Man, I feel a little silly for not being able to remember what Aristotle thought about revolutions. I honestly can’t remember much of Aristotle. When I studied him in school I found him incredibly arcane compared to Plato (and I both texts had the same translator!), and all I can really remember is “Golden Mean”, some class room discussion about his education program, and of course, how his scientific method set back science for centuries.

There is actually a question here: is there a trick to reading Aristotle I’m missing? Is there one translation of him that’s superior to others, like Bloom for the Socratic dialogues? I feel like now is probably a good time to give Aristotle a second go, but I don’t want to get lost twice.

I’m not sure what the simplest answer to that is.  I read Aristotle when I did a module in ancient philosophy (so that was presocratics, tiny bit of sophists, Plato/Socrates and Aristotle) but that was much more his metaphysics and I found that bland, much preferring Plato.  I also read him for ethics which looked entirely at specific sections of his Nicomachean Ethics (I used the Oxford World Classics edition translated by Ross) and for political philosophy, which looked at both Nicomachean Ethics and Politics (again I used the Oxford World Classics edition, this time translated by Barker).

I didn’t rate Politics exceptionally highly, and we only looked at specific sections relevant to what we were talking about in the seminars though I did quite like what he had to say about direct democracy and his advocacy of it.  What I appreciated much more about him was his approach to human nature as put forward in Nicomachean Ethics.  I found that much more interesting and easy to read.

So basically, read his ethics and ignore most of his politics, just cherry picking to see what you find interesting?  He was a bit of an ass about some things so I don’t think he’s my favourite person ever in ever, but he still has some interesting bits you can pick out.

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