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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A excellent guide to reading Aristotle himself
The work of Aristotle is difficult, wide-ranging and dry. As Joanathan Barnes explained in the introduction in this book, this is probably because Aristotle's work is an unauthorized collection of lecture notes. Therefore, an introduction to the main themes in his work is an invaluable help to approaching the master's work. The Cambridge guide has chapters on...
Published on March 9, 2000 by Louie Kin Yip

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I appreciate Robin Smith's work here
I really appreciate Robin Smith's summary. I find that Barnes, who wrote several sections, comments negatively (pointing out what he thinks are flaws) in the midst of what I think should be summary. I really think he should share commentary after he shares a summary. Also, I don't find Barnes to offer a balanced view, but an overly-negative one. His work on Aristotle's...
Published on April 19, 2010 by Michael R. Burton


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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A excellent guide to reading Aristotle himself, March 9, 2000
By 
Louie Kin Yip (Hong Kong, China) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy) (Paperback)
The work of Aristotle is difficult, wide-ranging and dry. As Joanathan Barnes explained in the introduction in this book, this is probably because Aristotle's work is an unauthorized collection of lecture notes. Therefore, an introduction to the main themes in his work is an invaluable help to approaching the master's work. The Cambridge guide has chapters on metaphysics, logic, ethics, philosophy of science, science, psychology, politics, rhetoric. It also contains a massive bibliography. The essays concentrates on explaining the content of Aristotle's work, but it also introduce readers to modern controveries in interpretating Aristotle. The essay of Barnes on the very confusing work Metaphysics is pure gold. Other essays are excellent too.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cream of the Companion Series, April 11, 2003
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x_gamma "x_gamma" (Salem, OR United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy) (Paperback)
The 'Cambridge Companion' to philosophy series has put out some great products. In my opinion this may be the best. Absolutely splendid articles that help the reader understand Aristotle rather than some philosopher's interpretation of him. For such a polymath as Aristotle, the authors did a good job of focusing on key facets of his philosopy that adequately prepare and stimulate the reader to investigate other of Aristotle's writings, which the Companion could not cover for lack of space. The bibliography and subject guides to the secondary liturature are well done.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle, June 16, 2002
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This review is from: The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy) (Paperback)
The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle edited by Jonathan Barnes is a is an excellent book. If you are studing Aristotle or just reading him, you've probably gritted your teeth and started to put the reading down for later. Being that most of us do NOT read Greek, we rely on someone who can and the translations do vary. We also need a way to study and a plan to organize our reading in a logical manner.
This book is an excellent choice for that purpose. This book helps to alleviate some of the fears one has in reading a great thinker who is not only difficult and challenging but also complex. The content of this book are as follows: Logic, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Science, Science, Psychology, Ethics, Politics, Rhetoric and poetics. There is an introduction and a suggestions for reading section which are invaluable and help the reader to understand and comprehend what is trying to be said.
If you need help with Aristotle... look no further than this book to help you get organized and to better understand Aristotle. Approach and methods vary from person to person, but if someone has proceeded you in understanding it is prudent to follow those footsteps... then make your interpretation.
The editor has written an excellent chapter on Metaphysics. Metaphysics is one of Aristotle's most difficult books to understand. Here the editor helps the reader to understand it and also how to read Aristotle with a logical approach.
Remember the best aid to reading Aristotle is Aristotle himself. Aristotle is difficult so read him slowly, very slowly, then he is inspiring and gripping. But, it helps to have someone to rely on and this book will help.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy of Aristotle? This is the best introduction, June 21, 2008
This review is from: The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy) (Paperback)
This is the best introduction to one of the most - if not the most - important philosophers in human history.

Aristotle's body of work is extremely wide-ranging as well as dense in detail, and often extremely complex and subtle. This Cambridge Companion simplifies and explains - without the loss of fidelity to the complex and subtle and innovative nature of his teachings - the most important of his teachings.

This Cambridge Companion to Aristotle has essays by preeminent scholars in the field. The book focuses on the most important and influential of Aristotle's philosophical thinking.

It includes essays on Aristotle's logic, metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of science and science generally, and psychology, poetics, rhetoric, and politics. These are the core subjects in Aristotle's canon. It is generally believed among scholars that most all of the work of Aristotle that has survived and come down to us today, consists of copies of lecture notes that his students took at his school (known as the Lyceum). Thus, much of his "writings" - though copied for generations and then edited by translators - often seems disjointed or unnecessarily complex in terms of its clarity and organization.

If you are new to studying philosophy, I suggest you start with this Cambridge Companion or the one on Plato. If you start with the one on Aristotle, I suggest you read this Companion and then either at the same time or right after, begin reading the primary texts. You can read all the secondary and ancillary texts you want on philosophers and philosophy, but they are never a substitute for the primary texts. The primary texts are infinitely more rewarding, provided you are able to understand them - and that is where guides like this one come in hand.

