THE PERIOD OF SCHOOLS

Aristotle. The Lyceum.

Aristotle Aristotle's followers were called Περιπατητικοί (Peripatētikoi) because he discussed philosophy while he was walking and his students were following him in the περίπατος or "covered walk" of the Lyceum.

The Lyceum (Λύκειον) was the site of Aristotle's school.

Peripateticus is the Latin translation of Περιπατητικός.

"[T]the associates of Aristotle were called the Peripatetics (Peripatetici), because they used to debate while walking in the Lyceum (Cicero, Academica I.4.17).
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

The Aristotelian corpus is arranged systematically, not chronologically. The logical works are first.They 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 (first century BCE) of Rhodes. He edited them and became the eleventh successor to Aristotle as head of the Lyceum. The Aristotelian corpus, as we now have it, seems to originate with Andronicus.

Aristotelis Opera, Immanuel Bekker.

First page of Aristotle's Physics. In the Bekker numbering, this work begins page 184, line 10 of the "a" column. Page from 1831 Bekker edition
It is now traditional academic practice to quote Aristotle with Bekker numbers. These numbers refer to the edition Immanuel Bekker produced in the 19th century CE.

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.

The Perseus Digital Library only has some of the works in the Aristotelian corpus. The Loeb Classical Library (available through the library at ASU with an ASURITE ID) has all the major works in translation with facing Greek texts (but without the other nice features of the Perseus Digital Library). The MIT Classics Archive has the major works in translation.

Textual Evidence for Aristotle

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.

Sets of Selected Passages

The selection of passages that follow constitute the focus in the unit. Read the lectures first.




move on go back