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Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (Focus Philosophical Library Series) Paperback – January 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Sachs’s translations of Aristotle are truly exemplary. They combine a rare sensitivity to Aristotle’s use of the Greek language with an English style that is straightforward and imaginative. But what makes Sachs’s translations even more noteworthy is their attunement to the thought that is indicated by Aristotle’s words, an attunement born of a profound awareness of the untranslatability of this thought into modern philosophical concepts. For anyone seriously interested in Aristotle’s philosophy, Sachs’s translations are indispensable."
—Burt Hopkins, Seattle University


"Sachs’s translations are unequaled in making accessible to Greekless readers an Aristotle undistorted by the influence of Latin. In addition, his helpful glossaries not only explain his own translational choices, but also inform readers of common alternatives, thereby enabling them to cope with the secondary literature. His are my translations of choice, for both introductory and advanced courses."
—Alan White, Williams College

From the Author

"Sachs's translations are unequaled in making accesible to Greekless readers an Aristotle undistorted by the influence of Latin. In addition, his helpful glossaries not only explain his own translational choices, but also inform readers of common alternatives, thereby enabling them to cope with the secondary literature. His are my translations of choice, for both introductory and advanced courses." Alan White, Williams College

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Product Details

  • Series: Focus Philosophical Library
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Focus (January 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585100358
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585100354
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Mae B. Parsley on September 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
Sachs makes this work come alive, and he deserves enormous credit. He manages to strike a delicate balance that is so rare in the world of translating. He has produced a dynamic, lively translation of an ancient text--without compromising the true meaning of the Greek.

Sachs' introduction and footnotes are indispensable. He explains the nuances of several key Greek words, though not in a way that might intimidate the novice. His introduction provides the reader with a stronger understanding of important terms and ideas that will be found in the text, and his footnotes are never intrusive but always welcome. It would be a mistake to take Sachs (or anyone else) as a sole authority on these matters, but his explanations of certain Greek terms are both concise and clear. Many translators of the 'Ethics' have sacrificed the original meaning of the Greek in the attempt to provide readers with something more contemporary-sounding. This is the brilliance of Sachs' translation--he presents the complexities of several Greek concepts without compromising their meaning and without leaving the reader floundering. His use of examples helps illuminate the text as well, especially in his footnotes.

The publication itself is also praiseworthy. It has ample margins and is pretty well bound. All in all, I would recommend Sachs' translation over all others (at least for now).
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Nate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
I've read and taught the Nicomachean Ethics several times in translation, and working through it this time with Joe Sachs' exceptional translation is what for the first time brought the urgency and interest of the text alive for me. I'd always said, in response to student complaints, something like: I know that the book itself, in style, is kind of boring and dry, but the subject matter could not be more important so try and look past that. With this translation, I didn't need to say that. You feel the urgency and importance of the subject in the writing itself. Joe Sachs has done a remarkable thing in bringing this text -- easily one of the most important philosophical works ever written -- to life.

As if that weren't enough, he has also written an excellent and very short introduction to the text that goes a long way towards overcoming many of the commmon misunderstandings of Aristotle's ethics, especially misconceptions tied to the Latin influences on translations of the text. Without any effort to give a "definitive" and inevitably partial account of the text as a whole, he confines himself to addressing three central concepts -- habit, the mean, and the noble -- shows how these have led many readers of the text astray, and points readers towards the passages in Aristotle that can overcome or resolve some of the basic misunderstandings (incidentally, one of these misunderstandings is evident in another review of this translation by FrKurt Mesick, and I can only assume he either didn't read the intro, or he disagreed with it in favor of more standard "textbook" interpretations of Aristotle, or that he is commenting on another translation and just happened to include his review under this one).
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Dustin Stout on March 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Finally, a translator who allows the reader access to Aristotelian thought without all the previous problems encountered with the Latin translations. Sachs gives us a fresh translation of Aristotle's concepts as they were intended to be expressed.
If you're serious about Aristotelian philosophy, I highly recommend Joe Sach's translations.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Davis on November 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mr. Joe Sachs has made something of a name for himself by means of his translations of Aristotle's most important treatises: the Physics, De Anima, Metaphysics, and Nicomachean Ethics have all come under his pen. Most well-known is Mr. Sachs' preference for a new Aristotelian terminology, which frequently, if not totally, eschews the traditional Latin terminology for words he feels are truer to our Anglo-Saxon tongue.

Mr. Sachs' translations are generally accurate and readable. I have read them all and have only a few, though not unimportant, complaints. First, and most grievous, he mistranslates in a few important locations; in the Ethics, he does not distinguish between the Greek words 'airesis' and 'proairesis', but renders them both as 'choice'. Aristotle makes a distinction between the two, with the first characterizing children and animals ('inclination', 'uninformed choice', etc), the second belonging to men alone; for 'proairesis' names the process of identifying the end and the good of man (happiness) and choosing among the many means that which effects the good. This practiced, careful deliberation Aristotle calls 'choice', and it is of central importance to work like the Ethics, and therefore troubling that Mr. Sachs' does not translate more carefully.

The second complaint is that I do not share Mr. Sachs' contention that the traditional terms used to translate Aristotle's technical vocabulary are misleading. Some reviewers refer to the encrusting 'sediment applied by the medieval scholastics' or other less flattering phrases. In the introductions to the Metaphysics and the Ethics, Mr. Sachs makes the rather bold claim that words like 'actuality', 'activity', 'essence', etc.
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