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Aristotle for Everybody

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  708 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
Aristotle (384 - 322 B.C.) taught logic to Alexander the Great and, by virtue of his philosophical works, to every philosopher since, from Marcus Aurelius, to Thomas Aquinas, to Mortimer J. Adler. Now Adler instructs the world in the "uncommon common sense" of Aristotelian logic, presenting Aristotle's understandings in a current, delightfully lucid way. He brings Aristotl ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 1st 1997 by Touchstone (first published 1978)
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David Goade No, definitely not. Any adult lay person who is curious about Greek philosophy should really enjoy this book. I first read it in my early twenties and…moreNo, definitely not. Any adult lay person who is curious about Greek philosophy should really enjoy this book. I first read it in my early twenties and then read The Desire to Understand by Jonathan Lear. Aristotle's original works are extremely dense reading. I've found books about those works very helpful.(less)

Community Reviews

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Riku Sayuj

Aristotle IS Everybody

We often come across teachers or books getting us to understand a philosopher. It is only common sense, they say. See, this is their thought: in a nutshell. See how easy it is? You already knew all this. You just have to remember that this guy talked of it first.

You read those and come away with a feeling that you now understand the philosopher. Worse, you might come away feeling that the great guy was so wrong! Surely you are quite smart if you know more than Aristotle!

Erik Graff
Sep 27, 2013 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Aristotle beginners
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: philosophy
In 1980, two years after completing a professional degree in psychology, after two years of earning a living as a childcare worker for ostensibly 'psychotic' adolescent boys, I decided to return to school. I'd liked the jobs I'd had, but they had no future and such challenges as they'd originally posed had been overcome.

My psychology degree hadn't been a practical one, my focus being on the depth psychologies of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, my thesis having been on Kant's influence on
May 26, 2012 C rated it it was amazing
This is the second book my Mortimer J. Adler that I have read. The first was ‘How to Read a Book.’ I know, how can you read a book titled How to Read a Book, if you don’t already know how to read? Adler already expected his audience to be literate, the point of the book was to read and comprehend, ascertain, and fully exercise one’s understanding faculties, when reading ANY book, no matter how difficult. Although that book was required school reading, it was one of the clearest texts I’ve ever r ...more
Kenneth Hicks
Feb 21, 2015 Kenneth Hicks rated it it was amazing
Starting in college, I tried to read Aristotle and found it hard going, to say the least. Every few years, thinking that maybe I was becoming more mature with age (hah!), I would pick the book up and try again. The only part of his writing that I got through without a problem was his writings on the various constitutions of the Greek city states, which was pretty much straight history. Anyway, I had already read one book by Mortimer Adler that was written with wonderful clarity about a difficult ...more
Apr 29, 2016 Rizwan rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
A great introduction to Aristotle. And I read it twice.

Clearly written, without resorting to the opaque and - the ideas are well structured and though it barely grazes Aristotle's breadth of work, it introduces some of his most important ideas on logic, ethics, and epistemology.

It is also very well structured, new chapters lead on from earlier chapters, answering questions that were raised and reinforcing ideas that were already introduced.
Yasin Ramazan
May 25, 2016 Yasin Ramazan rated it it was amazing
very simple and quick explanations for Aristotle's philosophy. It is not shallow though. The matters he is dealing with are all important from a philosophical point of view.
May 13, 2014 Melora rated it liked it
I didn't realize, when I started this, that it was intended for young readers -- Adler mentions that his 11 year old and 13 year old sons critiqued the manuscript. His tone is, at a few points, annoyingly condescending, but otherwise this was a pleasant, quick introduction to Aristotle. Actually, aside from the section on Eternity, which was new to me, most of this was familiar, but a little review never hurts.

A friend of mine who sampled this and decided against it commented that it seemed lik
Sep 04, 2012 Erica rated it really liked it
This book establishes Aristotle's "uncommon common sense" as central to the thinking of our everyday lives in Western society--that is, society that has come out of the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian traditions. The early chapters seem to illustrate truths so elementary that it is strange to realize that there was a time that these notions were not regarded as common knowledge. The later chapters regarding Aristotle's logic and terminology were painful to me. I have studied symbolic logic and f ...more
Clay Kallam
Jun 24, 2009 Clay Kallam rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Mortimer J. Adler is a renowned philospher, but this slim paperback avoid the jargon and linguistic complexities that make modern philosophy too often turgid and self-involved. Instead, Adler just summarizes Aristotle's thought, and though at times it seems a little too simplistic, at book's end, the reader will have a clear and distinct impression of Aristotle's philosophy.

