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Aristotle: A Very Short Introduction

Jonathan Barnes

Publication Date - January 2001

ISBN: 9780192854087

176 pages

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $11.95

A compact introduction to one of the key thinkers of Western philosophy


The influence of Aristotle, the prince of philosophers, on the intellectual history of the West is second to none. In this book, Jonathan Barnes examines Aristotle's scientific researches, his discoveries in logic and his metaphysical theories, his work in psychology and in ethics and politics, and his ideas about art and poetry, placing his teachings in their historical context.

About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.


  • Places the teachings of the prince of philosophers, Aristotle, in their historical context
  • Examines Aristotle's scientific researches, his discoveries in logic and his metaphysical theories, his work in psychology and in ethics and politics, and his ideas about art and poetry

About the Author(s)

Jonathan Barnes taught at Oxford for 25 years, being a Fellow first of Oriel and then of Balliol. He then spent eight years at the University of Geneva, before becoming Professor of Ancient Philosophy at the Sorbonne. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His many publications include The Ontological Argument (Macmillan, 1972); Aristotle's Posterior Analytics (Clarendon Press, 2nd edition 1993); Aristotle (OUP, 1982); The Complete Works of Aristotle (Princeton UP, 1984); Truth, etc. (Clarendon Press, 2007); and Method and Metaphysics: Essays in Ancient Philosophy I (OUP, 2011); with J. Annas, The Modes of Scepticism (CUP, 1985); Early Greek Philosophy (Penguin, 1987); The Toils of Scepticism (CUP, 1990); The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle (CUP, 1995); Porphyry: Introduction (Clarendon Press, 2003).


"A short, sweet, and selective commentary and analysis of Aristotle's works and ideas. A fine adjunct to the reading of the translated texts. A highly recommended aid to the student meeting Aristotle ab initio. Boy, what a book!"--Steven C. Fleishman, University of Maryland

"No other work on Aristotle accomplishes so much in such brief compass; its author's care for and knowledge of Aristotle's achievements are evident on every page."--Tom Cunningham, Grand Valley State College

"One of the finest critical introductions to Aristotle ever written. Clear, concise, and intelligible."--Religious Studies Review

"As an introduction to Aristotle, I find Barnes' book ideal....his book presents the basics in an understandable manner for beginners."--Rose Maries Surwilo, College of St. Francis

"There is something here for everyone with a nose for philosophy and its history...Barnes has provided a description which does justice to the grandeur and breadth of its subject."--Sarah Waterlow, Times Literary Supplement

Table of Contents

    1. The man and his work; 2. A public figure; 3. Zoological researches; 4. Collecting facts; 5.The philosophical background; 6. The structure of the sciences; 7. Logic; 8. Knowledge; 9. Iegal and achievement; 10. Reality; 11.Change; 12 Causes; 13. Empiricism; 14. Aristotle's world-picture; 15. Psychology; 16. Evidence; 17. Teleology; 18. Practical philosophy; 19. The arts; 20. Afterlife; Chronological table; Further reading; References; Index