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by Jonathan Lear
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Humanities
  • Author:
    Jonathan Lear
  • ISBN:
    0521345235
  • ISBN13:
    978-0521345231
  • Genre:
  • Publisher:
    Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (February 26, 1988)
  • Pages:
    339 pages
  • Subcategory:
    Humanities
  • Language:
  • FB2 format
    1392 kb
  • ePUB format
    1232 kb
  • DJVU format
    1365 kb
  • Rating:
    4.7
  • Votes:
    126
  • Formats:
    azw docx mobi mbr


Author Jonathan Lear, a Cambridge-trained Chicago University Professor of Philosophy and author of at least 8. .

The author organizes his work around the following chapter topics: 1 The desire to understand 2 Nature 3 Change 4 Man's nature 5 Mind in action 5 Ethics and the organization of desire 6 Understanding the broad structure of reality. In Chapter 1, Lear sketches the outlines of Aristotelian philosophy

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Jonathan Lear gives us a truthful and insightful look at Aristotle's thoughts. A simply excellent book introducing the philosophy of Aristotle by Jonathan Lear. Ackrill) Lear attempts at explaining what Aristotle was saying, not an elaborate re-interpretation and argumentation. Questions and certain problems are not, however, ignored.

The desire to understand Aristotle's Metaphysics begins: All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all others the sense of sight. For not only with a view to action, but even when we are not going to do anything, we prefer sight to almost everything else. The reason is that this, most of all the senses, makes us know and brings to light many differences between things. 1 Aristotle is attributing to us a desire, a force, which urges us on toward knowledge.

This is a philosophical introduction to Aristotle, and Professor Lear starts where Aristotle himself started

This is a philosophical introduction to Aristotle, and Professor Lear starts where Aristotle himself started. He introduces us to the essence of Aristotle's philosophy and guides us through all the central Aristotelian texts-selected from the Physics, Metaphysics, Ethics, Politics and the biological and logical works. The book is written in a direct, lucid style that engages the reader with the themes in an active and participatory manner.

The Desire to Understand. This is a 1988 philosophical introduction to Aristotle, and Professor Lear starts where Aristotle himself starts. The first sentence of the Metaphysics states that all human beings by their nature desire to know. But what is it for us to be animated by this desire in this world? What is it for a creature to have a nature; what is our human nature; what must the world be like to be intelligible; and what must we be like to understand it systematically?

This is a 1988 philosophical introduction to Aristotle, and Professor Lear starts where Aristotle himself starts. The first sentence of the Metaphysics states that all human beings by their nature desire to know

This is a 1988 philosophical introduction to Aristotle, and Professor Lear starts where Aristotle himself starts. But what is it for us to be animated by this desire in this world?

The Desire to Understand, Aristotle’s basic point in the opening lines of the Metaphysics is that we have a basic desire for knowledge, a desire that finds its expression in our delight in gazing upon signs, reading, writing, discussing, etc., Aristotle sees the satisfaction of the desire in the case of sight-seeing as telling: clearly we delegat, . are satisfied, by the mere seeing. Yet this delight would be inexplicable were our basic desire something like self-aggrandizement.

Items related to Aristotle: The Desire to Understand. Book Description: An introduction to Aristotle's philosophy progresses through all the central texts selected from the Physics, Metaphysics, Ethics, Politics and the biological and logical works as well

Items related to Aristotle: The Desire to Understand. Jonathan Lear Aristotle: The Desire to Understand. ISBN 13: 9780511570612. Aristotle: The Desire to Understand. Book Description: An introduction to Aristotle's philosophy progresses through all the central texts selected from the Physics, Metaphysics, Ethics, Politics and the biological and logical works as well. From the Back Cover: The book is written in a direct, lucid style which engages the reader with the themes in an active, participatory manner.

This is a philosophical introduction to Aristotle, and Professor Lear starts where Aristotle himself started. He introduces us to the essence of Aristotle's philosophy and guides us through all the central Aristotelian texts--selected from the Physics, Metaphysics, Ethics, Politics and the biological and logical works. The book is written in a direct, lucid style that engages the reader with the themes in an active and participatory manner. It will prove a stimulating introduction for all students of Greek philosophy and for a wide range of others interested in Aristotle as a giant figure in Western intellectual history.

Roram
This book is probably the most excellent exposition of Aristotle's thought that I've ever read, and I've read most of them. He focuses in a beautiful way on the sensual power and supremacy that form has as actuality in Aristotle's thought. I can't speak highly enough of how thorough, how well written this book is. This is the stuff that Philosophy is made of!
THOMAS
A great book to help further enlighten students of Aristotle's philosophy
Gholbimand
Aristotle: The Desire to Understand by Jonathan Lear
Cambridge University Press, first published 1988, 21st printing 2007, 328pp

Author Jonathan Lear, a Cambridge-trained Chicago University Professor of Philosophy and author of at least 8 books and numerous essays and critical reviews on Philosophy, has written a wonderful book very suitable for those wishing to gain a solid introduction to Aristotle's thought. The author organizes his work around the following chapter topics:

1 The desire to understand
2 Nature
3 Change
4 Man's nature
5 Mind in action
5 Ethics and the organization of desire
6 Understanding the broad structure of reality

In Chapter 1, Lear sketches the outlines of Aristotelian philosophy. He draws mostly from Metaphysics, using the opening line of that work for his own:

"All men by nature desire to know" (Metaphysics I.1, 980a22).

The remaining chapters are spent delving into the implied questions behind that opening statement: What are men? What do we mean by men's natures - or by nature in general? What is desire and where does it come from? What does it mean to know? What precisely is it that becomes known? How does knowing take place? These are not explicitly posed questions from Lear, but are implied by his discourse; and they need to be addressed as Aristotle's thought is unpacked and examined at close range.