At the same time, the reader will begin to understand why Aristotle was so revered in medieval times: The range and depth o
Aaron Crofut
Dec 22, 2016 Aaron Crofut rated it really liked it
A good little book introducing Aristotelian thought. The major points are all clearly explained: Essentials and Accidents, Natural and Artificial, types of changes (quantity, quality, time, and being/nonbeing), the Four Causes, the notion of Eudemonia or Happiness as our teleological end; Ends and Means, three of the four cardinal virtues, man as a political animal, the ends of the state, how ideas are formed in our head and how that's different from sense perception, and the basics of logic.

Sep 19, 2015 James rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
An excellent intro to Aristotle in particular and philosophy in general.
Jul 26, 2008 Mike rated it did not like it
After this book I remembered why I did not want to major in Philosophy.
Nov 08, 2016 Jerzy rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
I picked up this book, hoping for a guide to reading Aristotle myself. In that sense, Adler did help me by giving a summary of where A is going, to recall the big picture when I'm mired in his dense arguments. But I wish it spent more time on *why* it's worth reading A at all. Instead, Adler actually discourages you from reading A directly!

As other reviewers have also pointed out, this book is mostly
"Here are some conclusions Aristotle came to"
without much context. I came away unsure why he even
185 ADL

Plato: man and women are equal
Aristotle(a student of Plato): born 384 B.C, man and women are not equal
Plato: a student of Socrates

My review: this book is about "Introduction to common sense of Aristotle", which regard by the author as Aristotle's uncommon common sense. It is well written, simple and compact and very well organized. Each chapter answer the questioned lead by previous chapter. very logical and reasoning.

Part I Man the philosophical Animals
Philosophical Games; The great Div
Ben Denison
Feb 01, 2017 Ben Denison rated it it was ok
Shelves: library
I figured Adler could explain Aristotle in an interesting way. I was wrong.
Mike W
May 10, 2013 Mike W rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy

This is a decent introduction to Aristotle's thought. In it, Mortimer Adler presents the great thinkers ideas clearly and logically-but also prosaically. It is true that Aristotle's own writings lack the poetry and eloquence of Plato's, but that might be because the works we have were merely lecture notes transcribed by his students, rather than Aristotle's own literary creations. And there are certainly passages in Aristotle's works that sparkle, like this description of the "great-souled man":
Blaine Welgraven
Jan 07, 2017 Blaine Welgraven rated it really liked it
Helpful in many ways, Adler's work is strongest when it's explaining the concept of Aristotle's Prime Mover, which it does in remarkably succinct, comprehensive language.
Joseph R.
Feb 23, 2015 Joseph R. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read_2015, philosophy
Writing a comprehensive and concise summary of Aristotle's ideas is a difficult task, especially if the author wishes it to be accessible not only to the average reader but also to children in middle school. That ambition is what Mortimer Adler aimed at with this book. His thirteen year-old and his eleven year-old read the manuscript and gave helpful feedback, so he certainly thinks it is a success. But is it readable for children who don't have a professional philosopher and intellectual for a ...more
May 31, 2012 Edward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This small book is a good first introduction to Aristotle and it is easily read. However, it requires some amount of attention on the reader’s part to understand the import of what Adler is talking about otherwise certain points can easily slip by.

Some of the early chapters can be frustrating because Aristotle gives the appearance that he can prove anything just by choosing his arguments to fit his observations which gives one the impression that his argument is circular. Aristotle can be forgiv
Aug 12, 2012 Brian rated it really liked it
I picked this up in my beginning philosophy class at BYU and it's been unread on my shelf since then. Now, clearly more sophisticated (ptbfbbb!), I was actually interested enough to pick it up and try and understand what was written.

The concept of the book is pretty straightforward: take Aristotle's writings and put them into everyday language and concepts. It mostly succeeded in being understandable. There is a lot of ground covered in a (relatively) short number of pages, so at times it moves
Jul 11, 2013 Gene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good introduction to Greek philosophy, if I can say so without being very knowledgeable on the topic. Some of what is contained in the book helps explain some of what I've read about St. Thomas Aquinas' writings. It also seems that Chas. Murray must have gotten the backbone of what he wrote about in In Pursuit of Happiness and Good Government either directly from Aristotle (He's smart enough to have done so.) or indirectly through Adler's book or one much like it. And I also saw some pa ...more
May 23, 2015 KarmA1966 rated it liked it
If this is Aristotle for Everybody then I'd hate to see Aristotle for Nobody (golf clap, scattered groans)

I read this book in the 90s and it hit me like a puff of smoke. So, stubborn mule that I am I decided to give it another try. It didn't hit me until late in the game -- when Adler said Aristotle is a logician -- that I realized why Aristotle seemed so elusive to me. "A logician is a person whose topic of scholarly study is logic." source: wikipedia.

