Aristotle's Way: How discount Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your discount Life online

Aristotle's Way: How discount Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your discount Life online

Aristotle's Way: How discount Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your discount Life online

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From renowned classicist Edith Hall, ARISTOTLE''S WAY is an examination of one of history''s greatest philosophers, showing us how to lead happy, fulfilled, and meaningful lives

Aristotle was the first philosopher to inquire into subjective happiness, and he understood its essence better and more clearly than anyone since. According to Aristotle, happiness is not about well-being, but instead a lasting state of contentment, which should be the ultimate goal of human life. We become happy through finding a purpose, realizing our potential, and modifying our behavior to become the best version of ourselves. With these objectives in mind, Aristotle developed a humane program for becoming a happy person, which has stood the test of time, comprising much of what today we associate with the good life: meaning, creativity, and positivity. Most importantly, Aristotle understood happiness as available to the vast majority us, but only, crucially, if we decide to apply ourselves to its creation--and he led by example. As Hall writes, "If you believe that the goal of human life is to maximize happiness, then you are a budding Aristotelian."

In expert yet vibrant modern language, Hall lays out the crux of Aristotle''s thinking, mixing affecting autobiographical anecdotes with a deep wealth of classical learning. For Hall, whose own life has been greatly improved by her understanding of Aristotle, this is an intensely personal subject. She distills his ancient wisdom into ten practical and universal lessons to help us confront life''s difficult and crucial moments, summarizing a lifetime of the most rarefied and brilliant scholarship.

Review

“Hall’s new book clears a rare middle way for her reader to pursue happiness . . . Aristotle’s Way carefully charts the arc of a virtuous life that springs from youthful talent, grows by way of responsible decisions and self-reflection, finds expression in mature relationships, and comes to rest in joyful retirement and a quietly reverent death. Easier said than done, but Aristotle, Hall explains, is there to help.” — New York Times Book Review

“Hall explains some of the philosopher’s most complex ideas in an approachable way, covering his notes on everything from the power of community to understanding your goals and why you should always consult a third party when making a decision . . . When it comes to happiness, perhaps it’s actually time to say out with the new and in with the old.” — TIME Magazine

 “In clear, patient language, Hall deftly weaves threads pulled from this daunting range of material into lessons that pertain directly to dilemmas of modern life . . . We are told that Hall “first encountered Aristotle when she was twenty, and he changed her life forever”; one of the book’s strengths is her tone of unmistakable sincerity.” — American Scholar

“[A] lucid account… nontechnical but deeply grounded… Can happiness come from virtue? This lively book makes a good argument in the affirmative.” — Kirkus Review

"Delivers an expansive, practical assessment of Aristotle... She handles weighty, difficult topics such as depression and everyday tasks such as preparing for an important meeting or job interview with the same measured, clear prose... her book is an engaging, thrilling approach to Aristotle’s pragmatic thought. It is a useful introduction to the ideas of one of the most important philosophers in world history." — Publishers Weekly

“With vivid, page-turning prose, Aristotle’s Way invites you into the wise, practical, intentional, self-determined world of Aristotle’s mind. Nearly everything that psychological scientists have discovered about happiness was anticipated by Aristotle 23 centuries ago. You will be a slightly different person after finishing this beautiful book than you were before you started.”  —Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness
 
“A wonderfully lively and personal guide to Aristotle''s philosophy of well-being.  Read it and flourish!” — Sarah Bakewell, author of How to Live: A Life of Montaigne
 
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way: Aristotle did it his way, Edith Hall – magnificently – does it hers, in this combined critical appreciation and celebration of the philosopher-scientist whom Karl Marx hailed as a ‘giant thinker’. Readers keen to live a Good Life – and prepare for a Good Death – should dive head first into this fount of ancient but still modern wisdom.” — Paul Cartledge, A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture Emeritus at the University of Cambridge

About the Author

Edith Hall first encountered Aristotle when she was twenty, and he changed her life forever. Now one of Britain''s foremost classicists, and a Professor at King''s College London, she is the first woman to have won the Erasmus Medal of the European Academy. In 2017 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Athens University, just a few streets away from Aristotle''s own Lyceum. She is the author of several books, including Introducing the Ancient Greeks. She lives with her family in Cambridgeshire.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

 


Happiness

 


At the beginning of Eudemian Ethics, Aristotle quotes a line of wisdom literature inscribed on an ancient stone on the sacred island of Delos. It proclaimed that the three best things in life are "Justice, Health, and Achieving One''s Desires." Aristotle trenchantly disagrees. According to him, the ultimate goal of human life is, simply, happiness, which means finding a purpose in order to realize your potential and working on your behavior to become the best version of yourself. You are your own moral agent, but act in an interconnected world where partnerships with other people are of great significance.

