yorgos Lanthimos’ film Poor Things, Emma Stone eloquently employed language strikingly reminiscent of various passages from the writings of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle.

What was the Aristotle Quote that Emma Stone used?

Emma Stone said, “It’s about a team that came together to make something greater than the sum of its parts,” a sentiment that resonates with the essence of Aristotle’s philosophical concepts. For instance, Aristotle had written: “the totality is not, as it were, a mere heap, but the whole is something besides the parts” (Metaphysics, Book VIII, 1045a.8–10). Furthermore, in reference to the ancient Greek philosopher who served as the tutor to Alexander the Great, he said: “For the whole must necessarily be prior to the part” (Politics, 1, 1253a).

Let’s break down the two Aristotle quotes and see how they align with Emma Stone’s statement:

“The totality is not, as it were, a mere heap, but the whole is something besides the parts.” (Metaphysics, Book VIII, 1045a.8–10)

Aristotle here emphasizes that a whole entity or system is not simply a random collection or aggregation of individual parts. Instead, there is a unique quality or essence that emerges when these parts come together, forming a unified whole that is more than just the sum of its parts.

“For the whole must necessarily be prior to the part.” (Politics, 1, 1253a)

This statement underscores the idea that the whole entity or system takes precedence over its individual parts. The integrity and significance of the whole are crucial, and the parts derive their meaning and importance from their role within the larger context.

Now, relating these to Emma Stone’s quote:

“It’s about a team that came together to make something greater than the sum of its parts.”

Emma Stone is expressing a similar concept of unity and synergy within a team. She suggests that the collaboration of individuals in a team results in a collective achievement that transcends individual contributions. This aligns with Aristotle’s ideas by highlighting the notion that the team (the whole) is more than just the sum of its individual members (the parts). It emphasizes the significance of collaboration and the creation of something meaningful when people work together toward a common goal.

Aristotle’s phrases can be interpreted in various ways. Mathematically, the whole is equal to the sum of its parts. Psychologically, the whole is entirely different from the parts because merely adding up components is meaningless when compared to the whole.

However, more often than not, this phrase is used to convey synergy, which exists between individuals working together in a cooperative effort. Collectively, they are able to achieve an outcome superior to that of one or two people working separately.

Emma Stone clearly used Aristotle’s phrase in the latter context, to highlight how it was everybody on set—the crew, actors, director—which made the film everything that it was, and no one individual could have done it alone.

Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher

Very little is known about ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle’s life. He is thought to have been born in the city of Stagira in Northern Greece during the Classical period. His father, Nicomachus, passed away when Aristotle was only a child, and the future philosopher was raised by a guardian.

In his late teens, he joined Plato’s Academy in Athens where he remained until the age of thirty-seven (around 347 BC). Not long after Plato died, Aristotle left Athens and, at the request of Philip II of Macedon, tutored his son Alexander the Great. He established a library in the Lyceum, which helped him produce many of his hundreds of books on papyrus scrolls.

Though Aristotle wrote many elegant treatises and dialogues for publication, only around a third of his original output has survived, none of it was intended for publication. Aristotle provided a complex synthesis of the various philosophies existing prior to him. His teaching and methods of inquiry have had a significant impact across the world and remain a subject of contemporary philosophical discussion.

Aristotle’s views profoundly shaped medieval scholarship. The influence of his physical science extended from late antiquity and the Early Middle Ages into the Renaissance. It was not replaced systematically until the Enlightenment and until theories such as classical mechanics were developed.

Emma Stone quoted Aristotle, one of the greatest thinkers in history. This was during an acceptance speech she gave after winning an Oscar for a role she played in the work of yet another great Greek, Yorgos Lanthimos.

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