Shawn's Reviews > The Basic Works of Aristotle

The Basic Works of Aristotle by Aristotle
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's review
Jan 30, 2011

it was ok

I admit that I skimmed through a lot of this book.
Physics? Metaphysics? Rhetoric? How to give speeches? Poetics? That's OK. I'll pass.
I did try to read some and had no idea what the heck I was reading. It was unreadable.

The early part of the book dealt more with observational writing than philosophical writing. And much of this was in the category of "duh, master of the obvious" writing.
Example: A mountain can be both small and large at the same time. When compared to a larger mountain, it is small. When compared to a smaller mountain, it is large.
Wow, I never thought of that before.
As a co-worker who knows a great deal about history told me, "Perhaps 2,000 years ago people were in awe of this discovery because maybe they hadn't thought of that before."
OK, maybe so.

I read almost all of his views on morality, human interaction and the human psyche and enjoyed this a great deal. This was pretty easy to read.

I also enjoyed his view on politics, even though I didn't agree with much.
Surprisingly, as Greece was the birthplace of democracy, he seemed extremely anti-democracy.
He was very anti-poor and pro-wealthy.
He was pro-slavery as well. Although back then I know it was commonplace and I believe most of them were prisoners of war really.
All of this surprised me as it didn't appear to be in line with his predecessors, Socrates and Plato.
As a matter of fact, many times he said Socrates was flat out wrong "when he said this" or "when he said that."
Hmmmm, maybe he should have been nicknamed "Aristotle the Arrogant."
This is a far cry from Socrates (who I enjoyed much more) who said, "The only thing I know is that I know nothing" and who also was known for asking more questions of others in order to learn other people's points of view rather than preach and make sermons.
Still, the writing in this area was decent so I can't criticize this part of the book just because I didn't agree with some of his philosophies.

However, out of 1500 pages, I could really only easily handle about 500 pages. The other 1,000 were absolutely either unreadable or a waste of time.
2 stars.


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message 1: by Adam (new)

Adam W you made some good criticisms. although, we have to respect that Aristotle was a 'master' at the time of every subject that can be studied and what we now know was rooted in his life's work. a big take away from his work was his approach or method that consisted of definitions, breaking down each concept to its simplest terms.

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