 


Aristotle''s own teacher was Plato, himself the disciple of Socrates who famously said "the unexamined life is not worth living." Aristotle regarded this is as somewhat harsh. He knew that many people-perhaps the majority-live intuitively and often unreflectively, but they enjoy great happiness, on "autopilot" as it were. He would have shifted the emphasis to practical activity and to the future, and his alternative motto might have been: "the unplanned life is unlikely to be fully happy."

 


Aristotelian ethics put the individual in charge. As Abraham Lincoln saw, "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." Rather than working on autopilot, Aristotelian ethics put you as sole pilot at the full control panel. Other ethical systems place far less emphasis either on your individual moral agency or on your responsibilities toward others. Aristotelian ethics share the starting point of the moral agent with ethical egoism, associated with the early modern philosopher Bernard Mandeville (1670-1733), but nothing else. This system recommends that every individual consciously act so as to maximize their own self-interest. Imagine you are hosting a tea party for ten of your neighbors. You know that two are vegans. But vegan sandwiches are three times as expensive as ham sandwiches. If you buy two servings of vegan sandwiches, there will be less food all round for everybody. The egoist would ignore everyone else''s needs and choose whether to cater for the vegans depending on her own personal eating habits. If she were not a vegan, then she would certainly not want her helping of ham sandwiches diminished by having to cater for anyone else''s different preference. If she were a vegan, then she would ignore the deprivation suffered by all eight carnivores receiving smaller helpings and simply ensure that there was plenty of vegan food available for herself, and order a private extra serving.

 


Utilitarians, on the other hand, seek to maximize the happiness of the greatest number, thus focusing on consequences of actions: for utilitarians, a result involving eight happy carnivores completely trumps the accompanying problem of two miserable vegans. Utilitarianism gets difficult when the minorities are very large: a tea party with, say, four miserable vegans and only six happy carnivores would begin to feel decidedly unfestive. Followers of Immanuel Kant emphasize duties and obligations, asking whether there should be a universal and fixed law about the proportion of different kinds of sandwiches available at tea parties. Cultural relativists, on the other hand, have insisted that there is no such thing as a universal moral law. Everyone, they say, belongs to a group or groups which do have their own internal laws and customs. Across the planet, there are many cultures and communities which eat no pig products at all; there are others which cannot comprehend vegetarianism or even tea parties.

 


Aristotle would instead realize that the decision about the sandwiches could not be made abstractly in a vacuum. He would set aside time to think about the problem and make plans. He would look behind catering plans to make his intention conscious-if it is to make all ten neighbors feel welcomed and well fed, because that would make the whole community nicer for everyone to live in, conducing to individual and collective happiness, then his decision would need to maximize the possibility of that intention being fulfilled. There would be little point in offending even a minority of the guests. He would then consult interested persons, including the invitees and the caterers, to test the water on possible reactions. He would think about previous parties he had held or experienced, review precedents and very likely discover a way round the whole problem from looking at the history of tea parties-serving non-dairy cakes which everyone liked, for example, rather than the divisive sandwiches. He would also make sure that he personally enjoyed the types of cake he then chose, because unnecessary self-denial has no place in his philosophy of respect toward self and others.

 


Aristotle''s ethical system is versatile, flexible and practical to implement in daily life. Most of the real-world psychological steps toward increasing contentment outlined by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky in The How of Happiness: A Practical Guide to Getting the Life You Want (2007) bear a startling resemblance to Aristotle''s philosophical recommendations, and she indeed cites him with approval. His leitmotifs are working with the situation you find at hand, forethought, an unrelenting focus on intentions, flexibility, practical common sense, individual autonomy and the importance of consultation with others. The basic premise of Aristotle''s notion of happiness is wonderfully simple and democratic: everyone can decide to be happy. After a certain amount of time, acting rightly becomes ingrained as a habit, so you feel good about yourself, and the resulting state of mind is one of eudaimonia, Aristotle''s word for happiness.

