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Aristotle's Metaphysics Paperback – March 1, 2002

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Aristotle's Metaphysics + Aristotle's On the Soul and On Memory and Recollection + Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (Focus Philosophical Library Series)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 365 pages
  • Publisher: Green Lion Press; 2nd edition (March 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888009039
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888009033
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


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, Professor of Philosophy, University of Georgia

Language Notes

Text: English, Greek (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Davis on November 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
First I will discuss the positives of Mr. Sachs's translation. The question of whether someone should or should not read the Metaphysics is self-evident.

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".
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Person on February 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
Without knowing Greek and the subtle shades of meaning and relationships among words that such knowledge reveals, understanding the depth of Aristotle's Metaphysics is nearly impossible - unless you have Joe Sachs' translation. Through other translators, Aristotle seems to be playing an archaic game of semantics, and so would seem difficult to take seriously as providing us a viable philosophical system. The reviewer below criticizes Sachs for departing from the usual practice of using Latin cognates to translate key words, as if those cognates are more intelligible than Sachs's non-standard English. To a certain extent, this is true - the usual "actuality" for Aristotle's "entelecheia" is a more intelligible word in English than Sachs's "being-at-work-staying-itself". "Actuality" sounds straightforward, while Sachs's phrase makes us scratch our heads and ponder the meaning. Such pondering, however, is the point. After Sachs has made you ponder, do you suspect that you might understand a bit more about what Aristotle was up to than if you just ran across "actuality" without giving it a second thought? If someone told you that Aristotle simply meant "actuality" and then you found out that the Greek word contained everything expressed in "being-at-work-staying-itself", wouldn't you feel like like the previous translator pulled the wool over your eyes? I'll gladly accept more awkward English as the price for grasping the richness of Aristotle's vocabulary. The one other highly useful translation is Montgomery Furth's for its faithfulness to Aristotle's sentence structure, though it contains only part of the Metaphysics and uses the latin-derived vocabulary.Read more ›
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A. Lowry on January 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
I've not read Sachs's translation of the Metaphysics, though I did work through his version of the Physics during a summer at St. John's College (where he teaches). His Metaphysics was circulating as a xerox copy at the college bookstore; I'm glad to see it in print.

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.
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18 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Neal on March 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
I preface this with one caveat: I am not a Greek scholar. I have, however, read this book, in toto, in this translation. I have also read, though not in its entirety, another translation. Joe Sachs, positively a very intelligent scholar of these texts, has tried to put it into what he considers to be true to the Greek. Again, I am not a scholar of the Greek language, but I think that Sachs goes 'overboard,' if you will, in presenting to us, the laypeople, a translation beyond what is really necessary to get the job done. By that, I mean that a traditional translation is more than adequate, so long as you don't try to get at the Thomistic textual analysis at first go-round, or so I'm told. There are several chapters (keeping in mind, this is Aristotle's Metaphysics we're talking about) where I had trouble discerning pages at a time, reading and re-reading just for an objective account of what Aristotle was saying, or trying to say through Dr. Sachs. The Metaphysics should be read; that is not the question. The question is whether this is the translation for you. I, for one, will say that it is not. Not because of uncanny foresight, but due to the difficult readability of such a complex exposition on reality, being, and, in the concluding chapters of course, God. So, I give this version 3 stars: as a text in itself, it is good; it is not a wonderfully understandable translation, however. I hope that this verbose review has been beneficial for you.
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