In Chapter 2, "Nature", Lear introduces the concepts of change, motion, causation, form and matter, pulling mostly from Physics, and Parts of Animals. The next chapter, "Change", takes us through the Aristotelian response to Parmenides (who argued that change was impossible), and into the concepts of potentiality, actuality, time, and the infinite, making use of the paradox of Zeno's Arrow in the last section to develop them more fully. Except for a few quotes here and there from Nicomachean Ethics and Metaphysics, Lear pulls exclusively from Physics.

Chapters 4 and 5 turn from nature in general to man and his nature; first looking at what man is (chapter 4), and then at his relation to other men in a society (chapter 5). On the Soul and Nicomachean Ethics are the primary sources of these two chapters, and some very important concepts are developed: matter and form are further explored, especially what it means to be an "enmattered form"; the terms logos, essence, and substance are more closely defined with form (they are form), intelligibility, sensible form, perception, mind, the activity of mind and the hierarchical direction of something intelligible moving from potentiality to actuality (that a form being contemplated by mind is the highest actuality and why that is true), happiness, virtue, and the problem of slavery (something that Aristotle is accused of not addressing, but, as Lear demonstrates, something he did deal with more than is generally thought). The examination of incontinence was especially illuminating:

"Aristotle says: 'Badness escapes notice, but incontinence does not.' What he means, I think, is this: even a bad man will be pursuing ends which he takes to be good - that is, good for him. That his ends are bad, even for him, will not be something he will appreciate. If he did, he would not pursue them. The incontinent, by contrast, will be brought face to face with his ignorance when he is put in a situation in which he must act on his purported beliefs... The incontinent, though, must confront the inescapable fact that what he says, however sincerely, is not like-natured with what he does. He is brought up short by his own action."

The last chapter, "Understanding the broad structure of reality", is where Lear ties everything together, not just for the sake of summation, but to take the reader on a giant leap with Aristotle: logic, math, being, a further development of substance, the principle of non-contradiction (here, Heraclitus is in the dock, much as Parmenides was in the earlier sections on Change), and a high-level walk through of Metaphysics Zeta are all pulled together to complete the picture of Aristotelian thought; but it is more than that.

Lear's purpose was from the start to give the reader a real exercise in Aristotle's philosophy not simply by writing about it, but by taking him through the process of understanding itself; as Aristotle says, it is the mind's process of trying to know a thing (a "this thing" as it turns out), that we achieve understanding; and in that understanding we reach our highest actuality. To know and to realize the full impact of what the highest actuality is, you must walk through Aristotle's thought. Lear proves to be a very able guide and I highly recommend this book.

One last note is that Lear provides footnotes indicating which sections of Aristotle are helpful for reviewing: I highly recommend taking the time to read Aristotle's sections before reading Lear; having a copy of Oxford's two-volume "Complete Works of Aristotle", edited by Jonathan Barnes, was very helpful for this purpose.

"To have episteme one must not only know a thing, one must also grasp its cause or explanation. This is to understand it: to know in a deep sense what it is and how it has come to be. Philosophy is episteme of the truth." (Metaphysics II.1, 993b19-20)
Usanner
A simply excellent book introducing the philosophy of Aristotle by Jonathan Lear. Lear accesses the original ancient Greek and as such avoids some of the errors which creep into accounts of ancient philosophy using a contemporary mind-set. A very clear account of Aristotle's many works, excerpts from the metaphysics, ethics and others explaining the somewhat difficult concepts in a fresh way that is free of extraneous interpretation and captures Aristotle's own way of understanding, or at least as close as seems possible given the intervening time. Just when you thought a concept had been understood along comes a new and invigorating idea to surprise you as you proceed through the book. This is not a simple book, neither is it intended to be. I would think it is just about Aristotelian thought and its authentic meaning. Not only does it show the depth of his ideas but gives you an insight into Aristotle's astonishing talents, his thought spanning topics from ethics and politics to biology, it gives the impression that the word polymath was created to describe Aristotle and that any coming after him would try to approach his intellect and insight into the world. The book demonstrates some of Aristotle's greatest solutions to the challenges proposed by Plato's thought as well as Zeno. All in all an exceptional book in the practise of Aristotle's philosophy. It is a pity that the older book by Lear on Aristotelian Logic is now out of print, hopefully this situation is only temporary.
Lianeni
As the author notes, there is a common tendency to describe 'old' philosophies such as Aristotles in an historical manner: to treat his ideas as tacitly dead and gone, with the value of the works deriving from either locating Aristotle's ideas in the context of the history of philosophy, or via some rather facile 'compare and contrast with modern views' approach.
Instead, Lear is "...primarily concerned with the truth about Aristotle, not the truth of Aristotle's views per se...". This frees him up to spend most of his ink on explicating and clarifying the views of Aristotle. Where contrasts do appear, they are intended to "...bring to light how different Aristotle's world is from the modern, not to show how Aristotle's beliefs fall short of what we now take to be the truth."
The organization is by concepts, so within one section there are often references to various books on Aristotle. This is much more helpful than simply attempting to narrate, or move in lockstep, with Aristotle's sequence of writings.
The references are generally sufficient, footnoted at the bottom of the pages. Occasionally, the original Greek words or phrases are also footnoted. (I would have preferred more of the latter, but that is a quibble.)
The author is neither pretentious nor superficial. His writing is that of a patient tutor who is willing to explain, but also not willing to oversimplify. In so doing, the book comes across as being ardently respectful of Aristotle, and it is an excellent companion to reading Aristotle's works.