Ah, it all made sense. Logic for me does no
Oct 13, 2012 Jimmy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
Two common games--"Twenty Questions" and "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral"--are Aristotelian because they classify things.

Man's three dimensions:1. making not only works of art but all man-made things, 2. doing in both social and moral spheres, and 3. knowing or acquiring knowledge. Another way to put it: making is the concern for beauty, doing is the concern for the good, and knowing is the concern for the truth. Beauty, goodness, and truth.

The good man obeys just laws because he is virtuous, not
Michael Dorais
Jan 19, 2013 Michael Dorais rated it really liked it
This little book is a fast and worthwhile to read. It was written originally as a book to explain Aristotle to children ages 11 and above, but is wholly adult oriented as well.

Although Adler skirts over some difficult problems with the claims he makes, or the claims he says Aristotle makes, this is expected given the goal of this book. I think the problem with books that try to deal immediately with every problem that someone might raise loose their ability to communicate an attempt at a coheren
Colleen Patricia
Feb 12, 2017 Colleen Patricia rated it liked it
Easy to read and comprehend as Aristotle's original books are extremely difficult to understand. This is a great start when researching Aristotle's philosophies.
Eduardo Garcia-Gaspar
Jun 21, 2015 Eduardo Garcia-Gaspar rated it really liked it
Shelves: filosofía
Si la idea del "sentido común" es atractiva al lector, cuánto más lo será la del "poco común sentido común". Así califica M. Adler a Aristóteles, uno de esos hombres que llega a finalista central en cualquier lista que pueda hacerse de personajes influyentes en toda nuestra historia.
Leer los originales de Aristóteles es difícil y esa dificultad frena al lector actual. Gracias a Adler, sin embargo, el problema se resuelve para el lector de estos tiempos, el que ahora tiene una guía comprensible d
Lewis Hotchkiss
Nov 18, 2013 Lewis Hotchkiss rated it really liked it
I read this when it first came out, 1978, in the dinosaur days. Adler was still big on his Great Books kick with Chicago. . . I refuse to digress! Anyhow, this book was aimed at a pop audience that had just experienced the end of the Vietnam war, the end of the crazy 1960's, and the beginning of Stagflation---the economy was experiencing a weirdness not seen before or since it ended. Look that econ term up on Google if you want. Anyhow, Adler presents much of what Aristotle is onto in concise an ...more
Dec 11, 2016 Ian rated it really liked it
Excellent introduction to Aristotelian philosophy. My one quibble is that it is not always perfectly clear when Adler is explaining Aristotle, when he is presenting one interpretation among many about what Aristotle might have meant, when he is presenting his own version of Aristotle's philosophy, or when he is synthesizing Aristotelian thought with modern thought. Adler's account of justice seems a little too biblicized, at least a little more than the Nicomachean Ethics would seem to directly ...more
Clayton Hutchins
Nov 26, 2016 Clayton Hutchins rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Decent street-level distillation of the main contours of Aristotle's thought. Adler simplifies things a lot, which is helpful in a book like this, but it can also risk reductionism. Don't let him scare you away from reading Aristotle for yourself in his epilogue. C. S. Lewis is right: great men, precisely because of their greatness, are often more understandable than their interpreters. If Adler errs--and I do not consider myself sufficiently acquainted with Aristotle to say that he certainly do ...more
Charles Lewis
Jul 01, 2011 Charles Lewis rated it really liked it
My formal education was a bit a weak but at one point I wanted to read some deeper Catholic theology. I bought the easiest version of the ST. Thomas Aquinas' "Summa" call A Shorter Summa, edited by Peter Kreeft. In the introduction Kreeft said don't even try reading and version of the Summa without some background in philosophy. His suggestion was Aristotle for Everybody. It's one of those books that will make you feel smarter and also give you the fundamental notions of logic. I'm still working ...more
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Mortimer Jerome Adler was an American educator, philosopher, and popular author. As a philosopher he worked with Aristotelian and Thomistic thought. He lived for the longest stretches in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and San Mateo. He worked for Columbia University, the University of Chicago, Encyclopædia Britannica, and Adler's own Institute for Philosophical Research.

Adler was born in N
More about Mortimer J. Adler...

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