Aristotle - book author
(Alternate European spelling: Aristoteles)
Aristotle (384–322 B.C.) numbers among the greatest philosophers of all time. Judged solely in terms of his philosophical influence, only Plato is his peer: Aristotle's works shaped centuries of philosophy from Late Antiquity through the Renaissance, and even today continue to be studied with keen, non-antiquarian interest. A prodigious researcher and writer, Aristotle left a great body of work, perhaps numbering as many as two-hundred treatises, from which approximately thirty-one survive. His extant writings span a wide range of disciplines, from logic, metaphysics and philosophy of mind, through ethics, political theory, aesthetics and rhetoric, and into such primarily non-philosophical fields as empirical biology, where he excelled at detailed plant and animal observation and taxonomy. In all these areas, Aristotle's theories have provided illumination, met with resistance, sparked debate, and generally stimulated the sustained interest of an abiding readership.
Because of its wide range and its remoteness in time, Aristotle's philosophy defies easy encapsulation. The long history of interpretation and appropriation of Aristotelian texts and themes—spanning over two millennia and comprising philosophers working within a variety of religious and secular traditions—has rendered even basic points of interpretation controversial. The set of entries on Aristotle in this site addresses this situation by proceeding in three tiers. First, the present, general entry offers a brief account of Aristotle's life and characterizes his central philosophical commitments, highlighting his most distinctive methods and most influential achievements. Second are General Topics which offer detailed introductions to the main areas of Aristotle's philosophical activity. Finally, there follow Special Topics which investigate in greater detail more narrowly focused issues, especially those of central concern in recent Aristotelian scholarship
Aristotle is the author of books: Politics, The Nicomachean Ethics, Poetics, Metaphysics, De Anima, Physics, The Art of Rhetoric, The Complete Works: The Revised Oxford Translation, Vol. 1, The Basic Works of Aristotle, The Rhetoric & The Poetics of Aristotle
Both heavily influenced by and critical of Plato's Republic and Laws, Politics represents the distillation of a lifetime of thought and observation. "Encyclopaedic knowledge has never, before or since, gone hand in hand with a logic so masculine or with speculation so profound," says H. W. C. Davis in his introduction. Students, teachers, and scholars will welcome this inexpensive new edition of the Benjamin Jowett translation, as will all readers interested in Greek thought, political theory, and depictions of the ideal state.
In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle sets out to examine the nature of happiness. He argues that happiness consists in ‘activity of the soul in accordance with virtue’, for example with moral virtues, such as courage, generosity and justice, and intellectual virtues, such as knowledge, wisdom and insight. The Ethics also discusses the nature of practical reasoning, the value and the objects of pleasure, the different forms of friendship, and the relationship between individual virtue, society and the State. Aristotle’s work has had a profound and lasting influence on all subsequent Western thought about ethical matters.
J. A. K. Thomson’s translation has been revised by Hugh Tredennick, and is accompanied by a new introduction by Jonathan Barnes. This edition also includes an updated list for further reading and a new chronology of Aristotle’s life and works.
Previously published as Ethics
In his near-contemporary account of Greek tragedy, Aristotle examines the dramatic elements of plot, character, language and spectacle that combine to produce pity and fear in the audience, and asks why we derive pleasure from this apparently painful process. Taking examples from the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, The Poetics introduces into literary criticism such central concepts as mimesis (‘imitation’), hamartia (‘error’), and katharsis (‘purification’). Aristotle explains how the most effective tragedies rely on complication and resolution, recognition and reversals, centring on characters of heroic stature, idealized yet true to life. One of the most powerful, perceptive and influential works of criticism in Western literary history, the Poetics has informed serious thinking about drama ever since.
Malcolm Heath’s lucid English translation makes the Poetics fully accessible to the modern reader. It is accompanied by an extended introduction, which discusses the key concepts in detail and includes suggestions for further reading.
For the Pre-Socratic philosophers the soul was the source of movement and sensation, while for Plato it was the seat of being, metaphysically distinct from the body that it was forced temporarily to inhabit. Plato's student Aristotle was determined to test the truth of both these beliefs against the emerging sciences of logic and biology. His examination of the huge variety of living organisms - the enormous range of their behaviour, their powers and their perceptual sophistication - convinced him of the inadequacy both of a materialist reduction and of a Platonic sublimation of the soul. In De Anima, he sought to set out his theory of the soul as the ultimate reality of embodied form and produced both a masterpiece of philosophical insight and a psychology of perennially fascinating subtlety.
Hugh Lawson-Tancred's masterly translation makes De Anima fully accessible to modern readers. In his introduction, he places Aristotle's theories at the heart of contemporary debates on the philosophy of life and being.
Preserved by Arabic mathematicians and canonized by Christian scholars, Aristotle's works have shaped Western thought, science, and religion for nearly two thousand years. Richard McKeon's The Basic Works of Aristotle--constituted out of the definitive Oxford translation and in print as a Random House hardcover for sixty years--has long been considered the best available one-volume Aristotle. Appearing in paperback at long last, this edition includes selections from the Organon, On the Heavens, The Short Physical Treatises, Rhetoric, among others, and On the Soul, On Generation and Corruption, Physics, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, and Poetics in their entirety.