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.

The book version of these podcasts is available from Oxford University Press.

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).

Episodes 34 - 51: Aristotle

34 - Mr. Know It All: Aristotle's Life And Works

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.

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35 - The Philosopher's Toolkit: Aristotle's Logical Works

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.

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36 - A Principled Stand: Aristotle's Epistemology

Posted on 5 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.

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37 - Hugh Benson on Aristotelian Method

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.

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38 - Down to Earth: Aristotle on Substance

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?

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39 - Form and Function: Aristotle's Four Causes

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.

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40 - Let's Get Physical: Aristotle's Natural Philosophy

Posted on 3 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.

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41 - Richard Sorabji on Time and Eternity in Aristotle

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.

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42 - Soul Power: Aristotle's De Anima

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.

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43 - Classified Information: Aristotle's Biology

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.

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44 - The Goldilocks Theory: Aristotle's Ethics

Posted on 4 September 2011

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

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45 - The Second Self: Aristotle On Pleasure And Friendship

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.

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46 - Dominic Scott on Aristotle's Ethics

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.

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47 - God Only Knows: Aristotle on Mind and God

Posted on 25 September 2011

Drawing on the De AnimaOn the HeavensPhysics and Metaphysics, Peter tackles Aristotle’s theory of mind and its relation to his theology.

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48 - Constitutional Conventions: Aristotle's Political Philosophy

Posted on 2 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.

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49 - Stage Directions: Aristotle's Rhetoric and Poetics

Posted on 9 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.

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50 - MM McCabe and Raphael Woolf on Aristotle on Plato

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.

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51- The Next Generation: the Followers of Plato and Aristotle

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.

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