Aristotle

Aristotle: His Life and School

CARLO NATALI
EDITED BY D. S. HUTCHINSON
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 224
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt32bbww
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  • Book Info
    Aristotle
    Book Description:

    This definitive biography shows that Aristotle's philosophy is best understood on the basis of a firm knowledge of his life and of the school he founded. First published in Italian, and now translated, updated, and expanded for English readers, this concise chronological narrative is the most authoritative account of Aristotle's life and his Lyceum available in any language. Gathering, distilling, and analyzing all the evidence and previous scholarship, Carlo Natali, one of the world's leading Aristotle scholars, provides a masterful synthesis that is accessible to students yet filled with evidence and original interpretations that specialists will find informative and provocative.

    Cutting through the controversy and confusion that have surrounded Aristotle's biography, Natali tells the story of Aristotle's eventful life and sheds new light on his role in the foundation of the Lyceum. Natali offers the most detailed and persuasive argument yet for the view that the school, an important institution of higher learning and scientific research, was designed to foster a new intellectual way of life among Aristotle's followers, helping them fulfill an aristocratic ideal of the best way to use the leisure they enjoyed. Drawing a wealth of connections between Aristotle's life and thinking, Natali demonstrates how the two are mutually illuminating.

    For this edition, ancient texts have been freshly translated on the basis of the most recent critical editions; indexes have been added, including a comprehensive index of sources and an index to previous scholarship; and scholarship that has appeared since the book's original publication has been incorporated.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4600-9
    Subjects: Philosophy, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. PREFACE (2013)
    (pp. vii-xxii)
    D. S. HUTCHINSON
  4. INTRODUCTION (1990)
    (pp. 1-4)
    CARLO NATALI

    This outline of the life of Aristotle is not the work of a professional historian of the ancient world, only the fruit of the reflections of a scholar of the history of ancient philosophy; and it was born out of the need felt by the author to get his ideas clear when he was faced with a quantity of biographical reports, affirmations, and anecdotes often repeated but not always reliable. Historians with expertise in this period will not find much to learn from these pages, but my fellow “philosophers” or, better, “historians of philosophy,” may perhaps find it useful to...

  5. CHAPTER ONE THE BIOGRAPHY OF ARISTOTLE: FACTS, HYPOTHESES, CONJECTURES
    (pp. 5-71)

    On the biography of Aristotle we have few certain facts, and there has been much conjecture. We lack information on the most important issues, whereas there is much information about matters that are ultimately of marginal significance. The most recent discussion, from Düring 1957 and onward, is largely focused on the analysis of the sources, in order to identify their standpoint. It is very important to follow this approach, known to philologists by the name Quellenforschung, which has historically been the most rigorous and reliable method; when carried to excess, however, it tends to transform itself into the attitude of...

  6. CHAPTER TWO INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS OF THE SCHOOL OF ARISTOTLE
    (pp. 72-95)

    In the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle does not make it clear in an exact and explicit way whether the content of theōria involves a direct contemplation of the divine, a life of scientific research, or else a combination of both, in which knowledge of the divine is an aspect of a broader study of reality.¹ What he does, however, indicate with remarkable clarity are the external conditions needed to make such activity possible, and there is a substantial agreement between the Eudemian Ethics and the Nicomachean Ethics on the question of the amount and quantity of goods necessary for the bios...

  7. CHAPTER THREE INTERNAL ORGANIZATION OF THE SCHOOL OF ARISTOTLE
    (pp. 96-119)

    There is no available external documentation concerning the organization and activity of the school in the time of Aristotle. Comic poets, who happily made fun of Plato, who was a citizen of Athens and member of a prominent family, paid no attention to Aristotle, who was an outsider, nor did the orators (with the exception of Demochares, as we have seen). We have no caricatured descriptions of the philosopher and his circle, as we do for Socrates and Plato. For this reason the Aristotelian treatises constitute almost the only source of information to help us understand how teaching and philosophical...

  8. CHAPTER 4 STUDIES OF ARISTOTLE’S BIOGRAPHY FROM ZELLER TO THE PRESENT DAY
    (pp. 120-144)

    For the contemporary reconstruction of the biography of Aristotle, we rely upon various kinds of surviving sources and testimonia, such as texts by Aristotle (in particular the fragments of the lost works and the texts of the surviving works, his last will and testament, his poetry, and his letters), official documents, ancient biographies of Aristotle, and testimonia from ancient authors. In this chapter we shall first have a look at what these sources are and what reliability each of them may have, according to the current opinions of scholars. A large part of this section derives from Düring (1957); I...

  9. POSTSCRIPT (2012)
    (pp. 145-152)
    CARLO NATALI

    After an interval of twenty-one years from the original publication of the present book, it seems to me that many of its main theses still stand, such as the general picture it presents of Aristotle, the purpose of the Peripatos, and its institutional nature as a foundation. Other conclusions that I reached in this book can be considered more controversial.

    It will be opportune for me to pass in review the most important scholarship published since I last worked on this book. I apologize in advance if I have neglected any important contributions, since I have worked mostly on different...

  10. NOTES TO CHAPTER ONE THE BIOGRAPHY OF ARISTOTLE: FACTS, HYPOTHESES, CONJECTURES
    (pp. 153-169)
  11. NOTES TO CHAPTER TWO INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS OF THE SCHOOL OF ARISTOTLE
    (pp. 170-174)
  12. NOTES TO CHAPTER THREE INTERNAL ORGANIZATION OF THE SCHOOL OF ARISTOTLE
    (pp. 175-176)
  13. NOTES TO CHAPTER FOUR STUDIES OF ARISTOTLE’S BIOGRAPHY FROM ZELLER TO THE PRESENT DAY
    (pp. 177-180)
  14. INDEX OF SOURCES
    (pp. 181-195)
  15. BIBLIOGRAPHICAL INDEX
    (pp. 196-210)
  16. INDEX OF ANCIENT PERSONS AND PLACES
    (pp. 211-220)