Plato and Aristotle, mentor and protege, as well as two of the most influential philosophical thinkers to have ever lived, take two entirely different approaches when discussing the maters of epistemology and the formation of city-states. Ideologically, Plato defined the nature of the things through metaphysics and in theoretical terms, as opposed to actual. By looking to "higher forms," he sought to explain the role of pre-existing knowledge and understanding in the search for "absolute truth." Conversely, Aristotle was concerned with the more physical aspects of nature, primarily Natural Sciences. The major distinctions can be viewed in differing opinions between the two over: forms and causation,(mainly how the relate to change), eternal ideas, and the role of observation and explanation through use of the senses. It was through their differing approaches about the nature of man that both explained the relationship between an individual and society, as well as the need for government to maintain order and stability. Plato's kalliopolis (or ideal city-state) and Aristotle's notion of the ideal relationship between the social order and government for an actual city-state are in disagreement not over the telos, or end they wished to achieve, but rather over the means they proposed to meet that end. Aristotle's objections and corrections can be traced to his more actual and scientific ideologies clashing with abstract and theoretical of Plato. .
In order to understand and refute the guidelines of Plato's ideal city-state, it is first necessary to understand the foundations of his theoretical ideology. At the root of man's quest for knowledge lies the "Theory of Forms," which states that there is a "higher" form for everything that exists in the world. Each material thing is simply a representation of the real thing which is the form. The majority of people are unable to see the forms, only the representation or shadow of the form.