Aristotle's Metaphysics Paperback – 1 Mar 1999
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"By avoiding the standard Latinized terminology, Sachs translates the Metaphysics into very concrete words and phrases whose meanings are often immediately recognizable. The result is a translation that is direct and provocative, a translation that helps readers wrestle with Aristotle's philosophical issues rather than [with] an alien vocabulary. Highly recommended." --Edward Halper, --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The edition is aesthetically fabulous. Green Lion Press always crafts superlative texts (cf. their editions of Euclid and Apollonius) and the Metaphysics is no exception. Margins are generous, the cover is sturdy, and the pages are both sewn and glued. If one takes even the smallest care with it, the book will last many years.
The translation is likewise competitive with every other essentially literal translation available, though not their superior. Sachs replaces Latinate cognates such as "substance", "actuality", and "potentiality" with terms like "thinghood", "being-at-work-staying-itself", and "potency". Make use of his glossary and your lexicon to figure out "ousia", "energeia", and "dunamis". After this work to make sense of Aristotle's technical terms, this translation will serve you well.
The downside to Mr. Sachs' translation is this: it is not really superior to any other essentially literal translation available: Hippocrates Apostle's and W.D. Ross' translations serve admirably. I do not share Mr. Sachs' contention that the Latin translations of Aristotle have obscured his meaning; rather, I contend Aristotle's work contains difficult technical vocabulary, and how one translates this vocabulary can never be "immediately comprehended" as Mr. Sachs asserts. One must struggle, then, directly with "substance" or "thinghood"; indirectly, with "ousia".
Apart from the translation, Sachs's notes provide unique insights quite unlike any I've seen from the usual big names who specialize in ancient philosophy, and will provide immense help to the student and open a new horizon of understanding for the seasoned reader. In fact, the notes and introduction alone would make this translation worth buying. Perhaps this is partly explained by the fact that Sachs seems to take Aristotle more seriously, and to read him more sympathetically, than most any other contemporary English commentator.
I cannot recommend Sachs's effort highly enough - and the same goes for his translations of other works by Plato and Aristotle.
Anyone unfortunate enough (as I am) to read Aristotle in English rather than ancient Greek, can benefit from Sachs's translations, though it remains worthwhile to have something like the classic Oxford translation alongside, to compare their senses of the Greek text. Sachs's object is to recover what Aristotle may've been up to, by avoiding the Latinate terminology that haunts Aristotle studies and trying to find more "authentic" meanings for the Greek words. Whatever his ultimate success or failure, it's wonderful to have such a fresh approach to the translation of Aristotle available.
Don't read it in a vacuum, though. Familiarize yourself with Aristotle's particular flavor and rhythm of thought, preferably with this translator.