Aristotle

Aristotle, the student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great, is the most influential philosopher in history. In these episodes Peter looks at his life and works, and then examines a range of topics in Aristotle's thought, ranging from zoology to literary theory. He also conducts interviews with Hugh Benson, Richard Sorabji, Raphael Woolf, and MM McCabe.

 

Further reading

Aristotle in translation

• Aristotle, The Complete Works, J. Barnes ed., 2 volumes (Princeton: 1984).
A New Aristotle Reader, J. Ackrill ed. (Oxford: 1987).

General works on Aristotle

• J. Ackrill, Aristotle the Philosopher (London: 1981).
• J. Barnes (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle (Cambridge: 1995).
• J. Barnes, Aristotle (Oxford: 1982).
• J. Lear, Aristotle, the Desire to Understand (Cambridge: 1988).
• G.E.R. Lloyd, Aristotle (Cambridge: 1968).
• The series edited by Barnes, Schofield, Sorabji: Essays on Aristotle, 4 vols. (1: Science; 2: Ethics and Politics; 3: Metaphysics; 4: Psychology and Aesthetics).
 

Aristotle Episodes:

Posted on: 21 May 2011

In this first episode on the most influential philosopher of all time, Peter considers Aristotle’s life and works, and discusses how to go about reading him.

33,822 views
Posted on: 29 May 2011

Peter discusses Aristotle’s pioneering work in logic, and looks at related issues like the ten categories and the famous “sea battle” argument for determinism.

17,703 views
6 comments
Posted on: 05 June 2011

Peter discusses Aristotle's Posterior Analytics, asking what demands we must meet in order to count as having knowledge. The bar turns out to be set surprisingly high.
 

17,825 views
5 comments
Posted on: 11 June 2011

Hugh Benson of the University of Oklahoma chats to Peter about Aristotle's views on philosophical method, and whether he practices what he preaches.

12,563 views
12 comments
Posted on: 18 June 2011

Aristotle rejects Plato's Forms, holding that ordinary things are primary substances. But what happens when we divide such substances into matter and form?

15,670 views
Posted on: 26 June 2011

Aristotle's Physics presents four types of cause: formal, material, final and efficient. Peter looks at all four, and asks whether evolutionary theory undermines final causes in nature.

20,736 views
34 comments
Posted on: 03 July 2011

Before Isaac Newton (and Olivia Newton John), there was Aristotle. Peter looks at his Physics, focusing on the notions of actuality and potentiality and how they help to explain such concepts as time and motion.

16,614 views
Posted on: 10 July 2011

Peter talks to Sir Richard Sorabji about Aristotle's physics, focusing on the definition of time and the eternity of the universe.

16,507 views
31 comments
Posted on: 17 July 2011

Peter tackles the De Anima (“On the Soul”), focusing on the definition of soul as the form of the body and Aristotle’s theory of sensation.

13,680 views
2 comments
Posted on: 24 July 2011

Aristotle’s scientific outlook is perhaps best displayed in his zoology. Peter looks at his theories of inheritance, spontaneous generation, and the eternity of animal species.

11,736 views
7 comments
Posted on: 04 September 2011

Peter looks at one of Aristotle’s most popular works, the Nicomachean Ethics, and its ideas about happiness and virtue.

16,117 views
5 comments
Posted on: 11 September 2011

Peter continues to look at the Nicomachean Ethics, discussing Aristotle’s views about the role of pleasure and friendship in the good life.

12,648 views
3 comments
Posted on: 18 September 2011

Peter chats with Dominic Scott of the University of Virginia, and talks about Aristotle's audience, method and conclusions in the Nicomachean Ethics.

10,625 views
23 comments
Posted on: 25 September 2011

Drawing on the De Anima, On the Heavens, Physics and Metaphysics, Peter tackles Aristotle’s theory of mind and its relation to his theology.

12,518 views
2 comments
Posted on: 02 October 2011

Peter looks at the ideal arrangement of the state in Aristotle’s Politics, his critique of Plato’s Republic and his views on slavery.

12,292 views
9 comments
Posted on: 09 October 2011

A penultimate episode on Aristotle considers his discussion of persuasive speech in the Rhetoric and his account of ancient tragedy in the Poetics.

11,403 views
Posted on: 16 October 2011

Peter's colleagues MM McCabe and Raphael Woolf join him for a special 50th episode interview, to discuss Aristotle's reactions to his teacher Plato.

11,845 views
2 comments
Posted on: 23 October 2011

Peter wraps up Plato and Aristotle by discussing their followers: Speusippus and Xenocrates (the “Old Academy”), and the polymath Theophrastus.

11,311 views