This is a philosophical introduction to Aristotle, and Professor Lear starts where Aristotle himself started. He introduces us to the essence of Aristotle's philosophy and guides us through all the central Aristotelian texts--selected from the Physics, Metaphysics, Ethics, Politics and the biological and logical works. The book is written in a direct, lucid style that engages the reader with the themes in an active and participatory manner. It will prove a stimulating introduction for all students of Greek philosophy and for a wide range of others interested in Aristotle as a giant figure in Western intellectual history.
This is a 1988 philosophical introduction to Aristotle, and Professor Lear starts where Aristotle himself starts. The first sentence of the Metaphysics states that all human beings by their nature desire to know. But what is it for us to be animated by this desire in this world? What is it for a creature to have a nature; what is our human nature; what must the world be like to be intelligible; and what must we be like to understand it systematically? Through a consideration of these questions Professor Lear introduces us to the essence of Aristotle's philosophy and guides us through the central Aristotelian texts - selected from the Physics, Metaphysics, Ethics, Politics and from the biological and logical works. The book is written in a direct, lucid style which engages the reader with the themes in an active, participatory manner.
Separated by millennia, Aristotle and Sigmund Freud gave us disparate but compelling pictures of the human condition. But if, with Jonathan Lear, we scrutinize these thinkers' attempts to explain human behavior in terms of a higher principle--whether happiness or death--the pictures fall apart. Aristotle attempted to ground ethical life in human striving for happiness, yet he didn't understand what happiness is any better than we do. Happiness became an enigmatic, always unattainable, means of seducing humankind into living an ethical life. Freud fared no better when he tried to ground human striving, aggression, and destructiveness in the death drive, like Aristotle attributing purpose where none exists. Neither overarching principle can guide or govern "the remainder of life," in which our inherently disruptive unconscious moves in breaks and swerves to affect who and how we are. Lear exposes this tendency to self-disruption for what it is: an opening, an opportunity for new possibilities. His insights have profound consequences not only for analysis but for our understanding of civilization and its discontent.
Dr Lear explores Aristotle's philosophy of logic through logical consequence, validity and proof.
Explores the relationship between philosophers' and psychoanalysts' attempts to discover how man thinks and perceives himself
Gabriel Richardson Lear presents a bold new approach to one of the enduring debates about Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics: the controversy about whether it coherently argues that the best life for humans is one devoted to a single activity, namely philosophical contemplation. Many scholars oppose this reading because the bulk of the Ethics is devoted to various moral virtues--courage and generosity, for example--that are not in any obvious way either manifestations of philosophical contemplation or subordinated to it. They argue that Aristotle was inconsistent, and that we should not try to read the entire Ethics as an attempt to flesh out the notion that the best life aims at the "monistic good" of contemplation. In defending the unity and coherence of the Ethics, Lear argues that, in Aristotle's view, we may act for the sake of an end not just by instrumentally bringing it about but also by approximating it. She then argues that, for Aristotle, the excellent rational activity of moral virtue is an approximation of theoretical contemplation. Thus, the happiest person chooses moral virtue as an approximation of contemplation in practical life. Richardson Lear bolsters this interpretation by examining three moral virtues--courage, temperance, and greatness of soul--and the way they are fine. Elegantly written and rigorously argued, this is a major contribution to our understanding of a central issue in Aristotle's moral philosophy.
The most accessible and comprehensive guide to Aristotle currently available.
Substance and Essence in Aristotle is a close study of Aristotle's most profound—and perplexing—treatise: Books VII-IX of the Metaphysics. These central books, which focus on the nature of substance, have gained a deserved reputation for their difficulty, inconclusiveness, and internal inconsistency. Despite these problems, Witt extracts from Aristotle's text a coherent and provocative view about sensible substance by focusing on Aristotle's account of form or essence. After exploring the context in which Aristotle's discussion of sensible substance takes place, Witt turns to his analysis of essence. Arguing against the received interpretation, according to which essences are classificatory, Witt maintains that a substance's essence is what causes it to exist. In addition, Substance and Essence in Aristotle challenges the orthodox view that Aristotelian essences are species-essences, defending instead the controversial position that they are individual essences. Finally, Witt compares Aristotelian essentialism to contemporary essentialist theories, focusing in particular on Kripke's work. She concludes that fundamental differences between Aristotelian and contemporary essentialist theories highlight important features of Aristotle's theory and the philosophical problems and milieu that engendered it.
Edited by Richard McKeon, with an introduction by C.D.C. Reeve 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 ebook 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.
Reconstructs Aristotle's account of desire from his various scattered remarks. Of relevance to anyone interested in Aristotle's ethics or psychology.
Though Aristotle is universally acknowledged as having a mighty influence on the history of philosophy, large parts of his writings are often thought to be interesting to nobody except the historian. This includes those treatises known as the theoretical works (preeminently the Metaphysics, Physics, De Anima, and Posterior Analytics). However, the contributions in this book show that these old treatises are still profound resources for philosophical inquiry. Not only do they inform us about the origins of our ideas, but equally they express insights that always stand in need of reinterpretation, and thus challenge our understanding. That challenge to understanding – and ultimately the desire for self-understanding, the desire to know what stands at the source of thinking itself – this was at the heart of the Greek ideal of philosophy, and some would say that this is still the task of the discipline. The essays included here cover a wide range of topics, including Aristotle’s treatment of non-contradiction, the tension between his conceptions of knowledge and being, the complexity of the term ‘potency,’ and the relation between psychology and physics.