 


This Aristotelian pursuit of eudaimonia is often attractive to agnostics and atheists, but is in fact compatible with any religion which emphasizes the individual''s moral responsibility for their own actions and does not assume that frequent guidance, reward or punishment come from any external divine being. But since Aristotle himself did not believe that god interfered in the world or was interested in it in any way, his program for achieving happiness was a system in itself. The Aristotelian will not expect to find rules about tea parties in any sacred text. But she will not expect to be hit by god-sent retribution if her tea party goes badly wrong, either. Living in a competent and planned manner is something you elect to do to control your life and destiny. Since this control is traditionally assigned to a god or the gods, there is a sense in which it can make you "godlike."

 


Eudaimonia, however, is not so simple to explain. The eu- prefix (pronounced like "you") means "well" or "good"; the daimonia element comes from a word with a whole range of meanings-divine being, divine power, guardian spirit, fortune or lot in life. So eudaimonia came to mean well-being or prosperity, which certainly includes contentment. But it is far more active than "contentment." You "do" eudaimonia; it requires positive input. In fact, for Aristotle, happiness is activity (praxis). He points out that if it were an emotional disposition which some people are either born with or not, then it could be possessed by a man who spent his life asleep, "living the life of a vegetable."

 


Aristotle''s definition of happiness is not constituted by material prosperity of any kind either. A century earlier, another northern Greek thinker, Democritus, whom Aristotle admired, had talked about "happiness of the soul," and had insisted that it definitely did not derive from the possession of livestock or gold. When Aristotle uses the word eudaimonia, he likewise means "happiness of the soul," as experienced in the consciousness of the sentient human. According to him, life itself consists of having an active mind. Aristotle was convinced that most people get most of their pleasure from learning things and wondering about and at the world. Indeed, he regarded the attainment of an understanding of the world-not just academic knowledge, but understanding of any aspect of experience-as the actual goal of life itself.

 


If you believe that the goal of human life is to maximize happiness, then you are a budding Aristotelian. If the goal of human life is happiness, the way to achieve it is by thinking hard about how to Live Well, or being alive in the best way possible. This requires self-conscious habit, which Aristotle does not think other animals are capable of. The deceptively simple adverb "well" can mean "competently" in a practical sense, "morally" in terms of being kind, and "fortunately" or "with felicity" in terms of enjoying happiness and pleasant circumstances.

 

On 4 July 1776, the brand new United States Congress ratified the text of the Declaration of Independence drawn up by Thomas Jefferson. Its epoch-making first sentence reads: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is well known that the ancient Roman Republic was a model for the Founding Fathers of America, but that telling phrase "the pursuit of Happiness" shows that Jefferson was immersed in the philosophy of Aristotle as well. Four years later the constitution of Massachusetts (1780) followed suit: government is instituted for the common good, "for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people."

 


Aristotle believed that the way we educate future citizens is crucial to whether they can fulfill their potential both as individuals and in communities. The 1787 Northwest Ordinance could not have sounded more Aristotelian when it stated that schools were necessary to "good government and the happiness of mankind." Everyone in the world who lives in broad agreement with the principles that were espoused in the bright new dawn of American independence is, whether they know it or not, an Aristotelian committed to the project of human happiness.

 

 

The most famous statement by Aristotle-so famous that it was (inaccurately) quoted in an exchange between Pope Francis and Donald Trump in February 2016-is that man is a "political animal" (zoon politikon). Aristotle meant that man is distinguished from other animals by naturally tending toward gathering together to live in a large settled community, a polis, or city-state. Aristotle always arrives at definitions by making a series of distinctions, and in his Nicomachean Ethics he asks crucially: what are the distinctive features of the human being? Humans, like animals and plants, partake in the basic activity of living, obtaining nutrients and growing. If other animals and plants live, get nourishment and grow, then this is not distinctive to humanity. Animals, like humans, also have senses with which they discern the world around them and other creatures. So sentient life can''t be the distinctive and definitive feature of being human, either. But no other living being shares "the active life of the being that has reason." Humans do things, and are able to think before, during and after these activities. That is the human raison d''tre. If you, as a human being, don''t fulfill your ability to act while exercising your rational faculties, then you are not fulfilling your potential.

