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9780375757990

Basic Works of Aristotle
Basic Works of Aristotle
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  • ISBN-13: 9780375757990
  • ISBN: 0375757996
  • Publication Date: 2001
  • Publisher: Random House Inc

AUTHOR

McKeon, Richard, Aristotle, Reeve, C. D. C.

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SUMMARY

Preface The study of an ancient writer might appropriately envisage one or more of three objectives: the re-discovery and appreciation of past accomplishments and thoughts, the assemblage for present employment of odd, edifying, or useful items of information or knowledge, or the inquiry into truths whose specifications do not change with time. Although these three ends sometimes coincide in the reading of a philosopher who has been studied for centuries, the usual fate of philosophers, notwithstanding the concern for truth evinced in their writings, is to suffer doctrinal dismemberment by later philosophers and to undergo at the hands of historians and philologists reconstructions in which doctrine is barely discernible. As a result of the possible diversification of these ends, the influences that have been attributed to the thoughts of philosophers are not always easily calculable from examination of their own statements, yet the paradoxes, no less than the cumulative lines of progress, in intellectual history suggest the three ideals relevant to an introduction to the philosophy of Aristotle and selections from his works. An introduction to the works of a philosopher should, first, since it is intended to supply aids to understanding the man and his thought, be specific and clear in its authentication of the information it conveys. The words of the philosopher himself are the best means by which to achieve such authenticity, and therefore the works of Aristotle have been reproduced intact and unabridged so far as the generous limits of space in this large volume have made such reproduction practicable and, where omissions have been unavoidable, the fact of the omission and the character of the omitted portions have been indicated as explicitly as possible. To select and rearrange small fragments of a philosopher's works is to recompose them and often to alter the doctrines they express. Therefore instead of parcels and snatches selected and pieced together with an eye to what seems more likely to catch the interest of the reader, the entire texts of seven of the most important books are included, and even when omissions have been made from the other seven works of which parts are published in this edition, entire books or entire chapters have been retained. The vast labors which have been expended on the text of Aristotle during the last century have greatly facilitated the study of his philosophy. The monumental Oxford translation of his works into English, completed in 1931, was made possible by antecedent scholarly efforts, in which philologists have engaged at least since the publication of the great modern edition of Aristotle's works by the Berlin Academy between 1831 and 1870, to determine and to clarify what Aristotle says. That translation is readable and makes Aristotle's philosophy available to readers untrained in Greek as no previous English translation had. The eleven volumes of the Oxford translation can be reduced to a single volume, once the clearly inauthentic works have been excluded from consideration, without too serious loss of portions that bear on problems of general philosophic interest. The texts of seven works are complete: the Physics, On generation and corruption, On the soul, the Metaphysics, the Nicomachean ethics, the Politics, and the Poetics. For the most part omissions are from the four biological works; several of the Short natural treatises are omitted; of the physical works only the Meteorology and a portion of one of the four books of On the heavens are omitted; similarly three of the six books of the Organon and one of the three books of the Rhetoric are in part omitted; the Constitution of Athens is not included. Of the works which are commonly held to be authentic only three are not reproduced even in partial selectionthe Meteorology, On the progression of animals, and the Constitution of Athens; or, if the tendency tMcKeon, Richard is the author of 'Basic Works of Aristotle', published 2001 under ISBN 9780375757990 and ISBN 0375757996.

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