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Metaphysics Theta: Translated with an Introduction & Commentary

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  13,187 ratings  ·  195 reviews
Stephen Makin presents a clear and accurate new translation of an influential and much-discussed part of Aristotle's philosophical system, accompanied by an analytical and critical commentary focusing on philosophical issues. In Book Theta of the Metaphysics Aristotle introduces the concepts of actuality and potentiality--which were to remain central to philosophical analy ...more
Paperback, 332 pages
Published November 9th 2006 by Clarendon/Oxford University Press, USA (first published -330)
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Ian I don't know, but I've had a hell of a time trying to find a 'good' translation. Settled for one online by the University of Adelaide (https://ebooks.…moreI don't know, but I've had a hell of a time trying to find a 'good' translation. Settled for one online by the University of Adelaide ( It's ok. I'm wishing I'd at least bought the Complete Works Volume, with it, at least that's the well established version.

Online, and pricey, I've seen these and wanted to get them but they're cost prohibitive and they don't have every book but the one I've read has a lot of good interpretation included:
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Nina Misson
"When he to whom one speaks does not understand, and he who speaks himself does not understand, that is metaphysics."
Roy Lotz
I have very mixed feelings about Aristotle.

On the one hand, he's so tedious and uninspiring. This is only partially his fault: everything we have of his are lecture notes, and so it is no surprise that they are stylistically wanting. Many scholars think that Metaphysics contains many sections written at different times and for different purposes, which Aristotle never intended to be read together. There is even one section which may not have been written by him at all. This makes his work (parti
Riku Sayuj
May 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Riku by: AC

The Plan

I had been able to bring together my notes/thoughts for the earlier parts of this reading. Those can be found here:

Book 1: A Preliminary Outline of Philosophy

Book 2: An Introduction to Philosophical Problems

Book 3: The Basic Instruments Of Philosophy

From Book 4 onwards, it becomes slightly harder to talk about the books in isolation. Also, A became easier to follow - so I stopped using so many supplementary resources. I will try to put up a review here incorporating my reading notes, a
May 07, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
An awful text -- use Ross' Greek text.

The story goes thus: Jaeger was working on a text of the Metaphysics, when W.D. Ross published (with Oxford) his magnificent two-volume text with commentary in 1924. Of course, Jaeger, who had already done a lot of work, had to scrap his project. He did, however, then publish two long articles (in German) on the text and manuscripts of the Metaphysics, discussing various textual crux' in a series of lemmata. These are reprinted in his Scripta Minora. They ar
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What is the being of that thing which underlies any phenomenon? The central question of metaphysics is an intriguing one, and it must be said for the benefit of all the atheists on here who might think that this is a religious question, it is a perfectly scientific query, for it is in fact the question of, how can we say a person is the same person even though all of her organs have been shed and renewed, or, in the case of an artefact, how is a house the same house after it has been renovated? ...more
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was fascinating. I summarized the whole thing after I finished, as I am wont to do with books of this nature. I just don't feel like reproducing the summary. There is so much to go over, it is ridiculously intense. Getting a glimpse inside Aristotle's mind is fascinating. Everything is a cycle. And everything is explained/touched upon. I look forward to reading Ptolemy's additions to his cosmology and Proclus' comments on this book in his Commentary on Euclid. Five stars, because although t ...more
Dean the Phantasy Guru
Considered by many academics to be the most challenging work throughout all of literature, Aristotle's "Metaphysics" is more than just fancy words and non-sensical theorems. It deals with the most important theme possible: being/existence - both generally and specifically. For the Greek philosopher, nothing takes precedence over being because without being, there would be nothing. In other words, Aristotle deals with First Principles of knowledge by determining what composes the fabrics of our v ...more
Alan Johnson
This translation of Aristotle's Metaphysics by Hippocrates G. Apostle is apparently now out of print. When I read it in 1969, I was impressed with the accuracy of the translation as well as with Hippocrates Apostle's Glossary and editorial commentary. Equally serviceable translations are doubtlessly available today, though I have not consulted them.

