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Aristotle: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by [Barnes, Jonathan]
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3.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Review

"A short, sweet, and selective commentary and analysis of Aristotle's works and ideas. A fine adjunct to the reading of the translated texts. A highly recommended aid to the student meeting Aristotle ab initio. Boy, what a book!"--Steven C. Fleishman, University of Maryland
"No other work on Aristotle accomplishes so much in such brief compass; its author's care for and knowledge of Aristotle's achievements are evident on every page."--Tom Cunningham, Grand Valley State College
"One of the finest critical introductions to Aristotle ever written. Clear, concise, and intelligible."--Religious Studies Review
"As an introduction to Aristotle, I find Barnes' book ideal....his book presents the basics in an understandable manner for beginners."--Rose Maries Surwilo, College of St. Francis
"There is something here for everyone with a nose for philosophy and its history...Barnes has provided a description which does justice to the grandeur and breadth of its subject."--Sarah Waterlow, Times Literary Supplement



"A short, sweet, and selective commentary and analysis of Aristotle's works and ideas. A fine adjunct to the reading of the translated texts. A highly recommended aid to the student meeting Aristotle ab initio. Boy, what a book!"--Steven C. Fleishman, University of Maryland
"No other work on Aristotle accomplishes so much in such brief compass; its author's care for and knowledge of Aristotle's achievements are evident on every page."--Tom Cunningham, Grand Valley State College
"One of the finest critical introductions to Aristotle ever written. Clear, concise, and intelligible."--Religious Studies Review
"As an introduction to Aristotle, I find Barnes' book ideal....his book presents the basics in an understandable manner for beginners."--Rose Maries Surwilo, College of St. Francis
"There is something here for everyone with a nose for philosophy and its history...Barnes has provided a description which does justice to the grandeur and breadth of its subject."--Sarah Waterlow, Times Literary Supplement


"A short, sweet, and selective commentary and analysis of Aristotle's works and ideas. A fine adjunct to the reading of the translated texts. A highly recommended aid to the student meeting Aristotle ab initio. Boy, what a book!"--Steven C. Fleishman, University of Maryland
"No other work on Aristotle accomplishes so much in such brief compass; its author's care for and knowledge of Aristotle's achievements are evident on every page."--Tom Cunningham, Grand Valley State College
"One of the finest critical introductions to Aristotle ever written. Clear, concise, and intelligible."--Religious Studies Review
"As an introduction to Aristotle, I find Barnes' book ideal....his book presents the basics in an understandable manner for beginners."--Rose Maries Surwilo, College of St. Francis
"There is something here for everyone with a nose for philosophy and its history...Barnes has provided a description which does justice to the grandeur and breadth of its subject."--Sarah Waterlow, Times Literary Supplement



"A short, sweet, and selective commentary and analysis of Aristotle's works and ideas. A fine adjunct to the reading of the translated texts. A highly recommended aid to the student meeting Aristotle ab initio. Boy, what a book!"--Steven C. Fleishman, University of Maryland


"No other work on Aristotle accomplishes so much in such brief compass; its author's care for and knowledge of Aristotle's achievements are evident on every page."--Tom Cunningham, Grand Valley State College


"One of the finest critical introductions to Aristotle ever written. Clear, concise, and intelligible."--Religious Studies Review


"As an introduction to Aristotle, I find Barnes' book ideal....his book presents the basics in an understandable manner for beginners."--Rose Maries Surwilo, College of St. Francis


"There is something here for everyone with a nose for philosophy and its history...Barnes has provided a description which does justice to the grandeur and breadth of its subject."--Sarah Waterlow, Times Literary Supplement


About the Author

Jonathan Barnes is Professor of Ancient Philosophy at the University of Geneva. He has edited the Revised Oxford Translation of Aristotle, and he is the author of books and papers on Aristotle and other ancient luminaries.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5005 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (12 Oct. 2000)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192854089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192854087
  • ASIN: B005OQGBXU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #278,750 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
Readers may explore the volumes in Oxford University Press' "Very Short Introductions" series for a variety of reasons. The books are valuable to readers new to a subject. Such readers may want to expand their basic knowledge of a subject without delving into it in detail. Readers with knowledge of a subject may still want to read a well-informed introduction both to learn and also as a summary or refresher of their own understanding.

