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review 2018-02-26 01:28
Politics (Library of Essential Reading) - Joseph Carrig,Amit Hagar,Aristotle,Benjamin Jowett

As Plato’s writings have been a cornerstone of Western thought, so have those of his pupil Aristotle through his own lectures and treatise sometimes agreed and disagreed with his teacher while shaping the views of millions over the millennia.  Politics is one of the most important political treatise that has impacted society as it is studied alongside Plato’s own Republic not because they agree, but how they agree through different methods and disagree in conclusions.


Unlike the approach of Plato, Aristotle focused on the examples that the Greek political world knew of to determine the best approach for government of a polis.  Classifying the types of government into six forms, three “ideal” and three “perverted”, Aristotle described them as showing their pros and cons in an effort to establish the “best”.  Then his analysis turned to various functions of government from laws, offices, and how to pass or fill either.  Yet, underlying everything is Aristotle’s insistence that human nature determines everything concerned with governance.


Politics, while thought-provoking and significant in its analysis and conclusions, is unfortunately not without its flaws.  The biggest is Aristotle’s argument of natural rulers and natural slaves that is so opposite to the way many think today.  The next biggest is that fact that the overall work seems like it is not coherently organized or even complete as many aspects that Aristotle says he will cover never appear and he writes about the bringing about his conclusive best government before actually proving what it is, though given his argument that the best government for a polis depends on how its population is constructed.


Aristotle’s Politics is at the same both thought-provoking and maddening especially given the soundness of his analysis and the disorganized state of the overall treatise.  Yet it is one of the most important treatise of political thought of the Western world and is significant in political and historical terms as it has been influential for millennia.

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review 2016-07-25 00:00
The Nicomachean Ethics
The Nicomachean Ethics - Aristotle,J.A.K. Thomson,Jonathan Barnes,Hugh Tredennick Happiness is what we do for its own sake. Our virtues (excellence) are either moral or contemplative. Our moral virtues allow us to work with others and practice the good habits we need in order to be noble and good. The highest virtues we have are the thinking (contemplative) virtues and they make us the most divine like relative to ourselves.

There is a lot to really love within this book. Our truest nature and happiness come about through learning and thinking about the world and it's nature by loving wisdom (philosophy) and thinking. Hedonistic pleasure as an end in itself is only good in as far as we use it to recharge our batteries in order that we may pursue our most divine part of ourselves. Our most divine self is the part of ourselves that makes us think and learn about the world and the universe of which we live in.

I think Aristotle would agree with this: people need to wake-up and stop allowing themselves to be diverted by the shiny marbles that pop up constantly and we need to stop doing diversions and start thinking for real. Our distractions are fine, but only up to the point that they enable our true selves to become actualized.

There is actually an incredibly good self help book inside of this book. After all, what is happiness and what does it mean, and how we acquire it is at the heart of all of the modern day self help books which I never read because they don't understand any where near as well as Aristotle did over 2000 years ago.

When I realized that Aristotle was really giving a handbook for how I have been leading my life for the last eight years by mostly obsessively reading books (mostly philosophy, science or history) that make me think and avoiding as much as possible distractions from others (not completely, because after all no man is an island) and I realized how great of a book this book really is.

The problem is that Aristotle is always prolix (tediously long) in his writing. He has neanderthal opinions about women ('men have endurance' and 'women and Persians vacillate'). He has long sections in the book on the virtues and the corresponding opposite vice and says the mean is the preferred position regarding the moral virtues; he has a pernicious teleology, and the wrong headed notions on 'essence' or 'substance' as being real, and etc.. When the wheat is separated from the chaff in this book, the wheat is well worth having.

After having had listened to this book for free through LivbiVox, I no longer have to semi-apologize for the path I've taken when I'm forced to meet people from time to time which mostly distracts me and takes me away from following the best path to happiness that Aristotle recommends for those who are so inclined, and I do believe that most of the people I meet tend to agree but the demands of live in general presses them into a different path than the one I'm allowed to pursue and for which is advocated throughout this book.
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text 2016-06-01 08:28
May Wrap-Up

In May I read 3 awesome books and 2 not so (ahum) awesome. I don't know why, but the Darkest Minds trilogy reads so slowly and even though I like the story in general, I most of the time just don't care. Anyways, these are the books I read in May:

- Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2) by Alexandra Bracken (read only the last half of it in May) 3.5/5 ★ review

- Affinity by Sarah Waters 4.5/5 ★ review

- Aristotle and Dante discovering the secrets of the universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz 5/5 ★ review

- The Kiss, The Two Volodyas and Gooseberries by Anton Chekhov 5/5 ★ review

- In The Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3) by Alexandra Bracken


I got to page 334 out of 535 of In The Afterlight, but I think I'm going to put it down for a while because this series is putting me in a slump. I want to finish it someday though.


