Χρήστος Κ. Ευαγγελίου
Επίτιμος Πρόεδρος ΔΕΕΦ
Essays and Poems on Aristotle
Volume I: Logic and Ontology,
Volume II: Ethics and Politics
This book is a collection of essays and poems on essential aspects of Aristotle’s complete and systematic philosophy. The essays are thematically arranged in two volumes covering his logic and ontology as well as his ethical and political philosophy, respectively. A collection of relevant philosophic poems completes each of the two volumes by providing valuable insights which capture, in poetic form, the spirit of Aristotelian and Hellenic philosophy perhaps even better than the essays themselves do.
The defining characteristic of the book is a sustained effort to read and critically interpret certain aspects of Aristotle’s philosophy in the proper context of the Platonic tradition, in which it was born and nurtured over time. Aristotle is thus here understood essentially as a Platonic philosopher, even when he argues against specific Platonic doctrines and is criticized by other Platonic philosophers for that. In this respect, the Aristotelian system can be seen in its totality as meaningful, that is, as an extensive network of critical “footnotes to Plato.” This is more evident in his ethical and political theories than in his logic and ontology, but it is essentially present in both. Keeping this critical point in mind makes the understanding of Aristotle’s thought easier and enlightening for the serious student of the history of Ancient Hellenic philosophy.
Although they were written by the same author, the papers of the two collections differ considerably in style and content. Some of them are very cogent and analytical, while others are more speculative and imaginative. Some of them have extensive notes and references to secondary sources, while others rely more heavily on the evidence of the original texts. They have been written over the last forty years and have been presented at various national and international conferences of philosophy or classical philology. Some papers have been published in earlier versions in the proceedings of conferences, in special volumes, or in philosophical journals. They are revised and reprinted here for the benefit of students of philosophy, who will be helped by having them all collected in these volumes to get the complete picture of Aristotle as a Hellenic philosopher, perceived and presented by a sympathetic critic.
From these papers, the historical picture of Aristotle as an essentially Platonic philosopher emerges clearly and challenges the conventions of the history of philosophy, that is, of Ancient Hellenic philosophy. The essays illustrate the Aristotelian method of inquiry by textual evidence and show clearly how close Aristotle was to his teacher Plato, even when he respectfully disagreed with him, and tried valiantly and intelligently to improve upon certain Platonic doctrines, just as Plato had done regarding the Pre-Socratics.
Special thanks I owe to my wife Karen, whose critical mind and loving heart have provided over the years a favorite climate for my ideas to grow, and a high standard for my style to meet. This book is dedicated to her with real Aristotelian love and affection. It is also dedicated to the memory of Professor John P. Anton, who led me to Aristotle as a graduate student, and passed away recently. May his nous rest in peace next to Aristotle!