I am far from an expert on Aristotle, but I have studied some of his books in graduate-level philosophy seminars. Thus, I came to Jonathan Barnes' "Aristotle: A Very Short Introduction" (2000) reasonably informed. (In fact, Barnes' book is an edited version of an introduction to Aristotle he published in 1982, which I vaguely remember reading.) Barnes, Professor of Ancient Philosophy at the University of Geneva, is a master of his subject. He edited the Revised Oxford Translation of Aristotle and has published many books on the "Master of those who know" as well as other Greek philosophers. Readers can approach this introduction with confidence in the knowledge and background of the author.

The book shows its mastery by giving the reader the gist of Aristotle in a short space. A sign of knowledge, for Aristotle and many others, is the ability to separate the trivial from the essential and to explain in the circumstances or space made available. Aristotle's works are massive, wide-ranging, and complex. Most of the time, he is not a particularly graceful writer as is, for example, Plato. For readers of varying backgrounds in Aristotle, it is valuable to have the writings sorted out and organized, an effort which is itself Aristotelian.

Barnes views Aristotle as a scientist-philosopher.
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Early on in this book Barnes points out what a mammoth task providing a short introduction to someone as prolific in output as Aristotle is going to be. It is estimated that his output easily reached fifty volumes of work, on subjects as diverse as the theatre to zoology. Even though only about a quarter of that survives, it is still a massive amount of work.

This book therefore, really is an introduction. There are short, concise chapters that cover a great deal of the themes and ideas he introduced. The most time is spent discussing his work with animals and plants and his work on ethics, logic and philosophy.

As with all these Very Short Introductions there are illustrations, but here it seems almost a shame, because the illustrations add little, and a few more pages of written material would have been much more helpful.

As ever there are excellent bibliographies and further reading suggestions in the back which will give you places to go after this, depending on your interest.

Given the complexity of the ideas discussed and the amount of material condensed this is an excellent book, although further reading will definitely be required.
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I was really disappointed by this book. Other books in the 'A Very Short Introduction' series have been brilliant and amazingly helpful. But this one seems to miss the concept of an 'Introduction' entirely. He doesn't explain most of what he says, and uses Latin expressions without actually explaining what it means in English. While Barnes is certainly knowledgeable on the subject of Aristotle, his structure of writing is almost completely useless to anyone who is actually using the book as a way to first start studying Aristotle. I would also question the worth of a man who would so freely insult Plato the way Barnes does.
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Format: Paperback
An excellent introduction to the life and work of Aristotle, written by someone who is an obvious authority on the man. Concise and intelligible, the book is ideal for beginners, accomplishing a surprising amount in a limited space. Barnes is clearly an admirer of his subject, but he doesn't let that admiration hold him back from offering fair-minded criticism at various stages of the book.

The first couple of chapters provide useful context by detailing the main stages of Aristotle's life and the political backdrop underpinning it. Then Barnes turns to the studies, offering short and sweet commentary and analysis of his works and ideas. Beginning with Aristotle's copious zoological research, Barnes moves on to his work on logic, metaphysics, politics, ethics, aesthetics, psychology and more. Finally, he offers a balanced analysis of Aristotle's influence and legacy.

All in all, a top-notch addition to the VSI series, and an essential one if you plan on tackling the later philosophers.
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Barnes gives a biographical sketch of the philosopher whilst mentioning his famous works and ideas at the same time. He tackles the Aristotelian worldview - showing where it differs from modern day understanding of life, science etc. Overall, a good read.
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