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Aristotle's Physics: A Guided Study (Masterworks of discovery) [Paperback]

Joe Sachs , Aristotle

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Book Description

31 Mar 1995 Masterworks of discovery
"Sachs's translation and commentary rescue Aristotle's text from the rigid, pedantic, and misleading versions that have until now obscured his thought. Thanks to Sachs's superb guidance, the "Physics" comes alive as a profound dialectical inquiry whose insights into the enduring questions about nature, cause, change, time, and the 'infinite' are still pertinent today. Using such guided studies in class has been exhilarating both for myself and my students."--Leon R. Kass, The Committee on Social Thought, University of Chicago Aristotle's "Physics" is the only complete and coherent book we have from the ancient world in which a thinker of the first rank seeks to say something about nature as a whole. For centuries, Aristotle's inquiry into the causes and conditions of motion and rest dominated science and philosophy. To understand the intellectual assumptions of a powerful world view--and the roots of the Scientific Revolution--reading Aristotle is critical. Yet existing translations of Aristotle's "Physics" have made it difficult to understand either Aristotle's originality or the lasting value of his work. In this volume in the Masterworks of Discovery series, Joe Sachs provides a new plain-spoken English translation of all of Aristotle's classic treatise and accompanies it with a long interpretive introduction, a running explication of the text, and a helpful glossary. He succeeds brilliantly in fulfilling the aim of this innovative series: to give the general reader the tools to read and understand a masterwork of scientific discovery.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press; First edition (31 Mar 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813521920
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813521923
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.4 x 1.6 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,313,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Joe Sachs has taught for twenty years at St. John's College, Annapolis, Maryland, where from 1990 to 1992 he held the NEH Chair in Ancient Thought.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The only good translation 29 Aug 2006
By William C. Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Aristotle's Physics is one of the least studied "great books"--physics has come to mean something entirely different than Aristotle's inquiry into nature, and stereotyped Medieval interpretations have buried the original text. Sach's translation is really the only one that I know of that attempts to take the reader back to the text itself.

I do have a few quibbles, mostly with the presentation. The line numbers are buried in the text, rather than set off in the margins, which is annoying. The typeface is difficult and too closely packed. The cover is one of the ugliest ever produced. The book is too expensive, given the quality.

If you are going to study or teach the Physics in English, however, this is absolutely the edition you should use.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new, helpful translation 25 Feb 2002
By "mdsfnelson" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Sachs' translations of Aristotle (I have read his Physics, Metaphysics, and On the Soul) are wonderful in a number of ways: he eschews traditional translations of key words for more descriptive ones (case in point: "entelecheia" is often translated as "actuality," but his "being-at-work-staying-itself" gets to the heart of Aristotle's meaning), he provides plenty of helpful features, such as a large glossary and commentaries, and the books are well-organized and geared toward the student who needs to be able to find a place in the text quickly.
Unfortunately, one of the great benefits of Sachs' translation method is also one of its downfalls: "Being-at-work-staying-itself" may get the idea across, but it just doesn't read well in English. Reading Aristotle in Sachs' translation is rewarding, but cumbersome. I would recommend reading Sachs alongside Apostle or the Loeb edition to get an addditional perpective on the text, and also to alert you to the terms that, although misleading, form the framework of later Aristotelian thought.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars

A quite helpful new translation of Aristotle's Physics 17 Sep 1996

By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you think you could never understand Aristotle's Physics because yet existing translations of the greek text have made it very difficult to understand, you could try to read it closer to the originality of the aristotelian language itself. This new version could provide it to you! For example, if you think that «ousía» means something different from, or not exactly «substance», think now of «thinghood» and try to read all the treatise under the new perspective given by Professor Joe Sachs' superb translation, helpful for any forthcoming research in Ancient Philosophy.

Dr. Francisco Chorão (Lisbon, European Community
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars

A quite helpful new translation of Aristotle's Physics 17 Sep 1996

By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you think you could never understand Aristotle's Physics because yet existing translations of the greek text have made it very difficult to understand, you could try to read it in the originality of the aristotelian language itself. For example, if you think that «ousia» means something different from, or not exactly «substance», think now of «thinghood» and try to read all the treatise under the new perspective given by this superb translation by Professor Joe Sachs, helpful for any new research in Ancient Philosophy.

Dr. Francisco Chorão (Lisbon, European Community
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Translation Out There 17 Oct 2009
By Michael Russo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This translation of Aristotle's Physics is really the best one available - and not simply because the others are terrible (some of them are not terrible), but because this one is extraordinary. As some of the other reviewers may have suggested, it can be hard to read at times because of the unfamiliar phrasings. However, I think this is irrelevant because (a) other translation are not easy reading either, (b) other translations are not as good at capturing Aristotle's meaning so that even if they were much easier to read they just make it that much easier for you to misunderstand Aristotle, (c) in fact the efforts required to follow the unfamiliar phrasings in this translation are themselves part of what makes this translation the most useful for anyone who wants to understand Aristotle, and (d) its really not all that hard to read. (And the same points go for the other translations by Sachs.) Sachs unpacks the richness of the Greek terms in his translation rather than covering it over with English terms that give you the illusion of understanding or force you to constantly adjust your thought about what the English words are supposed to mean in the context of Aristotle's philosophy. For example, Sachs' translation of energeia as "being-at-work" as opposed to "activity," and entelecheia as "being-at-work-staying-itself" as opposed to "actualization." Sachs' translations here really put the nuances of the Greek terms to the forefront, and they give you the opportunity to think through (and to think hard about) what Aristotle must mean in a beautiful way that makes reading this translation a real learning, eye-opening, awakening experience. Also Sachs provides very useful glossary, introduction, and commentary. If you're just starting Aristotle or have been studying him for years, this translation is sure to do you right. I've been studying Aristotle for about a decade and a half and I never cease to very greatly appreciate Sachs' translations. --Michael Russo
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