 


Exercising your reason to Live Well means cultivating virtues and avoiding vices. Being a good person will make you happier. There is a reason why Frank Capra''s feel-good fantasy It''s a Wonderful Life (1946) is the most popular Christmas movie of all time: its message resonates so deeply with the generous and cooperative values most humans share. George Bailey, played by James Stewart, is a troubled philanthropic businessman, persecuted by a rapacious capitalist. He is planning suicide on Christmas Eve. A guardian angel, Clarence, arrives from heaven, and through flashbacks shows George episodes from his past life where he has unselfishly helped others; he has been a devoted family member and offered loans allowing the poor to buy their own houses. Clarence persuades George out of suicide by showing him an alternative version of history in which he had never existed, his family had been deprived of him and the poor had to live in slums. George sees that his "wonderful life" had connected him to other people by his efforts to support them. The movie is also Aristotelian in that it presents life as a project, a continuous arc, which is as wonderful as we choose to make it. However cheesy the film may now seem, it strikes an authentic emotional chord.

 

La Promesse (1996), by Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, eschews all sentimentality, showing how a young person on the brink of adulthood, and full moral agency, learns the gratification of goodness. At the beginning of the film Igor is only fifteen years old, a trainee mechanic, but he faces an extreme ethical challenge and succeeds in establishing moral independence from his unscrupulous father. The plot involves the accidental death of an illegal immigrant and Igor''s father''s insistence that Igor help to conceal it. Igor comes to moral maturity and a degree of serenity by assisting the bereaved family in the face of an unfeeling father, feelings of guilt, social vulnerability and fear of the law.

 


The emphasis on the connection between happiness and virtuous action is one of the fundamental differences between Aristotle''s recipe for happiness and that of the other philosophies such as egoism, utilitarianism and Kantianism. In his Politics, to illustrate the difficulty of achieving happiness without trying to be a good person, Aristotle offers an extreme caricature of the vice-ridden and consequently miserable person:

 

Nobody would call a man ideally happy that has not got a particle of courage nor of self-control nor of decency nor sense, but is afraid of the flies that flutter by him, cannot refrain from any of the most outrageous actions in order to gratify a desire to eat or to drink, ruins his dearest friends for the sake of a penny, and also in matters of the intellect, similarly, is as senseless and mistaken as any infant or lunatic.

 


George Washington put the same virtue/happiness correlation differently in his 1789 inaugural speech, when he told his New York City audience that there is "an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness."

 


Deciding to pursue happiness by Living Well means practicing "virtue ethics" or more simply "Doing the Right Thing." Aristotle''s virtues, likewise, are translated into portentous nouns like "justice," which really just means treating other people fairly and decently. Virtue ethics have always attracted humanists, agnostics, atheists and skeptics precisely because they offer, to people who want to live contented, decent and constructive lives, a considered way in which to do so. Virtue ethics will help you approach decisions, morality, and the "big questions" about life and death, trusting in your own judgment and ability to look after yourself, your friends and your dependants. But the lack of idiomatic translations of the Greek has been one reason why Aristotle''s sensible and effective program of pursuing happiness through deciding to Do the Right Thing has not become more widely understood among the general public. If people understood that personal happiness was down to their own conduct, then happiness, he wrote, would become "more common because it would be possible for more people to share it." Aristotle goes so far as to say that, ideally, "all humankind would be seen to be in agreement with the views that will be stated," but, failing that, they should sign up to at least part of the program entailed by virtue ethics, "for everyone has something to contribute."

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Thomas J. Farrell
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Colorful Exposition of Aristotle''s Thought
Reviewed in the United States on February 7, 2019
As I write, the British Prime Minister Theresa May is still engaged in working out the ways in which the United Kingdom will exit from the European Union. As I write, President Donald J. Trump has just recently delivered his delayed State of the Union address in... See more
As I write, the British Prime Minister Theresa May is still engaged in working out the ways in which the United Kingdom will exit from the European Union.

