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1. The Art of Living: The Classic
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2. Meditations (Modern Library Classics)
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3. The Collected Dialogues of Plato
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4. Socrates to Sartre and Beyond:
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5. Bushido: The Way of the Samurai
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20. The Mycenaean World

1. The Art of Living: The Classic Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness
by Epictetus, Sharon Lebell
list price: $16.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0062513222
Catlog: Book (1995-10-01)
Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco
Sales Rank: 59684
Average Customer Review: 3.63 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

"Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can't control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible." The Stoic philosopher Epictetus was born on the eastern edges of the Roman Empire in A.D. 55, but The Art of Living is still perfectly suited for any contemporary self-help or recovery program. To prove the point, this modern interpretation by Sharon Lebell casts the teachings in up-to-date language, with phrases like "power broker" and "casual sex" popping up intermittently. But the core is still the same: Epictetus keeps the focus on progress over perfection, on accomplishing what can be accomplished and abandoning unproductive worry over what cannot. ... Read more

Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars It makes we stop to rethink our lives
Epictetus, in the stoic tradition, faces life in such an open-hearted way, that by the first pages we are already totally shocked.

Those short sentences and simple thoughts pack such "weight" and truth in them, that in a matter of minutes you are already questioning all the important decisions you took in the past and start to ask yourself where the heck you thought you were heading... :-)

The worst thing: Even if you don't like what he writes, it totally makes sense and you can feel it inside you... It's terrifying! :-)

As it was supposed to be, this short book is an invaluable manual for good living and peace of mind. It makes all those important "truths" you were taught for years and years, suddenly seem so small, that the phrase "rethink your life" had to be associated to this book.

By teaching us to face life in a different way, this book simply makes us better human beings. The so-called big problems suddenly become small and the otherwise "small things" are turned into a font of happiness.

And the best of all, this book is so cheap and thin, that is hard to find an excuse not to read it! I am sure we all can take at least something of great value to our lives by reading this book.

It is amazing that after thousands of years, nobody can know, explain and understand human nature so well as those ancient Greeks(or Greecians, as some might say...).

Also, if you like this book, check the works of Seneca because they are very, very interesting too!

4-0 out of 5 stars Getting it right. [Epictetus DID address casual sex!]
This book is inspiring, but perhaps confusing from a historical standpoint, given that Lebell doesn't tell us when she's embellishing on the original. Some reviewers have been speculating on what Epictetus did and did not write about. Example: some have complained that he couldn't possibly have addressed "casual sex". A reviewer named "Strict Evaluation" poo-poos Lebell's use of Epictetus's name and skeptically asks "what's the Greek for 'casual sex'?" -- implying that Lebell's book has little relation to Epictetus. I can assure you that that reviewer is uninformed and overdramatic. Case in point:

Lebell writes:

"Abstain from casual sex and particularly avoid sexual intercourse before you get married." ... "If, however, you know someone who has had casual sex, don't self-righteously try to win them over to your own views."

Arrian (Epictetus's sole recorder) writes in the Enchiridion:

"As to pleasure with women, abstain as far as you can before marriage: but if you do indulge in it, do it in the way which is conformable to custom. Do not, however be disagreeable to those who indulge in these pleasures, or reprove them; and do not often boast that you do not indulge in them yourself."

I'd say that Lebell has done a good job of capturing the spirit of what Arrian reported of Epictetus teachings (in this case). She often adds her own extrapolations and interpretations based on (1) her own understanding of the philosophy, and (2) a desire to make the reading more accessible and compelling to her audience. I agree that it would be awfully nice to have references to the original texts for comparison -- or perhaps an original+commentary format -- but before you indict her for complete fabrication, please, at least take a look at the original!

5-0 out of 5 stars My gift to graduates
This book makes a wonderful gift for a new graduate. How many high schools teach philosophy these days? The sensible advice and direction that this modern interpretation provides can be an excellent introduction to philosophy and perhaps widen the scope of thought for young people beyond what 'popular entertainment' offers. I've given this book for several years now and although a graduate may not initially appreciate the ideas presented, eventually it gets picked up and enjoyed.