The term "metaphysics" should not mislead the twenty-first-century reader. Unlike Plato, Aristotle exhibited no trace of mysticism in his surviving w
Aristotle is painfully pedantic. It was very hard to keep my mind focused on the endless digressions he took in order to refute other philosophers in mind numbing detail. He spent very little time actually laying out his own system in much needed detail. Specifics on his own system were lacking in this work. One element that was noticeably absent was his approach to time. If time is uncreated, then his first mover is in a dualistic relationship with time; if it is created, then he faces the cons ...more
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favs
Aristotle's “first act of divine motion” in his Physics is a set of logical implications and applying his scientific method-rightfully so given he invented it. He justifies what he calls the “first mover” or "Divinity" by continuing the Aristotelian narrative of placing the mind or intellect as the ultimate objective; surpassing the

This would be an example of Aristotelian privilege. Here Aristotle doesn't need to explain his divine inception into what God is, he asserts it, and by asserting
Oct 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Don't even think you can understand this by reading it on your own. Perhaps the greatest work in philosophy of all-time.
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I finished my study of Aristotle. Admittedly, I watched a lot of lectures in conjunction with reading his original works, which is - I must emphasize this - necessary to understand what he's talking about. Aristotle's works are not readable (at all) and most works are characterized by their unfinished, unorganized structure.

Metaphysics is the illustration par excellence of this problem. The work consists of 13 books, which sometimes are coherent wholes, but more usually parts of longer lin
Czarny Pies
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone familiar with lost writings of the pre-Socratics.
Recommended to Czarny by: Everyone. It is, alas, the foundation work of Catholic philsophy.
Aristotle’s “Metaphysics” is a difficult and painful book. This review will describe my subjective experience as a reader and will not assist you in any way to understand the work itself. I will forgive anyone who stops reading my review at this point.
Through good luck I chose the French translation by J. Barthélemy-Saint-Hilaire published in 1879. While I do not think that I understood a single thing from what Aristotle wrote, Barthélemy-Saint-Hilaire’s excellent introduction provided number o
Kyle van Oosterum
Oh my god, finally.

It is extremely difficult to review this book because on the one hand, Aristotle pioneered a branch of philosophy which is still discussed today and on the other hand, he basically jumpstarted the dark ages in philosophical thought. It wasn't until the Enlightenment, more than 2000 years later that Aristotle's philosophy became a little bit less relevant.

Still, in terms of 'logical hygiene' Aristotle does quite well. In terms of writing style, it leaves much to be desired. A
Gary  Beauregard Bottomley
First, I want to thank LibriVox for making this book freely available in an audio edition.

This is the only 3 star book where I would recommend it to everyone. My start of reading primary philosophy started with Heidegger, that led me to Hegel and then Kant. There's no doubt I should have suffered through this book first, because those authors rely on Aristotle in many ways and not just to tear him apart but to add to how Aristotle approached the topic of metaphysics.

I've learned to no longer t
Aug 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The word metaphysics, when heard by most people, is apt to raise a smile of the sort reserved for innocent souls who are harmlessly deluded." So begins Joe Sachs, by way of introduction to his translation. Aristotle is not for "most people," it's true, but Sachs' translation makes it a little easier for the remainder to rest confidently in harmless delusion.

Many years ago I struggled through Hippocrates Apostle's translations of Aristotle and the frustration I experienced can be exemplified in
Jacob Aitken
I'll admit.  This wasn't my favorite.  It's not that I didn't understand it, it's just that its importance never "clicked" for me.  But that's more about me than the book.

“The science of substance must be of the nature of Wisdom” (996b).

The problem to be addressed: why are some things perishable and others are not if they consist of the same principles (Book III, 1000a)?

