Aristotle the Philosopher [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 36 (2):439-441 (1982)
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Ackrill has written an enthusiastic and provocative introduction to Aristotle's philosophy of a type hitherto neglected. The book is neither a comprehensive presentation of Aristotle's thought nor a more limited sketch of its various parts through the perspective of some crucial Aristotelian insights. Its aim is to incite the reader to an independent reading of Aristotle by providing a philosophically stimulating guide to some of Aristotle's more persistently interesting ideas and arguments. No attempt is made to cover all the ground of Aristotelian philosophy, but rather to discuss philosophical problems raised by Aristotle which Ackrill finds particularly piquant. Ackrill manages, nonetheless, to consider problems from most subdivisions of philosophical inquiry. The author denies that Aristotle's writings constitute a set of doctrines, and the entire book stands for the claim that Aristotle can be argued with "as if he were a contemporary". Thus Ackrill frequently criticizes the Aristotelian positions he reports, or mentions alternative views. Aristotle's antiquity is granted some advantage, however, for Ackrill finds Aristotle close enough to philosophy's beginnings to tackle philosophical problems in a brilliant way without an overly-technical language or method.



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