1-0 out of 5 stars Midadvertised, Diluted, Mistranslated -- But Still Edifying!
Sharon Lebell's "translation" (or should I say more accurately, "rewriting") is worth reading. The advice still makes sense, even though you are reading a greatly DILUTED, MISTRANSLATED, CREATIVELY EDITED, AND WHOLLY "NON-CLASSICAL" alleged translation. A hint that something's amiss is the juxtaposition of Sharon Lebell's name next to Epictetus's. Since when does a translator of a classical author place her name so prominently next to the real author? Answer. When the translations are so different from the original that the juxtaposition of names "Epictetus, Sharon Lebell" accurately portrays the authorship of THIS pseudo-translation of a great classic text. Per the advice of a few previous reviewers, I DID DO SOMETHING SOME PEOPLE MAY CHOOSE TO BYPASS: I consulted a hardcover edition of Epictetus's DISCOURSES and ENCHIRIDION based on the translation of Thomas Wentworth Higginson. It was a worthwhile experience of textual comparison. Take Chapter Thirteen of Epictetus's Discourses: "To Those Who Talk Too Much About Their Own Affairs." Higginson's translation, though somewhat stilted, presents three full pages (328-330) of advice on avoiding gossip, both as a speaker and listener. Lebell's "translation" pares down three dense pages of tiny single space writing into less than one full page of alleged translation. What authority has granted Lebell permission to chop out three-fourths of what Epictetus says on the topic, and so loosely translate whatever remains? Since when is such a divorce from a responsible rendering a "translation?" And can someone clarify this question? Did Epictetus ever write such a puny text called "The Art of Living"? The aforementioned passage contained in Higginson's translation is contained in the Discourses (I saw no mention of "The Art of Living" anywhere. Was that perhaps in a Dalai Lama book? Did the author creatively merge Tibetan Buddhism with Stoic philosophy? That would explain how Lebell could have taken the 330 densely compacted pages of the Discourses, and turned them into a couple of dozen big-lettered paragraphs, most of them failing to amount to a quarter of a page.). No, Lebell's "The Art of Living" is not a translation of Epictetus. But is it useful? Yes. Is it worth reading? Yes, especially if a genuine translation is NOT available. And that's the problem. Few legitimate translations are available. But they are available. This points to another misrepresentation by Lebell and/or her publishers/editors. By calling excerpts from Epictetus "Discourses" (and possible Enchiridion) "The Art of Living" Lebell makes a reader feel that she is providing the reader with a hitherfore untranslated work. Well, gottcha! No such untranslated work. The readers is reading a few creatively translated (mistranslated) snippets from a much larger body of work. So, I can't dare to call Lebell's highly abridged and creatively edition "a translation." It's not. What can I compare it to? Well, there's a wonderful little book called "I Ching Wisdom" written by Wu Wei. It's great. It's worth reading. But when you actually read the new definitive Alfred Huang translation of the I-Ching, you know you are reading a useful, yet greatly altered "Cliff Notes/Fortune Cookie" version of the original. Does this disparage Lebell's contribution? Well, no. Read on their own merits -- not as a translation of Epictetus, but solely as Lebell's "brainstorming" after reading a few of Epictetus's Discourses, etc. -- the book is very good. But the real great tragedy and endictment here points to the irresponsible publishers/editors who saw fit to allow Lebell to abridge and mistranslate excerpts from Epictetus's works, and then try to pass it on to unsuspecting readers as: "The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectivenss." If the source of Lebell's pseudo-translation is Epictetus, then where is her original source? And why didn't the irresponsible publishers/editors ensure that Lebell provided readers with an accurate and complete translation of the Discourses and Enchiridion? As a piece of scholarship, Lebell's pseudo-translation is inexusably irresponsible and shallow. As a valuable contribution to "self help" literature, it's a good quick read for even a 45-minute commuter flight. You can probably read and reread the book in that time. Why even buy it? You can read it while standing at the airport magazine store in less time than it takes to get through airport security. So...if you're interested in Epictetus, go elsewhere. If you want an overpriced misrepresentation of Epictetus with a nice hardcover, then you'll get exactly just that. I only wish Lebell had been ethical enough as an author to have excised Epictetus's name out of the book, in addition to the other 300 or so pages she left out and/or changed beyond recognition. What's the sense of starting to translate a work when you can't get through one-thirtieth of the work? "Buyer Beware!"

5-0 out of 5 stars the wisdom missing from self-help books
This is one of the rare books that doesn't just provide advice on how to make relationships better, better your career, etc. It is not a self-help book! It is a book of wisdom based on the reflections and teachings of a great philosopher. I was impressed. ... Read more


2. Meditations (Modern Library Classics)
by MARCUS AURELIUS
list price: $9.95
our price: $9.95
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Asin: 0812968255
Catlog: Book (2003-05-06)
Publisher: Modern Library
Sales Rank: 18986
Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A series of spiritual exercises filled with wisdom, practical guidance, and profound understanding of human behavior, Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations remains one of the greatest works of spiritual and ethical reflection ever written. Marcus’s insights and advice—on everything from living in the world to coping with adversity and interacting with others—have made the Meditations required reading for statesmen and philosophers alike, while generations of ordinary readers have responded to the straightforward intimacy of his style.

