Sunday, March 6, 2022


ARISTOTLE (Greek, 384-322 BCE)

His more than 20 extant works fill TWO volumes of the Great Books of the Western World, a distinction shared only by Aquinas, Shakespeare, and Gibbon. Student of Plato (from whose ideas he sometimes broke fundamentally) and tutor of Alexander the Great, Aristotle was the philosopher of the West (and its Church) through the Middle Ages, Plato's works not being reintroduced to Western Europe until the early Renaissance. His thought was encyclopedic, encompassing logic, physics, astronomy and meteorology, metaphysics, biology, ethics, politics, and literature, but his works lack charm, reading more like a student's class notes than like completed essays.

  • These might be tackled first:
    •    Nicomachean Ethics: What is "the Good"?
    •    Politics: What is good government?
    •    Poetics: What makes good literature (especially Greek tragedy)?


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