As I write, President Donald J. Trump has just recently delivered his delayed State of the Union address in the United States.

The United Kingdom and the United States are part of the world-wide English-speaking world in which the British classicist Edith Hall has now launched her ambitious new book Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life (New York: Penguin Press, 2019). The British edition of her book came out in 2018.

In terms of the categories of civic rhetoric that Aristotle himself refers to in his treatise on civic rhetoric, her book is in the category of epideictic rhetoric, because it is centered on values and value-orientations – and because it is future-oriented.

In a similar way, I would say that Aristotle’s treatises known as the Nicomachean Ethics and the Eudemian Ethics are centered on values and value-orientations -- and also tend to be future-oriented – and can therefore also be categorized as examples of Aristotle’s own practice of epideictic rhetoric, albeit in a kind of private way, or at least not publicly in the agora, and in writing, not in live oral discourse in public (although he may also have taught many of these points to his students in live interactions with them).

Now, in the United States, all campaign rhetoric involves what Aristotle refers to as epideictic rhetoric.

However, if Aristotle’s own way of life and the wisdom about living that he set forth in his mature writings that have survived “Can Change Your Life,” who are “You” – in other words, who is Edith Hall writing her book for?
Edith Hall tells us that she herself is the “daughter of an ordained Anglican priest” who “[a]t thirteen years old” lost her religion (page 20). She “discovered Aristotle” when she was an undergraduate (page 21). She appears to be writing primarily for her fellow secularists, perhaps including undergraduates.

Elsewhere, Edith Hall writes “in any attempt to revive Aristotelian philosophy, especially for a woman” (page 17). This and certain other hints in her book suggest that she is writing primarily for women.

As to “Chang[ing] Your Life,” Edith Hall does not assume that merely reading her book carefully will be sufficient enough to enable you to “Change your Life.” However, she does appear to assume that merely reading her book carefully might persuade you that you “Can Change Your Life.” If it does so persuade you, she supplies you with “Further Reading” (pages 237-242) related to her introduction (pages 1-21) and each of her ten chapters (pages 23-231) – books and articles by scholars (listed alphabetically in each subsection) who have studied Aristotle’s thought carefully and written about the themes Edith Hall discusses in her introduction and the ten following chapters.
But her suggestions for “Further Reading” strike me as works that would be available only to people who have access to college and university libraries. However, if any of the books and articles Edith Hall lists are available free on the Internet, she does not provide information about how to access them for free. But to buy all of the books she lists from used-book dealers on the Internet would be prohibitively expensive. As a retired faculty member at a regional campus of a major research university in the United States, I do have access to excellent inter-library-loan services. However, I do not know how many other Americans have access to such services.

So Edith Hall seems to be writing her book primarily, but not necessarily solely, for secularist women who have access to college and university libraries.

Disclosure: I am not a secularist, but a theistic humanist. I encountered Aristotle’s thought as an undergraduate when I studied Aristotelian-Thomistic philosophy, first, at a Jesuit college and, subsequently, at a Jesuit university, both in the United States. Most of my professional publications have involved, implicitly, Aristotle’s thought about actuating human potential.

Now, Edith Hall’s ten chapters cover the following themes in Aristotle’s texts:

(1) Happiness (pages 23-38);
(2) Potential (pages 39-57);
(3) Decisions (pages 59-75);
(4) Communication (pages 77-97);
(5) Self-Knowledge (pages 99-125);
(6) Intentions (pages 127-143);
(7) Love (pages 145-160);
(8) Community (pages 161-181);
(9) Leisure (pages 183-200);
(10) Mortality (pages 201-231).

In her suggestions for “Further Reading” (pages 237-242), Edith Hall frequently lists books and articles by certain scholars who hold (or held, if they are now deceased) doctorates in philosophy. For example, in her suggestions related to her introduction, she lists (page 237) the American philosopher Mortimer J. Adler’s admirably lucid and accessible book Aristotle for Everybody: Difficult Thought Made Easy (Macmillan, 1978). But she does not also list his admirably lucid and accessible book Desires Right & Wrong: The Ethics of Enough (Macmillan, 1991), in which he discusses most of the themes she discusses in her ten chapters.