In Gregory Hays’s new translation—the first in a generation—Marcus’s thoughts speak with a new immediacy: never before have they been so directly and powerfully presented.
... Read more

Reviews (55)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Ancient Roman Amazingly Up To Date!
As you read the words of Marcus Aurelius, Emperor of Rome, you'll find advice and help that is as helpful now, in the 21st century as it was in his lifetime.

I am a voracious reader of self-help books, and I see a lot of the essence of them summed up in Aurelius' MEDITATIONS.

Aurelius is a Stoic, which is not to be confused with an unfeeling view of life. He is concerned with living a life of integrity and adopting principles of self discipline, especially in the face of impulse and action. His goal was to be just, self-disciplined, courageous and independent, and to live in the present.

The book is divided into sections and the paragraphs are numbered. The style of writing is easy to understand, but it isn't "fast" reading -- sometimes it's possible to read two or three sentences and think deeply.

It's a good book to carry with you and read in odd moments -- or when you have a lot of time to read. It will make you think and contemplate.

5-0 out of 5 stars Way, way before its time
Meditations is the kind of book you can just open up to any page and learn from, a still-relevant lesson about how to set priorities in what Socrates called the examined life. It is also a fascinating tour of the mind of Marcus Aurelius, the military leader, emperor, educator, philanthropist, and philosopher who remains one of history's most noble protagonists, and whose writings reveal the loneliness of his soul without being bitter.

This is a must-have book for the nightstand of anyone living a contemplative life, a profound precursor to modern self-help books written by a Renaissance man who lived centuries before the Renaissance.

There is no plot to summarize here, no accurate generalizations to be made. One gets the idea that these are thoughts the author jotted down, sometimes between appointments and sometimes after months of contemplation. Often they are obvious, sometimes they are obscure. They can seem rooted in history, and at times based on today's current events. They can be funny, surprising, or sad. But they are almost always worthwhile.

A final note: I have two editions of this book, and while I think both this one and the Hicks' translation are very good, I prefer this by a small degree.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best translation of this classic
This is my favorite translation of the meditations, an opinion further solidified yesterday when I went to the book store to get a last-minute graduation gift for a young man, and all they had was "The Emperor's Handbook" by the Hicks brothers. It was good, but I think it lacked the manliness and concise clarity of the Hays translation. I have not read the original Greek, (trying to learn some now!), so I'm no authority, but I imagine this is how a man like Marcus Aurelius might write to himself in this circumstance.

As for the greatness of the original work itself, all I can add to the other fine reviews here are two quotes I have always loved from Clifton Fadiman's "The Lifetime Reading Plan":

". . . during the last ten years of his life, by the light of a campfire, resting by the remote Danube after a wearisome day of marching or battle, he set down in Greek his Meditations, addressed only to himself but by good fortune now the property of us all," and, "Through the years The Golden Book of Marcus Aurelius, as it has been called, has been read by vast numbers of men and women. They have thought of it not as a classic but as a well spring of consolation and inspiration. It is one of the few books that seem to have helped men directly and immediately to live better, to bear with greater dignity and fortitude the burden of being merely human. Aristotle one studies. Marcus Aurelius men take to their hearts."

4-0 out of 5 stars I love M. A. Antonio 's Spiritual Execises
This translation may not be perfect, but it is a good resource for wise choice making. Although, Marcus Aurelius persecuted Christians (a sect in his time) his virtues and stoic philosophy grant him the ability to be a distinct spiritual artist. I prefer to replace his "gods" with God and his force against Christians as a force against sects or being part of bad crowds or better yet ignored. There is no substitute for the bible, but his spiritual exercises should be recognized as good.

4-0 out of 5 stars 4* Read this one and avoid any inferior translations
There's some confusion over the editorial & reviews. This edition is translated by Staniforth, and that is the one to read. Some postings suggest they are describing the Hays translation, which this is not.

I picked up the Hays translation of this work, and phrases like 'junk' and 'if you keep putting things off' leapt out of the text. Consternation - did the Greek original actually have words like that? It was a 'modern translation - modern as in 'dumbing down'.