A substance is that which is not predicated of a stratum, but of which all else is predicated (Book VII: 3).  The essence of ea
Kelsey Hennegen
This collection (while dense and at times seemingly semantically exhausting) is exceptional. Be prepared to contend with the rich strife in Aristotle’s fastidious discernment and terminology, his almost unabashedly effortful nature of his undertaking, but herein lies the value of his contemplation. Our individual nature is, by definition, one of seeking. This innate thirst serves not only as the genesis of our intellectual undertakings, but also as our basis for all experience, for where else do ...more
Erik Graff
Dec 05, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: philosophers
Recommended to Erik by: Leo Sweeny
Shelves: philosophy
Hippocrates G. Apostle, the translator of this text, taught at Grinnell while I attended college there and some of my friends worked with him. Other than teaching, he and his wife also maintained a Personal column in the town newspaper, a column with notices such as the following: "M.E. Nalus reports the return of wife, Helen, from Turkish tour." I, having insufficient Greek, never more than glancingly met the fellow.

Aristotle's Metaphysics is of uncertain origin. We don't know when it was writt
May 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredibly lucid text, though admittedly a brain-twister, Aristotle here examines First Philosophy and finds Plato's Forms wholly deficient of a real existence. He concludes that there is a prime mover, and refutes the sophistic reasoning of almost all of his contemporaries. Aristotle leaves metaphysics an open issue, generally, perhaps recalling, despite, no doubt, being an atheist, that to deny metaphysics is just as arrogant as to detail it. Read after his Organon.
Jul 27, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, philosophy
I went to school where Joe Sachs teaches, and his translations are excellently faithful, even if that does mean a little initial adjustment on the part of the reader; compound Greek words are often translated as hyphenated English phrases, ie, "entelecheia" is "being-at-work-staying-itself," if I recall.
Samrat Singh
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We all would indefinitely want to walk the distance through space and time. While this walk, the world happens same to those who have stopped walking or those who have finished the walk. After this, there is no space and no time. Just the essence of it. In truth, we can never kill a thought of being present, we can only kill man's pretense at revealing a thought to himself.
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You have to love the old unmoved mover. "It's like a Coke machine. It doesn't move, but it causes you to move toward it because you want a Coke."
Arkar Kyaw
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Lunch is God and I am the universe."
Cain S.
Sep 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Much more difficult than Hegel, really.
Notes on Metafísica

1. As if this book wasn't muddled enough, I'll start with conflicting statements: this is the cornerstone of Aristóteles' work, the key to his thoughts; it is also the most undecipherable, so if it's a key, it's a lost key. The prose of Aristóteles is known to be pretty much the opposite of that of his master, Plato. It is dry, unexciting. His books have a convoluted structure, as if they didn't want to be read. But when compared to Metafísica, the rest of his work seems almos
Thomas Rivers
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am reading the translation of W. D. Ross in the second volume of the Revised Oxford "The Complete Works of Aristotle". I can not read Classical Attic Greek and therefore have no opinion about the translation's accuracy; but the English is very good--lucid, sober, and felicitous.

I have read enough of Aristotle to recognise his great intellect but disagree with many of his basic opinions. My dissent is the reason for not giving him five stars. (I hope this will suffice without getting particula
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic. Essential reading to see how a lot of Western thought was shapped by it both positively and negatively, clear and even relevant to common issues such as delimiting what the sciences study, the nature of things and the limits of certain philosophical systems (i.e. Platonic ideas).
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aristotle argues (vs idealists, mystics, etc) for a universe of hylomorphic substances with properties. Don’t miss Book 4 on non-contradiction.
Kevin K
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Metaphysics itself is one of the timeless classics of Western philosophy. It certainly rates five stars and needs no introduction from me.

This review only pertains to the Penguin edition of the Metaphysics translated by Hugh Lawson-Tancred. The edition rates one star. Generally I trust the quality of Penguin books, but this particular translation is shockingly bad. Almost comically so at times.

First, Lawson-Tancred has an irritating tendency of peppering his writing with inappropriate word
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(Greece: Αριστοτέλης)
(Arabic: أرسطوطاليس)
(Bulgarian: Аристотел)
(Russian: Аристотель)
(Ukrainian: Арістотель)
(Alternate European spelling: Aristoteles)
(Italian: Aristotele)

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 thro

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