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Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics [Hardcover]

Aristotle , Robert C. Bartlett , Susan D. Collins
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1, 2011 0226026744 978-0226026749

The Nicomachean Ethics is one of Aristotle’s most widely read and influential works. Ideas central to ethics—that happiness is the end of human endeavor, that moral virtue is formed through action and habituation, and that good action requires prudence—found their most powerful proponent in the person medieval scholars simply called “the Philosopher.” Drawing on their intimate knowledge of Aristotle’s thought, Robert C. Bartlett and Susan D. Collins have produced here an English-language translation of the Ethics that is as remarkably faithful to the original as it is graceful in its rendering.

Aristotle is well known for the precision with which he chooses his words, and in this elegant translation his work has found its ideal match. Bartlett and Collins provide copious notes and a glossary providing context and further explanation for students, as well as an introduction and a substantial interpretive essay that sketch central arguments of the work and the seminal place of Aristotle’s Ethics in his political philosophy as a whole.

The Nicomachean Ethics has engaged the serious interest of readers across centuries and civilizations—of peoples ancient, medieval, and modern; pagan, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish—and this new edition will take its place as the standard English-language translation.

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Editorial Reviews


“[This volume] is much more than a translation. The translators, Robert C. Bartlett . . . and Susan D. Collins . . . have provided helpful aids. . . . [They have] supplied an informative introduction, as well as ‘A Note on the Translation,’ a bibliography and an outline of the work. All this precedes the main text. Afterward comes a brief ‘Overview of the Moral Virtues and Vices,’ a very extensive and invaluable glossary, a list of ‘Key Greek Terms,’ an index of proper names and at last a detailed ‘general index.’ Together these bring the original text within the compass of every intelligent reader. . . . Brilliant and readable.”

(Harry V. Jaffa New York Times Book Review)

“This is the only English translation of the Ethics for those who want or need to know precisely, not just roughly, what Aristotle says. Readers now can behold the splendor of his conception of moral virtue and engage with its subtleties as well. The translation is accompanied by excellent notes, an interpretive essay, indices, and a highly useful glossary.”

(Harvey C. Mansfield, Harvard University)

“There are several good editions of the Nicomachean Ethics currently available, but the Bartlett and Collins version is superior in several decisive respects—philological, philosophical, and pedagogical. The translation itself is consistently faithful to the text without lapsing into obscurity or awkwardness, with lots of helpful discussion (in just the right number of notes conveniently placed at the bottom of the page) of alternative possibilities at key points. Best of all, the thoughtful and well-crafted surrounding material—notes, glossary, introduction, and interpretive essay—supplies a marvelous guide to Aristotle’s unique way of presenting the central questions of ethics and politics. This is the version I will use when next I teach the Nicomachean Ethics.”

(Stephen G. Salkever, Bryn Mawr College)

“This translation will easily be the best available English version of the Nicomachean Ethics.”

(Michael Davis, Sarah Lawrence College)

“Bartlett and Collins’s translation of the Nicomachean Ethics is the best in English that I have read. It nicely couples a consistent faithfulness to Aristotle’s Greek with a high degree of readability. This will be a real service to scholars and students.”

(Gerald M. Mara, Georgetown University)

“[A] readable, careful, and unusually reliable translation.”

(E. M. Macierowski Choice)

About the Author

Robert C. Bartlett is the Behrakis Professor in Hellenic Political Studies at Boston College. Susan D. Collins is associate professor of political science, with a joint appointment in The Honors College, at the University of Houston.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (June 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226026744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226026749
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #662,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bartlett and Collins have penned what now must be considered the translation of choice into English of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics.

The best review I have so far read of it is "Code of the Gentleman" by Diana Schaub in The Claremont Review of Books.

There are so many felicities in their rethinking of how to translate Aristotle into English, and so many useful features such as footnotes (not tiresome endnotes), a glossary, interpretative essay, detailed indices etc., that the reader is brought closer to the text, and therefore to the meaning of the author, and not estranged from it by excessive pandering to the limitations of careless readers who do not like to have to think long and hard to get to the truth about things, especially naturally contentious human things like `morality'.

This translation surpasses those by Sachs, Broadie and Rowe, Irwin, Ostwald, and Ross (the superior literary, but not literal translation) which are still useful to consult especially for their critical apparatus and alternative readings of key terms.

Alas, certain significant words do not have footnotes or glossary entries, such as `inquiry/investigation' which they use to translate methodos - literally "the way after" or "the way towards" or "the way of proceeding" especially to the truth about the things human - philosophy. A detailed analytical outline would have been helpful. And, perhaps the size of the font could have been a bit larger in kindness to older eyes.