So I went looking for this Staniforth translation, only 40 years old, but more faithful to the original, as in 'think of your many years of procrastination' rather than 'if you keep putting things off'. I'm sorry, but if you can't handle good English, and need the 'dumber' versions, then you're probably too dumb to appreciate the finer points of the work in the first place. Both versions were the same price, so that didn't influence my decision.

Then you can sit back and invest your time in enjoying the thoughts & the musings of this interesting man, who although Roman, was able to make his records in Greek. ... Read more


3. The Collected Dialogues of Plato
by Plato
list price: $45.00
our price: $45.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691097186
Catlog: Book (1961-10-01)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 95940
Average Customer Review: 3.88 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

All the writings of Plato generally considered to be authentic are here presented in the only complete one-volume Plato available in English. The editors set out to choose the contents of this collected edition from the work of the best British and American translators of the last 100 years, ranging from Jowett (1871) to scholars of the present day. The volume contains prefatory notes to each dialogue, by Edith Hamilton; an introductory essay on Plato's philosophy and writings, by Huntington Cairns; and a comprehensive index which seeks, by means of cross references, to assist the reader with the philosophical vocabulary of the different translators. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars I Hate Plato
Yes, I think Plato's philosophy is one of the most despicable things unleashed on this Earth. His idea that this world we live in is only semi-real has lead to most of the bad philosphy in recorded history. Only a few philosphers have escaped from under his glare. It's most ironic that one of those is his most famous student: Aristotle.
However, as a lover of knowledge and a student of philosophy, I realize the tremendous debt owed to Plato. First, he understood how imprtant it was to record his ideas. Socrates did not and for this the world is almost assuredly the worst for it. Secondly, he was and absolutely amazing writer. His ability to put his ideas forth in a lucid manner that anyone can uderstand is amazing. Thirdly, he was the first philosopher who devised a full system of knowledge. He wrote on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics and aesthetics.
It is further unfortunate that this text has become the standard by which philosphy students must study Plato. The text is rigid, and as an earlier reviewer noted, Hamilton's intros suck. It is ridiculous to think of her as a serious Platonic scholar. But the Cooper text is much harder to come by, and the Hamilton is required in most courses on Plato. If you have the means, secure yourself a copy of both.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Collected Dialogues of Plato
I have read several of the translations of Plato's dialogues by different scholars... this is the best one that I have come across. Granted Ms. Hamilton's introductions are a little sparce, but that leaves the reader to form a better opinion... not one jaded. This edition is one of the most complete volumes available... where Letters, Menexenus, Lesser Hippias and Ion are found with a rather extensive index and the standard numbering lines from the Greek text.

We have meaningful translations, translations of what Plato was trying to say in todays English language... I know that over time languages grow and evolve but here we read the dialogues like a short story full of life and viable.

The translations in this volume are from: Lane Cooper, F.M. Cornford, W.K.C. Guthrie, R. Hackforth, Michael Joyce, Benjamin Jowett, L.A. Post, W.H.D. Rouse, Paul Shorey, J.B.Skemp, A.E. Taylor Hugh Tredennick, W.D. Woodhead, and J. Wright.

For being a one volume set, this is about as complete as it gets.

4-0 out of 5 stars Plato
This edition of the works of Plato includes translations of the works by scholar such as: Francis Macdonald Cornford, A.E. Taylor, Benjamin Jowett, W.K.C. Guthrie, and Paul Shorey. The edition is probably the most complete available, since it includes "Ion," "Lesser Hippias," "Menexenus," and the "Letters." Most texts omit these works and I find that it is nice to finally have them.

The typeface is readable, and the pages are clean and bright, so that should facilitate ease in reading. The binding appears to be sturdy and should hold-up.

The features include brief introductions (I'll comment on that later) and a rather extensive index. There is also a short introduction by Huntington Cairns. The texts also include the standard line numbering from the Greek text.

The brief introductions are laughable and can (and ought to be) skipped. Edith Hamilton, though a respected woman, is not a Plato scholar. Her little introductions don't impede the reader, though.

4-0 out of 5 stars Second best Plato collection in English
Here is what you get:

CONTENTS

Editorial Note (editors)

Introduction (Huntington Cairns)

Apology

Crito

Phaedo

Charmides

Laches

Lysis

Euthyphro

Menexenus

Lesser Hippias

Ion

Gorgias

Protagoras

Meno

Euthydemus

Cratylus

Phaedrus

Symposium

Republic

Theaetetus

Parmenides

Sophist

Statesman

Philebus

Timaeus

Critias

Laws

Epinomis *

Greater Hippias *

Letters *

* denotes items whose authenticity is seriously doubted.