However, Edith Hall herself does not hold a doctorate in philosophy. She revised and published her 1988 Cambridge University doctoral dissertation in classics as the book Inventing the Barbarian: Greek Self-Definition through Tragedy (Oxford: Clarendon Press of Oxford University Press, 1989).

My favorite scholar is the American Jesuit Renaissance specialist and polymath Walter J. Ong (1912-2003; Ph.D. in English, Harvard University, 1955), whose English ancestors on his father’s side of the family left East Anglia on the same ship that brought Roger Williams to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1631 – five years before the founding of Harvard College. In any event, in the title essay of Ong’s book The Barbarian Within: And Other Fugitive Essays and Studies (New York: Macmillan, 1962, pages 260-285), he works with the barbarian/Greek contrast that Edith Hall later studied in her thoroughly researched doctoral dissertation.

Ong’s title essay “The Barbarian Within: Outsiders Inside Society Today” is reprinted in An Ong Reader: Challenges for Further Inquiry (Cresskill, New Jersey: Hampton Press, 2002, pages 277-300).

Ong’s massively researched doctoral dissertation centered on the French logician and educational reformer and Protestant martyr Peter Ramus (1515-1572). Because Ramus was a logician, Ong situated him and his work in the context of the history of formal logic (also known as dialectic) in Western culture, going back to Aristotle’s treatises about formal logic (known collectively as the Organon).

Ong’s doctoral dissertation was published, slightly revised in two volumes by Harvard University Press in 1958: (1) Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue: From the Art of Discourse to the Art of Reason, and (2) Ramus and Talon Inventory.

In Ong’s all-important 1958 book Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue: From the Art of Discourse to the Art of Reason, Ong explains the quantification of thought in medieval logic in the Aristotelian tradition of logic (pages 53-91).

Then in Ong’s 1962 book The Barbarian Within: And Other Fugitive Essays and Studies, mentioned above, he explains in detail the significance of the quantification of thought in the medieval tradition of Aristotelian logic (page 72):

“In this historical perspective, medieval scholastic logic appears as a kind of pre-mathematics, a subtle and unwitting preparation for the large-scale operations in quantitative modes of thinking which will characterize the modern world. In assessing the meaning of [medieval] scholasticism, one must keep in mind an important and astounding fact: in the whole history of the human mind, mathematics and mathematical physics come into their own, in a way which has changed the face of the earth and promises or threatens to change it even more, at only one place and time, that is, in Western Europe immediately after the [medieval] scholastic experience [in short, in print culture]. Elsewhere, no matter how advanced the culture on other scores, and even along mathematical lines, as in the case of the Babylonian, nothing like a real mathematical transformation of thinking takes place – not among the ancient Egyptians or Assyrians or Greeks or Romans, not among the peoples of India nor the Chinese nor the Japanese, not among the Aztecs or Mayas, not in Islam despite the promising beginnings there, any more than among the Tartars or the Avars or the Turks. These people can all now share the common scientific knowledge, but the scientific tradition itself which they share is not a merging of various parallel discoveries made by their various civilizations. IT REPRESENTS A NEW STATE OF MIND. However great contributions other civilizations may hereafter make to the tradition, our scientific world traces its origins back always to seventeenth and sixteenth century Europe [in short, to Copernicus and Galileo], to the place where for some three centuries and more the [medieval] arts course taught in universities and para-university schools had pounded into the heads of youth a study program consisting almost exclusively of a highly quantified logic and a companion physics, both taught on a scale and with an enthusiasm never approximated or even dreamt of in ancient academies” (I have added the capitalization emphasis here).

In any event, the study of Ramus’ logic dominated the curriculum not only of Harvard College in the seventeenth century, but also of Cambridge University in East Anglia when John Milton studied it there. Later in his life, he worked up a textbook in logic (in Latin) based on one of Ramus’ books (in Latin). Subsequently, after Milton himself had become famous, he published his textbook in logic in 1672 (in Latin).

Ong and Charles J. Ermatinger edited and translated Milton’s Logic for volume eight of Yale’s Complete Prose Works of John Milton: 1666-1682 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982, pages 139-407) – and Ong supplied a lengthy introduction about the history of formal logic (pages 144-207).

