Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Aristotle in 90 Minutes by Paul Strathern (Book Review #100 of 2014)


This is another in the Strathern series on philosophers. I found this work to be more succinct than the one on Socrates. Strathern gets criticized for leaving too much out, but these books serve their purpose. For me, they give an overview of the philosopher's life, his context, and some of his contributions to later thought and even modern society before I read the subject's work.

Aristotle was a polymath who studied under Plato and developed the formal discipline of logic. Christian apologetics today hinges on the use of Aristotelian logic, which is why Christian classical schools teach dialectic and logic early on. Aristotle apparently rivaled Plato as he developed, which led to some separation between the philosophers. He made contributions to many areas, including science, and the author also points out many things he was remarkably wrong about. There is an argument that paradigm kept Aristotle from discovering truths he perhaps should have, such as the earth orbiting the sun rather than vice-versa.

I find it interesting that Aristotle, like many of the Greek philosophers and writers, was largely forgotten or ignored by the West until about the Renaissance, but all of his works were studied by Islamic peoples and Aristotelian thought permeates Islamic doctrine.

In 2015, I intend to read Aristotle's Politics along with Plato's Laws. Strathern alleges that Aristotle's work is more pragmatic, rather than constructing the ideal society he sets out how to govern in reality. I want to complete these, some Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius' Meditations before tackling Augustine's City of God. 4 stars out of 5. I enjoy Strathern's series.

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