The most irritating thing about this collection is the moronic, but mercifully short, Edith Hamilton introductions to the dialogues.

Let us take some examples from her introduction to the dialogue "Euthyphro":

"When Socrates asks what then is piety, he [Euthyphro] gives the answer characteristic of the orthodox everywhere - in effect 'Piety is thinking as I do.'"

Is this really the case? Is that all that Moses, Isaiah, Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, and Martin Luther, to name only a few, had to say on the subject?

Here is another:

"Socrates makes a distinction fundamental in reasoning and often disregarded, that the good is good not because the gods approve it, but the gods approve it because it is good."

There is several hundred years of intense philosophical and theological debate (still continuing) settled in a pretty summary fashion.

Finally, there is this:

"The real interest of the dialogue, however, is the picture of Socrates just before his trial...keenly involved in a discussion completely removed from his own situation."

One of the charges against Socrates was of course impiety. Also, I guess, it is ridiculous to assume that there is much inherent interest or significance in asking questions about the metaphysical grounding of the good, especially by comparison with Hamilton's fascinating "People" magazine approach to philosophy.

In one sense, the introductions do, however, perfectly introduce Plato. The multiple layers of stupidity in the introductions make a striking contrast with the multiple layers of insight in the dialogues themselves. When the reader goes from Hamilton to Plato, it is wonderfully pleasurable to feel the effect of the author's IQ jumping about 200 points.

As others have noted, if you have a free choice, "Plato: Complete Works", edited by John M. Cooper is the Plato collection to get. The translations are more modern, the introductions are smarter (if not longer), the footnotes identifying people, places and events more numerous, and many more of the works of uncertain authenticity are included, which have historical significance if nothing else.

If you do have to buy this collection for school or because it is used as a reference by some other work you're reading, don't despair. You're still getting Plato. Also, you're getting the better index.

Here, for example, is the index entry for "habit" from this collection:

habit: in education of infants, Laws 7.792e, force of, ib. 4.708c; and nature, ib. 7.794e; and temperament, ib. 2.655e; and virtue, Rep. 7.518e, 10.619c

And here is the entry from the Cooper collection:

habit: L. 2.655e, 4.708c, 7.792e, 7.794e; R. 7.518e, 10.619c.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superior Book on Plato
I have looked at most of the translations of Plato's works, and this is by far the best. The writers here were concerned with giving the typical reader a meaningful translation. In these works, you know what Plato was trying to say. Most of the other works were written for academics who are looking for something different, even if it isn't meaningful--in fact they like that better so they have something to teach. ... Read more


4. Socrates to Sartre and Beyond: A History of Philosophy
by Samuel Enoch Stumpf, James Fieser
list price: $80.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0072560789
Catlog: Book (2002-08-01)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Langua
Sales Rank: 381766
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This comprehensive, historically organized introduction to philosophy communicates the richness of the discipline and provides the student with a working knowledge of the development of Western philosophy.New co-author James Fieser has brought this classic text up-to-date both chronologically and stylistically while preserving the thoughtful, conceptual characteristics that have made it so successful.The text covers all periods of philosophy, lists philosophers alphabetically and chronologically on the end-papers, and features an exceptional glossary of key concepts. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fine Survey of Western Philosophical Thought
This book, now in its seventh edition, is one of the better histories of western philosophical thought and development.In this edition, Fieser takes the reins, building upon the work of the late Samuel Stumpf, respected philosopher at Vanderbilt.This is a book that is comprehensive, yet fairly accessible as well.The beginner to philosophy might have difficulty with sections dealing with the more elaborate thinkers like Hegel or even Heidegger, but on balance, I think even a beginner will be able to get a great deal out of this book.

Through careful study of this book, the reader will begin to see how western society has been thoroughly shaped by the philosophies described here.While philosophy is regularly dismissed as irrelevant theorizing that has no bearing on the real world (a criticism that is not altogether invalid), what can be seen from reading this book is that ideas matter, and they have consequences that thoroughly shape the 'real world'.

Stumpf/Feiser begin with the pre-Socratic philosophers, and then devote considerable time to analyzing Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.It is Plato and Aristotle that Western thought owes its inheritance, and this can be seen in the treatment of Augustine and Aquinas and the outworkings of their philosophies/theological approaches and necessities.

