Customer Reviews: The Basic Works of Aristotle (Modern Library Classics)
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on March 30, 2004
This book is the best one-volume selection of Aristotle's works out there. Your other choices are either the two-volume complete works of Aristotle (ISBN: 069101650X and 0691016518), choppy and ragged selections of the overall books, or buying the individual books. This books facilitates study of Aristotle's comprehensive and coherent philosophy.
This edition has Organon, Physics, On The Heavens, On generation And Corruption, On The Soul, Short Physical Treaties, the Three Animals Treaties, Metaphysics, Ethics, Politics, Rhetoric, and Poetics. You have all of the standards that a student would need, plus the lesser-known works. Therefore, this book has achieved the Aristotelian "mean." It is in perfect balance.
The selection is superb, but the translation is moderate. Being done in the 1940's, it sounds tinny. The "old school" translation is full of Latinisms, archaisms, and is stuffy. All this means that it is unclear, which is deadly to a translation.
The Philosophy of Aristotle (ISBN: 0451528875), on the other hand, is a lively and vibrant. And above all, a clear translation.
I recommend getting the hardcover edition. The paper is sturdy, and not the newsprint like tin the soft cover. Furthermore, it is a high-quality binding, and even comes in a protecting box. This book is made to last, to endure, and to be used.
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on May 19, 2004
Not everyone who is interested in reading Aristotle will want to buy the two volumes of the Oxford translation of Aristotle's complete works. If you're someone who is studying Aristotle for a college course or simply want to become acquainted with what he wrote, then I recommend this book. As other reviewers have said it has complete versions of all of the most famous works of Aristotle e.g. Nichomachean Ethics,Politics,Metaphysics and Physics and also the complete Categories and De Interpretatione from the Organon. As for the translations, these are taken from the original Oxford translation published in 12 volumes in the 1920's. They may not be quite as up to date as the translations in the present Oxford translation but they're perfectly acceptable and correct. As it says on the back cover of the book, this is the best one volume edition of Aristotle's works that you can buy.
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on March 31, 2009
I'm only just starting to read Aristotle's works, but already I wish I got the 2-volume Oxford set. Compare the line 20 of the first book (translated by Edghill) from Basic Works:

"Of things themselves some are predicable of a subject, and are never present in a subject. Thus 'man' is predicable of the individual man, and is never present in a subject."

to the corresponding line from the Oxford (translated by Ackrill):

"Of things there are (a) some are *said* of a subject but are not *in* any subject. For example, man is said of a subject, the individual man, but is not in any subject."

The Oxford seems to be a smoother translation, and perhaps a little clearer.

Also some of the works in Basic Works are abridged. For example, Chapters 4-33 are omitted from On Sophistical Refutations.

UPDATE 2010-12-13 -----------------

I found the Oxford translation hard going - too hard, really. Note that the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy page on Aristotle mentions that while the Oxford texts are the standard, Irwin and Fine's "Aristotle: Selections" is an "excellent translation", so I wish I got that instead. Really though, what I needed was Adler's "Aristotle for Everybody" - I am reading that now and construct no impediment to its luminous flood.
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VINE VOICEon May 20, 2009
Of Aristotle's works, I offer no critique; what could I say that has not been said more clearly and elegantly by reviewers more expert than I on the subject? Beyond the incredible historical and cultural import of the works, the fact that the writings of a scientist and philosopher who lived some 2300+ years ago resonate so clearly with the modern reader speaks to their brilliance--even in the cases where philosophical and scientific advances made some ideas outdated. Instead, I critique this particular volume, which in my mind has several strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths: As others have noticed, this is the best one-volume compilation of Aristotle's works. In terms of cost and convenience that makes this an attractive work. For someone interested in the full scope of Aristotle's works, this would be a nice version to have.

Weaknesses: I cannot read the original Greek to compare the translation to the original, but in English, the translation can come off as a bit dry, dated, and uninspired. For me, I also missed the lack of introductory material or other commentary on the works, which are quite difficult for the general reader. In retrospect, as I was interested in gaining in-depth exposure to some of Aristotle's "greatest hits" rather than the entire magnitude of his works, I probably would've been better off buying a smaller number of works separately. Greater cost would've been outweighed by the greater commentary which separate works could've provided. For people reading this material as part of a class, this might not be an important weakness, but it is important for readers like me attempting to gain some insight to the wisdom of Aristotle through independent study.

