Topics: Books I and VIII

Topics: Books I and VIII

Topics: Books I and VIII

Topics: Books I and VIII

Synopsis

The Topics is Aristotle's treatise on dialectical argument, a practice perhaps as old as human language, systemized for the first time by Aristotle. This seminal text offers many important insights into his conception of logic, his development of the notion of the predicables (the Five Terms), and his ideas on the method of philosophical inquiry itself. This volume contains a clear and accurate translation of Books I and VIII of Aristotle's Topics together with a philosophical commentary on these books and additional selections from Books II and III, and from the Sophistical Refutations. These books and selections best give a general view of the main ideas, arguments, and techniques expounded in the Topics. The volume is well suited to the requirements of students, including those who do not know Greek.

Excerpt

In 1968 G. E. L. Owen noted that the Topics was selected as the subject of the third Symposium Aristotelicum because it was 'a work rich in debatable material but relatively poor in commentaries'. Since that time, scholarly debate about Aristotle's conception of dialectic and its relationship to his views on philosophical method has become if anything more intense. However, despite much excellent interpretative work, Brunschwig's Budé edition remains the only commentary in any modern language, and as of this writing even that is still limited to Books I-IV. A new English translation and commentary are very much needed. The present volume scarcely supplies that need, but I hope that it may serve as a stopgap in the interim.

A number of scholars and scholarly audiences have endured my translations and interpretations of one passage or another and kindly ameliorated my errors; I am particularly grateful to Robert Bolton and Charles M. Young. The Editors of the Clarendon Aristotle Series, John Ackrill and Lindsay Judson, were a constant source of help and good advice. I am especially indebted to Professor Ackrill, who provided me with an endless stream of corrections and suggestions: whatever I may have got right in this book should probably be laid to his credit. Finally, I should like to acknowledge the support of a sabbatical leave from Kansas State University, during which much of the commentary was written.

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