When it comes to tv series: I watched a lot. Sadly enough were Faking It and Nashville canceled so very suddenly, but I also discovered a new series : Life Unexpected. I'm kinda hooked to it (only have 4 episodes left ha). Click here for the trailer if you're curious. 


What did you read in May and which one was your favorite?

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review 2016-05-06 00:00
Metaphysics - Aristotle Metaphysics - Aristotle First, I want to thank LibriVox for making this book freely available in an audio edition.

This is the only 3 star book where I would recommend it to everyone. My start of reading primary philosophy started with Heidegger, that led me to Hegel and then Kant. There's no doubt I should have suffered through this book first, because those authors rely on Aristotle in many ways and not just to tear him apart but to add to how Aristotle approached the topic of metaphysics.

I've learned to no longer trust commentaries of the great works of philosophy. The summaries just seem to get it wrong. One must go to the primary source to understand what was really said. Most of the time people comment on the Metaphysics they emphasis the four causes (form, matter, efficiency, and final cause). While they are right they are in the book, they are missing the heart of the matter.

Metaphysics is really defined by this book. Ontology, the science of being, the what is there, or the what is the furniture that makes up the room and what is that furniture really made up of are discussed in this book. Also, the foundation, the primary structure, the first causes of the world is looked at. Aristotle values both the empirical and the rational, the world of the physical and the abstract. Also, the nature of science is analyzed.

Aristotle speaks logic. He beats into the reader the meaning of mutually exclusive (something has to either be or not be at the same time and place) and contradiction (something can't be and not be at the same time and place). At his best, Aristotle puts reality back in to the dialectics. From Heraclitus' a person can't cross the river because they and the river are always changing, or Parmenides change is impossible because there is no such thing as the void (don't completely dismiss that because Einstein's block universe leads to that too). Aristotle uses his logic to demolish those beliefs.

I've tried reading it before but never got out of Book 1. I now know why. Aristotle is verbose in his prose. The substance of the universe are not numbers. It only took me one one sentence to dismiss that notion. It takes Aristotle all of book 13 to say that with multiple chapters and what seems like run on sentences before he lays out his excruciating arguments.

I hate recommending this book because it is painfully written, but it has real insights which are painfully and slowly drawn out, and it's clear that this book has influenced many later day philosophers who I have recently read. (Kant systematically destroys most of Aristotle's conclusion, Heidegger obviously worshiped the occurentness (a Dreyfus neologism) of Aristotle, and Hegel follows Aristotle's soul, identity, and essence (to me, the most dangerous concept in science!).
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text 2016-03-25 16:19
Bookhaul #25

What can I say... I bought books.. again haha. I bought quite a lot, but let's say I blame the stress when it comes to school and they were cheap. Anyhow, these are the books: 

Oorlogswinter is a Dutch classic which I've never read, so when I heard it was only 1 euro, I had to buy it. It's about a winter in World War II. Of course I had to buy In The Afterlight, because it's the third book in The Darkest Minds trilogy. I gave away my copy of The Martian to a friend, because she will (is liking) it more than I do and she gave me Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, because I really want to read it and she doesn't want to anymore. 

Heuh, Penguin Little Black classics? But Vienna, you already own them al?! That's what I thought as well! These are new ones Penguin came out with in March, but this time I decided to buy only the few ones I really want (I want three of four more, trust me). I bought the one by Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf and Charlotte Brontë. I've read other works by these authors and loved them all, so of course I had to buy these four first. 

My next goal is to make complete collections of authors that I already own some books of. I already had Sense and Sensibility, Emma and Pride and Prejudice, but now I own all of her novels. Sadly enough not in the same style (Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park are a bit different) and I had to buy Persuasion secondhand and it's a bit colour damaged, but it's complete! The short story collection is also on my way. Jane Austen isn't my favorite author (I've only liked Emma so far), but when I do like/love a book by her, I will also buy a different edition. I really want Emma in the Word Cloud edition, so yea. The edition I have now is very cheap, so then I don't mind.


What books have you bought recently? 

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