This translation is also the superior twin to Carnes Lord's translation of "Aristotle The Politics" from the same stable, The University of Chicago Press.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What more could you want in this volume?! July 4, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
ARISTOTLE'S NICOMACHEAN ETHICS includes an introduction, a note on the translation, a bibliography of works consulted, an outline of the text, the new translation by Robert C. Bartlett of Boston College and Susan D. Collins of the University of Houston, learned footnotes at the foot of the pages of the text, a lengthy interpretive essay, an overview of the moral virtues and vices, an English-Greek glossary, a listing of key Greek terms and brief translations of each, an index of proper names, and a general index. Apart from possibly giving the Greek text on one page and the English translation on the facing page, what more could you want?

Because we Americans celebrate the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, I should mention that Aristotle discussed happiness in detail in his NICOMACHEAN ETHICS centuries before the pursuit of happiness was mentioned in the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

In his 1961 inaugural address President John F. Kennedy famously urged Americans not to ask what their country can do for them but what they can do for their country. In this way, he urged the American citizens to be the aristocrats for their country. At one point in their interpretive essay, Bartlett (born 1964) and Collins (born 1960) seems to echo President Kennedy's wording when they say that "justice and friendship are said to exist also to the extent to which each member seeks not or not only his own advantage but also the advantage of the community as a whole" (page 290).

The lengthy interpretive essay (pages 237-302) is accessible and informative. But I do have an admittedly small objection to one paragraph (pages 257-258).
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taking Aristotle Seriously December 8, 2012
Dr. Bartlett and Dr. Collins have created what can only be the penultimate academic translation of this work. In their opening essay, they discuss taking Aristotle seriously as a thinker, something rarely done today. Aristotle is frequently written off as a curiosity of the ancient and medieval world, containing metaphysical conceptions of the good and politics that have become outmoded by modern thinkers. Besides committing an obvious logical fallacy (that which is old must be incorrect), this type of thinking ignores the irreplaceable role that Aristotle has played in the formation of the political, philosophical, and even religious thinking that has formed so much of the modern world. Collins and Bartlett make very clear in their interpretive essay that they intend to take Aristotle seriously as a thinker, and it shows in how carefully they have organized and structured their translation.

Those who have studied ancient Greek know that it is a horrible language to translate into English. Besides its characteristic terseness, so much of its vocabulary contains specific connotations that don't carry over well into analogous English words. Collins and Bartlett are very cognizant of this problem, and have taken steps to remedy it, or make the reader aware of the connotations. This is why you may stumble across odd words or detailed footnotes in the process of reading the Collins and Bartlett translation. If you want to attain a real understanding of Aristotle, and you don't want to spend years of your life learning Ancient Greek to do so, this is the tool you need.

It is tempting to write off Aristotle.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars no page numbers
If you have to read this for a class I suggest getting the paperback book. Ebook does not have page numbers only location, no good! Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Ethics in Plain English
Bartlett and Collins have produced a careful and accessible translation that seems to fairly capture the precision of Aristotle's own word choice. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Samuel J. Sharp
5.0 out of 5 stars possitive
Reading this book now for a college history class. Just started it but seems to be a good book now.
Published 10 months ago by Shelly J. Skoog
1.0 out of 5 stars Snooze feet
I had to read this for school and if you have to also I feel bad for you. How much do we really need to know about Aritotle really
Published 13 months ago by Cpdealer
5.0 out of 5 stars An All-Time Favorite
This is a book that should not be passed by. Aristotle was one smart guy with incredible observation skills and common sense. A must read! Really!!
Published 17 months ago by TxStudent
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
this is a great read, although i have to take my time to let it sink in. it helps to find an online commentary as some of the concepts such as friendship, morals and justice run... Read more
Published 17 months ago by randy thurman
5.0 out of 5 stars Must reading for everyone
This isn't just a philosophy book, and it isn't just another translation of the Ethics. It is a fantastic translation with wonderful notes about a variety of terms and the meaning... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Obiwanky
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Greek, but not really English, either
Plagued by odd word choices. "Perplexities" is used instead of question, issue, problem, puzzle, or even curiosity.

"Manifest" not "apparent" or simply, "clear. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Philip
5.0 out of 5 stars Be reminded of why we do what is right
Here's where it all began. Well, it actually probably wasn't Aristotle who first thought these things, but it's one of the earliest written works that has survived on the topic of... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Trinity
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written!
As advertised, I comport that the authors' translation is well written, which makes the text comprehendible.
This is a book that I highly recommend.
Published 20 months ago by MrJBond
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