What is the good life for a human being? Aristotle’s exploration of this question in the Nicomachean Ethics has established it as a founding work of Western philosophy, though its teachings have long puzzled readers and provoked spirited discussion. Adopting a radically new point of view, Ronna Burger deciphers some of the most perplexing conundrums of this influential treatise by approaching it as Aristotle’s dialogue with the Platonic Socrates. Tracing the argument of the Ethics as it emerges through that approach, Burger’s careful reading shows how Aristotle represents ethical virtue from the perspective of those devoted to it while standing back to examine its assumptions and implications. “This is the best book I have read on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. It is so well crafted that reading it is like reading the Ethics itself, in that it provides an education in ethical matters that does justice to all sides of the issues.”—Mary P. Nichols, Baylor University
On the Soul is also known by its Latin title De Anima or its Greek title Peri Psuchês What does it mean to be a natural living thing? Are plants and animals alive simply because of an arrangement of material parts, or does life spring from something else? In this timeless and profound inquiry, Aristotle presents a view of the psyche that avoids the simplifications both of the materialists and those who believe in the soul as something quite distinct from body. On the Soul also includes Aristotle's idiosyncratic and influential account of light and colors. On Memory and Recollection continues the investigation of some of the topics introduced in On the Soul. Sachs's fresh and jargon-free approach to the translation of Aristotle, his lively and insightful introduction, and his notes and glossaries, all bring out the continuing relevance of Aristotle's thought to biological and philosophical questions.
"This addition to the Clarendon Aristotle series comprises a new translation of Aristotle's Metaphysics Book [Theta], an introduction to the basic notions and problems around which the book is structured, and a detailed chapter-by-chapter critical commentary. Makin's aim throughout is to present Aristotle's text in as accessible a manner as possible, and to encourage and enable readers to engage critically with Aristotle's arguments. Metaphysics Book [Theta] is an extended discussion of the distinction between the actual and the potential, a distinction which is important both for Aristotle's own thought and for later philosophers. Aristotle starts by considering the relation between capacities and changes, and then expands his discussion to cover the notions of matter and substance, which are at the heart of his ontology. Among the topics covered in detail in the commentary are the distinctions between two-way and one-way capacities, and between rational and non-rational capacities; arguments against reductive views of possibility and impossibility; Aristotle's treatment of capacity identity and his account of the exercise of capacities; Aristotle's answer to the question 'what is it to be potentially such and such?'; his defence of the idea that actuality is prior in various ways to potentiality; and his brief comments on the evaluation of potentialities and actualities, the role of the actual-potential distinction in geometrical knowledge, and his treatment of truth and falsity." --Book Jacket.
Can reason absorb the psyche’s nonrational elements into a conception of the fully realized human being? Without a good answer to that question, Jonathan Lear says, philosophy is cut from its moorings in human life. He brings into conversation psychoanalysis and moral philosophy, which together form a basis for ethical thought about how to live.
The Metaphysics presents Aristotle's mature rejection of both the Platonic theory that what we perceive is just a pale reflection of reality and the hardheaded view that all processes are ultimately material. He argued instead that the reality or substance of things lies in their concrete forms, and in so doing he probed some of the deepest questions of philosophy: What is existence? How is change possible? And are there certain things that must exist for anything else to exist at all? The seminal notions discussed in The Metaphysics - of 'substance' and associated concepts of matter and form, essence and accident, potentiality and actuality - have had a profound and enduring influence, and laid the foundations for one of the central branches of Western philosophy.
The Middle Included is the first comprehensive account of the Ancient Greek word logos in Aristotelian philosophy. Logos means many things in the Aristotelian corpus: essential formula, proportion, reason, and language. Surveying these meanings in Aristotle’s logic, physics, and ethics, Ömer Aygün persuasively demonstrates that these divers meanings of logos all refer to a basic sense of “gathering” or “inclusiveness.” In this sense, logos functions as a counterpart to a formal version of the principles of non-contradiction and of the excluded middle in his corpus. Aygün thus shifts Aristotle’s traditional image from that of the father of formal logic, classificatory thinking, and exclusion to a more nuanced image of him as a thinker of inclusion. The Middle Included also explores human language in Aristotelian philosophy. After an account of acoustic phenomena and animal communication, Aygün argues that human language for Aristotle is the ability to understand and relay both first-hand experiences and non-first-hand experiences. This definition is key to understanding many core human experiences such as science, history, news media, education, sophistry, and indeed philosophy itself. Logos is thus never associated with any other animal nor with anything divine—it remains strictly and rigorously secular, humane, and yet full of the wonder.
A unified interpretation of Aristotle's views about the distinctive nature and value of political community, rule and participation.
Nature Speaks recovers the common ground shared between physics—what used to be known as "natural philosophy"—and fiction-writing as ways of representing the natural world. In doing so, it traces how nature gained an authoritative voice in the late medieval period only to lose it at the outset of modernity.