Political Theory

Download Aristotle: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short by Jonathan Barnes PDF

By Jonathan Barnes

The impression of Aristotle, the prince of philosophers, at the highbrow heritage of the West is moment to none. during this publication, Jonathan Barnes examines Aristotle's clinical researches, his discoveries in common sense and his metaphysical theories, his paintings in psychology and in ethics and politics, and his principles approximately paintings and poetry, putting his teachings of their old context.


"A brief, candy, and selective statement and research of Aristotle's works and ideas. a very good adjunct to the interpreting of the translated texts. A hugely advised reduction to the scholar assembly Aristotle ab initio. Boy, what a book!"--Steven C. Fleishman, college of Maryland

"No different paintings on Aristotle accomplishes lots in such short compass; its author's take care of and data of Aristotle's achievements are obtrusive on each page."--Tom Cunningham, Grand Valley kingdom College

"One of the best serious introductions to Aristotle ever written. transparent, concise, and intelligible."--Religious reports Review

"As an advent to Aristotle, i locate Barnes' booklet ideal....his ebook provides the fundamentals in an comprehensible demeanour for beginners."--Rose Maries Surwilo, university of St. Francis

"There is anything right here for everybody with a nostril for philosophy and its history...Barnes has supplied an outline which does justice to the grandeur and breadth of its subject."--Sarah Waterlow, occasions Literary complement

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Additional info for Aristotle: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

Example text

He compares the octopus to the other cephalopods – cuttlefish, crayfish, and the like. He gives a detailed description of the internal organs of the creature, which he had evidently dissected and examined with some attention. In the passage I have quoted he refers to the phenomenon known as ‘hectocotylization’ – the bifurcation in one of the tentacles of the male octopus, by means of which it copulates with the female. The phenomenon is not readily observed, and Aristotle himself was not entirely certain of it (at any rate, elsewhere he expresses doubt as to whether the octopus really uses a tentacle for copulation); but his 19 Zoological Researches has a hollow tube by which it discharges the sea-water which gets into remarks are entirely correct, and the facts which he reports were not rediscovered until the middle of the nineteenth century.

Nor, in any case, is experiment appropriate in descriptive zoology. You do not need the ‘experimental method’ to determine that men have two legs or to describe the hectocotylization of the octopus. Aristotle himself was aware that different sciences call for different methods. Those who accuse him of failing to experiment are victims of the vulgar error that all the sciences must be approached by the experimental path. Aristotle It is sometimes said in reply to the third charge that Aristotle’s zoology is non-quantitative because he did not possess the technical devices upon which quantitative science relies: he had no thermometer, no finely calibrated scales, no accurate chronometer.

But Aristotle wants to give a full and orderly account, even at the cost of occasional banality; and in any event, the discussion quickly becomes more professional. The following passage will give some flavour of the Researches. The octopus uses its tentacles both as feet and as hands: it draws in food with the two that are placed over its mouth; and the last of its tentacles, which is very pointed and the only one of them which is whitish and bifurcated at the tip (it uncoils towards the rhachis – the rhachis is the smooth surface on the opposite side from the suckers) – this it uses for copulation.

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