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Aristotle: A Guide for the Perplexed (Guides for the Perplexed) Hardcover – May 15, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0826497079 ISBN-10: 0826497071

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Product Details

  • Series: Guides for the Perplexed
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (May 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826497071
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826497079
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,113,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Vella taught philosophy at the University of San Diego and the University of California at San Diego, where he led an advanced course in Aristotle. He currently teaches at Loyola High School of Los Angeles.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By toronto on November 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a very, very good book, maybe the best of the general recent books on Aristotle (of which there are a lot -- Ackrill (older), Barnes, Shields, etc.). The best thing about this book is that it is written clearly and thoroughly, and from time to time the author takes a passage of Aristotle (already translated!) and slowly reads through it again. After three or four of these, one learns how to read Aristotle's crabbed lecture notes/style far more easily. I found it to be the best entry into some of the densest passages (it is even possible that a day may come when I will read Metaphysics Zeta). I was more than happy to be led around through Aristotle by Vella -- a fine mind at work on a worldclass figure.

The only drawback to this book is that it is too short. The author writes so well that there should be a chapter on the Politics, and the Poetics, etc. If there is a second edition, the author should try to make it a comprehensive introduction.

According to the back blurb, the author is now a high school teacher. Lucky the high school that has him as a teacher!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robby on April 14, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
If you don't or won't agree with Aristotle after reading the book, you'll surely benefit from the erudite presentation.

I bought the book because I wanted to examine the Aristotelian doctrine of causality, chiefly, the pivotal role of the final cause. The book was a huge help at that. Aristotle's conception of metaphysics (first philosophy, as the author attributes to him), is also clearly expounded; no unnecessary digressions. These two parts really helped in theses preparation. I now intend to delve into Aristotle's philosophy and this book will serve as a launchpad.
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Format: Paperback
Aristotle by John A. Vella, Continuum (Guide for the Perplexed Series), London and New York, 2008, 176 ff.

John Vella presently teaches at Loyola High School in Los Angeles. Before that he taught philosophy at the University of California in San Diego and the University of San Diego. So he should be in a good position to write clearly about an academically challenging subject. Vella considers Aristotle's work under five headings - Science, Being or Substance, Nature, Soul and Success. Aristotle is after all one of the greatest of all philosophers as he wrote meaningfully on a huge range of subjects - as the contents of this book indicate. Though many of his `facts' and theories have now been discarded, the `experimental' method of his investigations is still valued. I put `experimental' in quotes because there were not many techniques of study established, nor sophisticated measuring instruments available. The key to Aristotle's studies was empiricism rather than the rationalism that his teachers Socrates and Plato largely relied on.

In science, Aristotle pointed out that the subject was to be understood as a series of explanations rather than as simply a collection of facts. This is a common misunderstanding of the nature of science still today, perpetuated in many cases by examination-directed teaching in schools. The subject of `being' has always been a contentious one in the fields of philosophy and religion, first, because of controversy about what exactly the word means.
Aristotle takes it to mean `substance' but Heidegger, for example, disagreed with this. For Aristotle, to investigate `being', we must investigate `the reality and nature of particular existing `beings'' - so `being' is `existence', which gives rise to kinds of being and modes of being.
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