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The Complete Works of Aristotle (Revised…

The Complete Works of Aristotle (Revised Oxford Translation) (1984)

by Aristotle

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Although the treatises on Sleep intrigued me prior to reading this, I really read this collection more for the sake of thoroughness than anything else. I have to say that it is probably the least interesting of the Aristotelian collections--and given Aristotle's pedantic tendencies, that's really saying something. I skipped the treatise on Memory and Reminiscence here because I had already read it previously in a book coupled with his De Anima.

I am not going to grade the book on it's obsolete knowledge; that would be anachronistically unfair; given the march of 2300 years, one has to accept that science (then called natural or physical philosophy) was in it's infancy at that time. It is interesting though that some of the philosophers that Aristotle maligns were actually closer to the truth than he was. It does indicate that someone's logic can seem totally valid and still be totally wrong.

If one keeps in mind Aristotle's general approach to nature and philosophical physics, one can anticipate most of the basic arguments of this book without reading it. The four elements (i.e. earth, water, air, fire) and how they influence environment and bodies (e.g. in moistness/dryness and heat/cold) figure into most of Aristotle's positions. Temperature seems to be the main deciding factor for life according to Aristotle. If an animal is too hot it dies from exhaustion, if too cold, from depletion.

I was disappointed with the treatises on Sleep. I thought at least the one on Divination In Dreams would be somewhat novel and metaphysical, but it wasn't. I shouldn't have been surprised given Aristotle's very mundane explanations for all phenomena.

I give this book probably about two-and-a-half to three stars. Honestly, one can easily skip this collection if one wants to concentrate on Aristotle's essential philosophy. There's not much here that isn't discussed in other works--and probably in more interesting ways in those. The treatise On Memory and Reminiscence is probably the best of what is here and that can be obtained in a book coupled with his De Anima and that is the one I would recommend rather than this. ( )
  Erick_M | Aug 27, 2018 |
Rated: D+
The New Lifetime Reading Plan: Number 13

OK, I'll confess. I'm not an Aristotle fan. I chose to read "Nicomachean Ethics", "Politics" and "Poetics" because it was on The New Lifetime Reading Plan by Clifton Fadiman. Obviously, around 350 B.C., basic concepts regarding alternative governments and their variations had not been thought through too well. Aristotle does a great job of reasoning through all of the good and bad points in a logical progression. He does the same with what makes a person "Happy" and the good, bad and ugly of tragedy vs. epic poetry. The granularity is excruciating and I found myself reading words just to read words.

Learned some things in "Ethics" about his view on temperaments. Loved what he says in "Politics, Book VII, Part 13": "This makes men fancy that external goods are the cause of happiness, yet we might as well say that a brilliant performance on the lyre was to be attributed to the instrument and not to the skill of the performer." His comments on poets (Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides) and their works shed a more contemporary critic. ( )
  jmcdbooks | Jan 27, 2013 |
One of the foundation authors of my personal philosophy and perhaps the greatest thinker who ever lived. We only have what were notes to his lectures, yet reading them I feel the power of his mind is always present. The books included in this two-volume set range from the foundation of thinking of logic, scientific speculation on physics, psychology and astronomy, metaphysics, and moral guidelines with the Nicomachean Ethics perhaps the acme of his philosophy. I also especially enjoyed the five books on animals (history, parts, movement, progression, and generation). His powers of observation were unsurpassed and the connections that can be made between the books helps to develop a better understanding of his ideas. I would recommend Aristotle for those interested in the foundations of philosophy (along with the Dialogues of Plato). ( )
  jwhenderson | Jan 22, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0691099502, Hardcover)

The Oxford Translation of Aristotle was originally published in 12 volumes between 1912 and 1954. It is universally recognized as the standard English version of Aristotle. This revised edition contains the substance of the original Translation, slightly emended in light of recent scholarship; three of the original versions have been replaced by new translations; and a new and enlarged selection of Fragments has been added. The aim of the translation remains the same: to make the surviving works of Aristotle readily accessible to English speaking readers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:34 -0400)

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