A version with definite pros and cons; I believe its utility depends on the intended usage and the existing familiarity with Aristotle's works of the reader. I believe this version is very good on its own merits, but again as a more general reader looking for exposure to the philosophy of Aristotle, I don't know that this was the best version for me. I am not too proud to admit that as a newcomer to Aristotle I would have enjoyed a little hand-holding as I navigated his philosophical realm for the first time; buying separate versions of his works might've been best. However, for the reader looking for a one-volume version of Aristotle's works, this is the version for you.
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on February 23, 2001
Richard Mckeon's "Basic Works of Aristotle" proves to be the best single volume extract from the writtings of Aristotle. All the necessary prerequisites were applied in creating this wonderful book. The quality price ratio far surmounts that of any other volume. It's comprehensive and concise, lengthy yet time saving. Definitely a steal; please purchase Mckeon's work, it's the best volume out there!
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on October 22, 2015
Okay, so almost nobody buys this book to "read" it. This is an English translation produced by a New York university library of the original Germanic text of Aristotle which is his oldest known "complete works of". This is a reference text for people who study Philosophy, and because I study Philosophy I snagged the opportunity to buy this pre-loved book. The printing is of fine quality, the paper is lovely, and the overall condition of the work is good. This book has made life much easier for me, because I can use it to reference large tracts of Aristotle in my papers, and has proved valuable in researching obscure course material on topics, such as "Metaphysics" - directly from the source (something not even many lecturers actually bother to do) which allows the researcher to better understand both source and derivative material, and accurately emplace historical context on their own products. My personal view on reading this material is that it is very old, densely packed, difficult to understand, and the lay reader will require some considerable grounding in both the known facts of Aristotle's life, as well as the subject matter he works with before attempting to tackle it on their own. This is very literally from the birth of Philosophy as a field of study, and Aristotle, like Plato, considers the field of Philosophy through the practice of pure reasoning from first principles to the be the absolute pinnacle of human intellectual achievement. Mostly dialectic in style, it is a great accompaniment to a "Complete Works of Plato" on any bookshelf. Be fairly warned though, if someone sees this on your bookshelf and questions you about it, attempting to talk about Aristotle's reasoning without having actually read any Aristotle will make anyone, however learned, look and feel like a pretentious fool. However, if you can get into it, there is SO much to love about Aristotle's philosophical work. The power of the man's mind is amazing, his reasoning skill is scalpel-sharp and rarely if ever does he waste words. The work (and wit) are of first-rate quality, throughout the entire text. This book can be opened to any page at random and provide enough to absorb, discuss, and research for great lengths of time.
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on November 2, 2009
This in my opinion is the finest one volume collection of the works of Aristotle. I cannot offer anything novel in my review; other reviewers furnished numerous pertinent instructive descriptions. Having the material in one volume is very helpful and I too think the Oxford work isn't as rigid. I recommend it to anyone who desires the meat of Aristotle's work in a format that is inexpensive and convenient. Textual criticism may not allow one to know which texts are genuine among the extant material, but what we do have of assumed Aristotelian thought is utterly important and stunningly relevant in today's philosophical discussions.
All philosophers, epistemologists, and apologists should own this compilation and contrast it to the Oxford edition.
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on July 11, 2012
No, it doesn't have the great introductions you will get in the individual copies of the texts; it has very simple, nice outlines of each section at the beginning of each book though. The fact that this book is massive (around 1600 pages) and contains the complete editions of his most famous works - Metaphysics, Ethics, and Politics - and is less than twenty bucks makes it a steal. It's easily one of my favorites of all time.
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on October 14, 2015
You read it for many reasons. Possible just to know you read him. Of course there's a lot of stuff we know isn't true and there is some logic that isn't even logical, but, lets be fair, it was over 2300 years ago. The breadth of his knowledge, his creativity, his curiosity and passion for learning would still be remarkable today.

I pick it up. I read a little. I put it down. You actually have to think. It's not casual reading. It doesn't matter if you think Plato was more wonderful (I do not), but what we owe the Greek philosophers, artists, scientists, mathematicians, musicians, orators and writers is immeasurable, and he is up near the top of the list.

Get it, even if only for your shelf.
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on September 22, 2015
Very useful and a good way to reduce the amount of Aristoteles books. But in general I prefer to have every book in a modern well annotated translation. Specially related to the words that are clue to understand the greek philosophy and need a note about his complexity or polisemy
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