Ong’s lengthy introduction is reprinted, slightly abridged, as “Introduction to Milton’s Logic” in volume four of Ong’s Faith and Contexts (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1999, pages 111-142).

Now, in her new book Aristotle’s Way, Edith Hall perceptively describes Aristotle’s account of formal logic (pages 81-85). Unfortunately, Edith Hall does not list Ong’s important 1958 book Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue: From the Art of Discourse to the Art of Reason or Ong’s lengthy 1982 introduction to Milton’s Logic in the relevant section of her suggestions for “Further Reading” (page 239).

Now, all of Edith Hall’s quotations from Aristotle in her book Aristotle’s Way are her own translations. Moreover, she claims that “the lack of idiomatic translations of the Greek has been one reason why Aristotle’s sensible and effective program of pursuing happiness through deciding to Do the Right Thing has not become more widely understood among the general public” (page 30) – who do not have the time and leisure to read the books and articles she recommends in her “Further Reading” (page 237-242).

Now. Joe Sachs, who taught for thirty years in the Great Books program at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, has supplied the English-speaking world with the following translations of certain ancient Greek texts:

Homer: Iliad (Philadelphia: Paul Dry Books, 2018).
Homer: Odyssey (Philadelphia: Paul Dry Books, 2014).
Socrates and the Sophists: Plato’s Protagoras, Euthydemus, Hippias Major and Cratylus (Indianapolis: Focus/ Hackett Publishing, 2011).
Plato: Republic (Indianapolis: Focus/ Hackett Publishing, 2007).
Plato: Gorgias and Aristotle: Rhetoric (Indianapolis: Focus/ Hackett Publishing, 2009).
Aristotle: Poetics (Indianapolis: Focus? Hackett Publishing, 2006).
Aristotle: Politics (Indianapolis: Focus/ Hackett Publishing, 2012).
Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics (Indianapolis: Focus/ Hackett Publishing, 2002).
Aristotle’s On the Soul and On Memory and Recollection (Santa Fe: Green Lion Press, 2004).
Aristotle’s Metaphysics (Santa Fe: Green Lion Press, 2002).
Aristotle’s Physics: A Guided Study (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1995).

However, as far as I know, Joe Sach’s translations have not yet made Aristotelian philosophy more widely understood among the general public. However, if the lack of idiomatic translations of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Eudemian Ethics is the problem that Halls says it is, it strikes me that she should get busy and translates those two texts into idiomatic English.

