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Aristotle: Poetics

Posted on October 4, 2009 in Reading Project

The Poetics has a couple of big advantages over The Ethics. For one thing, it’s shorter. That’s always good with old stuff. Back in the day people weren’t really into keeping things to a reasonable length. Like Dickens. Guy wrote two good books, and they’re his too shortest. Let that be a lesson to all of you.

At any rate, the other advantage is that the assertions aren’t as ontologically grounded. While both books are all about what’s good, talking about good plays is easier to do without sounding sanctimonious. Also, The Poetics includes an intriguing look at early understanding of the parts of speech, including defining nouns and words that don’t require tenses to make sense.

So I don’t know. I’ve never been a big fan of Aristotle, and I definitely haven’t had any changes of heart here.

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Aristotle: The Nicomachean Ethics

Posted on September 29, 2009 in Reading Project

So this is pretty much a classic, and even more dull than that label would imply. I read the second section, which is where Aristotle outlines the foundation of his ethical structure which, to summarize crudely, is the assertion that balance between two extremes is what constitutes the good (or maybe The Good, or even THE GOOD.) The only thing that I found particularly intriguing about all of this was the certainty with which Aristotle uses words. It’s always a little amusing to me to come across things that are old enough to have a bit of that.

Well, that was a bit dull, and the next book is Aristotle too. Following that the As round out with “Imagined Communities,” because apparently I’m just too free-spirited to actually alphabetize things. A grim stretch, to be sure. Once I muddle through, however, there are a bunch of Barthes volumes in a row, so that should be good for a change of pace.