To start off on some of his most readable and understandable works (yet still highly important), I suggest you start with poetics (which is about the construction of and study of drama and story (think "plays" or stories like the Illiad by Homer), and narrative structure. What we have of poetics is short, excellent, and is generally believed to be only one part of a larger teaching that has been lost to humanity. I then suggest you read Aristotle's Rhetoric and then Politics. These are easy to understand, but you will gain tremendously by re-reading them over time in greater detail. You can then move on to his Logic (which Aristotle is known as the founder of logic, he invented, or depending on your view, discovered, the tri-partite syllogism and syllogistic structure and logical argument. You can then move on to his Metaphysics, but I suggest that you read and study Plato before embarking on Aristotle's Metaphysics, as you will understand Aristotle better by first reading Plato, as Aristotle was a student of Plato, and Aristotle's Metaphysics takes into account, is a reaction to, and is an extension and modification (or overturning of most aspects- depending on your viewpoint), of Plato's metaphysics (Plato's Ideas vs. Aristotle's Universals). The Cambridge Companion to Plato is also excellent. If you are embarking on a serious study of philosophy for the first time, you may want to read Plato and the Cambridge Companion to Plato before embarking on Aristotle. You will understand Aristotle better if you understand Plato's works first. These are the two most important philosophers in Western civilization, and in my view - and depending on your viewpoint - world history and civilization.

In any event I highly recommend this Cambridge Companion to Aristotle. This is the first one I purchased and read, and I have subsequently enjoyed and found extremely useful other Cambridge Companions for other philosophers.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I appreciate Robin Smith's work here, April 19, 2010
By 
Michael R. Burton (Framingham, Ma United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy) (Paperback)
I really appreciate Robin Smith's summary. I find that Barnes, who wrote several sections, comments negatively (pointing out what he thinks are flaws) in the midst of what I think should be summary. I really think he should share commentary after he shares a summary. Also, I don't find Barnes to offer a balanced view, but an overly-negative one. His work on Aristotle's Rhetoric, for example, finds all kinds of things he doesn't like, but does not acknowledge the fantastically useful stuff.

Again, I find Robin Smith's work useful and dispassionate, and I thank the cambridge companion for making me aware of him; I have since picked up his translation of Topics (Books 1 & 8) and his translation of Prior Analytics.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Barnes is quite biased, November 30, 2011
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This review is from: The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy) (Paperback)
Barnes likes highlighting all of the problems that arise in Aristotle's works. In addition, he highlights how impossible it is to get at Aristotle's philosophy at all since it comes down to us through mysterious sources. Of course that is fine, but for newcomers to Aristotle it seems that criticism should be placed aside to begin with so that we can understand basically what was claimed. I was particularly put off by the fact that he wrote three of the essays in this work himself and claims that Aristotle's work "Metaphysics" has nothing unifying it at all. This is not a majority position among Aristotle scholars, indeed it is a radical and extremely skeptical claim. For a more charitable view of Aristotle for newcomers I recommend Joe Sachs' prefaces to his translations of Aristotle.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars See what Aristotle would be like today, July 26, 2008
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Gerardo Arnaez (Winston-Salem, NC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy) (Paperback)
A great book, but Johnathan Barnes, the editor, must be the living embodiment of Aristotle's philosophy: Lean, uncompromising yet humorously and unknowingly pompous in the extreme. Please Please read his introduction. It reminds me of my college days when we were all so insufferable know-it-alls.

Again, if you want to see Aristotle live and breathe, get this book
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If your education lacks Aristotle, your education is incomplete, July 3, 2013
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This review is from: The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy) (Paperback)
I studied philosophy in college, but for some insane reason, my professors saw fit to omit Aristotle. Years later, I picked up Aristotle's works as a supplement for a project on contemporary German philosophy...and I was utterly flabbergasted. How could these clowns who shepherded me through an undergraduate program in philosophy have neglected to give me a healthy immersion into the ideas of one of the greatest teachers, thinkers, and researchers who ever lived?

Read your Aristotle. Now. And often. And have the Cambridge Companion by your side to help you along.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Would Recommend, September 24, 2014
This review is from: The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy) (Paperback)
This book is a great companion to reading Aristotle. Aristotle is immensely difficult to read, and takes a very long time. I would recommend anybody who attempts Aristotle to read not only this companion, but also read other sources as well. Most of the chapters are very illuminating, most notably the section on Aristotle's Politics by C C W Taylor. The section on Ethics only reviews what Aristotle said in his Nicomachean and Eudemian Ethics without going into too much detail or criticism, but is still valuable still. I disliked Jonathan Barnes' chapters, which is a shame because he wrote on the Metaphysics. Although his sections are illuminating and he offers many criticisms of Aristotle's ideas (always welcome in a philosophy book), his criticisms are often silly or weak and easily countered, which detracts from the experience of reading a mind as great as Aristotle. I'm sure much of it had to do with space limitations while writing these sections (in some places he just says that Aristotle was wrong without actually saying why), some of his criticisms seemed to be unnecessary, out of place, or quibbling.

Overall, a great book. I just wish each section was longer and able to be developed more fully. They certainly read fast and seem rushed.
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The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy)
The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy) by Jonathan Barnes (Paperback - January 27, 1995)
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