Now, as to Edith Hall’s “attempt to revive Aristotelian philosophy,” your guess is as good as mine as to how much headway she might make toward this goal. But my guess is that she is not going to make much headway. However, I will be happy if my guess turns out to be wrong.
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5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
His wisdom is a gift to all mankind.II
Reviewed in the United States on January 30, 2019
I am only sorry that, I missed reading when I was young, yet the benefits I received reading it now it riches my mind, which is Never Too Late.
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savvas E. raftopoulos
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Basic!
Reviewed in the United States on February 17, 2019
Aristotle has been reduced to a 21century, self help guide book. Too little Aristotle, too much Oprah.
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1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Too much personal information.
Reviewed in the United States on March 10, 2019
Not enough Aristotle philosophy, too much personal information about the author. If you think Hillary and Barack were exemplars of virtue you may share the politics of the author.
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2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Author''s personal agenda
Reviewed in the United States on June 11, 2019
Although I enjoyed reading this book, I was a little put off by the author''s personal agenda. The author is a proud atheist and left winger and tries to stuff Aristotle into that mold. This is not easy to do considering Aristotle a major originator for a major argument... See more
Although I enjoyed reading this book, I was a little put off by the author''s personal agenda. The author is a proud atheist and left winger and tries to stuff Aristotle into that mold. This is not easy to do considering Aristotle a major originator for a major argument for God''s existence.
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KJL
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Lame
Reviewed in the United States on February 19, 2019
Aristotle''s Ethics reduced to self-help blah-blah.
25 people found this helpful
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On The Road
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
College Prof Book
Reviewed in the United States on June 6, 2019
More about the author than Aristotle.Like many liberal arts professor books, a condescending arrogance permeates the whole enterprise.This lady would never make it at the Lyceum.
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R. Lee Hadden
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Is the Aristotle Mean for Meanies?
Reviewed in the United States on April 8, 2019
An excellent book, but a think piece, that requires frequent pauses to reflect and absorb what has just been written. This is a review of the principal thoughts of Aristotle, recapitulated for modern times. The principals of Aristotle''s Rhetoric, for example, are shown how... See more
An excellent book, but a think piece, that requires frequent pauses to reflect and absorb what has just been written. This is a review of the principal thoughts of Aristotle, recapitulated for modern times. The principals of Aristotle''s Rhetoric, for example, are shown how they are applied for an effective job resume, cover letter and interview for college professors. Also, the section on "Decisions" shows how applying Aristotle''s logic in decision making is helpful in everyday decisions today. This chapter also shows how far modern education has strayed from teaching logical skills and good decision making skills in classrooms.
Although the book is too short to review all the books and writings of Aristotle, the author gives a good overview and presents the subjects well. A good read for rainy days by the fireplace, I recommend this for school and public libraries and personal collections. It is also a book to keep and re-read in a few years.
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PeterH
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Down-to-earth wisdom.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 9, 2018
This simple but Illuminating book introduces some of the main ideas in Aristotle’s thought to the general reader. Above all it reminds us of the value of a sane and rational approach to experience. It would be hard to imagine a more important message in the current age of...See more
This simple but Illuminating book introduces some of the main ideas in Aristotle’s thought to the general reader. Above all it reminds us of the value of a sane and rational approach to experience. It would be hard to imagine a more important message in the current age of populist emotional politics and “fake news “.
12 people found this helpful
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Gazza
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Aristotle’s Way
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 21, 2019
This is a gem of a book. I bought it at sale price on the off chance that I’d find it interesting, and I’m glad I did. The book is a bit like a self-help book in that it covers the ideas of the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, and in doing so takes the reader on a journey...See more
This is a gem of a book. I bought it at sale price on the off chance that I’d find it interesting, and I’m glad I did. The book is a bit like a self-help book in that it covers the ideas of the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, and in doing so takes the reader on a journey through various topics such as: Happiness, Communication, Self-knowledge, Love, Community, Leisure and Mortality. I found it a fascinating read and I certainly haven’t read a ‘life-changing’ book as good as this one for a long time. Not since I read Sarah Bakewell’s How to Live: A Life of Montaigne some years back, in fact. I should say that the book is written extremely well. Even quotes that are used within the text all became clear with the author’s writing style, which bring Aristotle’s ideas very much alive for today’s readers. I hope you find my review helpful.
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shovelbeard
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Aristotle made accessible.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 10, 2020
There aren''t many books I finish and then go back to the beginning and start reading again but I did with this one. There are so many good ideas in it I wanted to give myself the best chance of remembering as many of them as possible and a second read seemed a good way to...See more
There aren''t many books I finish and then go back to the beginning and start reading again but I did with this one. There are so many good ideas in it I wanted to give myself the best chance of remembering as many of them as possible and a second read seemed a good way to do it. He was a clever chap Aristotle. Almost everything he said was interesting, important or useful in some way or another and you don''t encounter too many people capable of doing that, either in reality or between the pages of a book. Edith Hall has, rather brilliantly, made accessible the best of Aristotle''s advice about how to live a good life. There are ten chapters, the first about happiness and the last about dealing with mortality and I don''t recall there being too much that seemed anything other than sensible advice. Aristotle''s ideas do assume a high degree of free will but if you can accept that then most of what he suggests makes it feel like the good life ought to be within our grasp. A really interesting read.
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JONNO WILSON
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
New subject for me, some interesting ideas
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 2, 2018
I wasn''t familiar with Aristotle''s work and really enjoyed learning about it. I feel this book lost it''s focus on happiness towards the end. But there are some interesting passages exploring what it us to be human.
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Sarah
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Sound ideas on how to live well.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 3, 2020
Very clearly written and interesting. Hall really brings Aristotle’s thought into our own time with her examples of how it can be applied and reminds us how much our fundamental “common sense” about how to live comes from this thinker of Ancient Greece.
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