Readings from the Aristotelian Corpus

Aristotle is both the first great Platonist and Plato's first great critic. Aristotle accepts the broad framework of Platonism, but he rejects what he regards as its excesses and mistakes.

The Aristotelian Corpus

Page from 1831 Bekker edition The Aristotelian corpus is arranged systematically, not chronologically. The logical works are first and are followed by the physical and ethical works.

This arrangement may not have originated with Aristotle. After his death in 322 BCE, the history of his works is uncertain. The books showed up in Rome after Sulla sacked Athens in 86 BCE. There, the books eventually came into the hands of Andronicus of Rhodes. He edited them and became the eleventh successor to Aristotle as head of the Lyceum (in the first century BCE). The Aristotelian corpus, as we now have it, seems to originate with Andronicus.

It is traditional academic practice to quote Aristotle with reference to the edition Immanuel Bekker produced in the 19th century. The image (to the right) shows the first page of the "Physics of Aristotle" (ΑΡΙΣΤΟΤΕΛΟΥΣ ΦΥΣΙΚΗΣ). It begins on page 184, line 10 of the "a" column.

Translations into English

The now standard collection of English translations is The Complete Works of Aristotle, edited by Jonathan Barnes (Princeton University Press, 1984), but it should not be thought automatically that these translations are the best available. Translation is not easy, particularly for philosophical texts. Translators almost inevitably write some of their interpretation of the philosophy into the translation. This is true especially for some of Aristotle's more difficult works.

Not all of Aristotle is available in the Perseus Digital Library. The Loeb Classical Library (available through the library at ASU) has them with the Greek texts (but without the other nice features of the Perseus Digital Library). They are also available in the MIT Classics Archive.

Selected Readings

The readings for this unit are for the most part from the

These works are difficult, and it is not feasible to read them in their entirety in the short time allotted in a semester class. Some of the more important passages are collected below.

Read more generally as time permits.

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