- Series: Masterworks of Discovery
- Paperback: 278 pages
- Publisher: Rutgers University Press; None edition (March 1, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0813521920
- ISBN-13: 978-0813521923
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Aristotle's Physics: A Guided Study (Masterworks of Discovery) None Edition
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Unfortunately, one of the great benefits of Sachs' translation method is also one of its downfalls: "Being-at-work-staying-itself" may get the idea across, but it just doesn't read well in English. Reading Aristotle in Sachs' translation is rewarding, but cumbersome. I would recommend reading Sachs alongside Apostle or the Loeb edition to get an addditional perpective on the text, and also to alert you to the terms that, although misleading, form the framework of later Aristotelian thought.
His translation is decent (that is, mostly literal) until one reaches the key technical terms: ousia, energeia, to ti en einai, archai, entelekeia, etc. Sachs wishes to translate these into clear, immediately comprehensible everyday English. Unfortunately, this is precisely what I believe he often fails to do. His translations are but sometimes immediately clear, but (to take three examples) "energeia" is rendered "being-at-work", its mate, "entelecheia", "being-at-work-staying-itself", and "ousia" is "thinghood": phrases which, to the uninitiated, remain as much, if not more obscure than their Latin competitors: "activity" and "actuality". In fact, I could not decipher them without the aid of my professors and a lexicon to return to the Greek.
None of this is much different in other translations nor makes Sachs worse than the other competitors: Aristotle uses unexplained technical terms in his theoretical works and the reader will struggle regardless of translation. But to this end of comprehension, to assert Mr. Sachs's translation as the clearest is mistaken. His translation runs the risk of creating an entirely new technical jargon, the very thing he wished to avoid.
Further, this edition was not seemingly made for serious study: the Bekker numbers are embedded in the text and unbolded, making them almost impossible to find quickly and there is running commentary which is easily confused at first sight for the text itself. These two factors make this edition unsuitable for serious study. Far superior, in aesthetics and in translation, is Glen Coughlin's translation of the Physics, which (appropriately enough) strikes the mean between the Latin cognates and Sachsian terminology.