Modernist philosophy gets a hard look in this book as well, starting with Descartes and moving up through Kant.Existentialism, both Christian and atheist, are examined through Kierkegaard and Sartre/Camus, and the book also devotes a decent amount of attention to Nietzche and analytic philosophy, the forebears of postmodernism.

In each case, the analyses in this book are solid, and while the treatment is certainly not exhaustive, many of the major ideas of the philosophers mentioned are handled quite well and in mostly understandable and accessible ways.

I will register only 2 minor complaints.The book's citationing approach is not good at all.The book regularly quotes from the works of the philosophers in question, but does not have formal citations.This is very fixable and should be fixed in the next edition, there's no reason why the citations shouldn't be in here.Secondly, postmodernism itself is still not dealt with as comprehensively as it should be.While Rorty's thought is discussed, Foucault, Derrida, and others are not and they should be in order to present an adequate picture of contemporary philosophy.In addition, the work of Plantinga also deserves mention but is excluded.

But overall, this is a fine survey - more advanced than Grenz's survey 'Primer on Postmodernism' (which I would recommend for those wanting a survey treatment on Derrida and Foucault), but still accessible for most anyone interested in a substantive treatment of Western philosophy. ... Read more


5. Bushido: The Way of the Samurai (Square One Classics)
by Tsunetomo Yamamoto, Justin F. Stone, Minoru Tanaka
list price: $9.95
our price: $8.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0757000266
Catlog: Book (2001-10-01)
Publisher: Square One Publishers
Sales Rank: 3799
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars If you want to know the world of the samurai
This is a quick read and very informative.

5-0 out of 5 stars A look into the warrior's mind
This book was written at the very start of the 19th century, by a samurai in retirement. It gives a unique look back to the late 18th, when Yamamoto was active as a samurai. The view is unique, in part, because Japan was unifying and there was less need for each minor lord to have an armed class. The warrior ethic was changing as war became less common. In part, these notes seem to mourn the passing of the clearest, purest form of that ethic.

The warrior ethic only changed, though and still underlies many aspects of modern Japanese thought and policy. The feudal caste system still gives a fair decription of different levels of management.

This book is not just about a time and a culture different from that in the modern West. It teaches personal responsibility, a lesson that many too many people still need. In part, this means responsibility to one's self, in maintaining professional skills and personal credibility. It also means responsibility towards one's employer. I do not feel crass in saying that, by accepting the pay that feeds and houses me, I have a duty to return the value given. Self interest, if not personal honor, should encourage me to support my employer well enough to keep supporting me and to support me better in the future.

I was also interested to see that a strict code of honor can include a strictly preserved set of personal freedoms. Yamamoto stresses the need to tolerate a few flaws in order to use a person's strengths. He also notes that samurai - or, I think, any professionals - can be effective only when free to make decisions on their own. This is not insubordination, quite the opposite. The skilled employee must be able to make decisions based on that skill. Too tight a managerial rein just strangles the professional's effectiveness.

I was surprised (but perhaps should not have been) that this book describes the modern professional so well. Yamamoto's advice is right in line with my own business experience. I think that more of today's skilled workers, and their managers, would be more effective if they applied this book in their lives.

It was also surprising, but satisfying, to read Yamamoto's most secret advice: to do what you love most. I certainly see why this maxim must be held back. This advice can only enrich a person who is already so trained that their loves are honorable, loyal, and productive. Keeping with Yamamoto's Zen spirit, though, I would say that such people do not need that inner secret. Today, as then, such people already follow what they love.

5-0 out of 5 stars Creating Super-men...
The Hagakure was dictated by Yamamoto and later scribed verbatim by Tsuramoto Tashiro over a period of seven years (1710-1716) in which they lived together in a far off mountain retreat in Japan. Tashiro was sworn to secrecy over the texts contents because the author believed the teachings to be far too radical and too militaristic for the then peaceful times during the Shogunate Rule (1603-1867). During this time of unusual calmness, the teachings of Buddhism and the ethical codes of Confucius permeated Japan, enriching every aspect of her culture from arts to politics. But the old Samurai, Yamamoto, believed (though acknowledging the Buddha and the tenets of Confucius) that the Samurai, as a class, had become effeminate and weak. Yamamoto's basic premise was that the Samurai could not serve two masters (religion and the Clan) and by doing so had become less effective. The service of the lord and the clan should come first, and once this was done, one could then amuse oneself with the studies of the humanities. In writing the Hagakura, Yamamoto hoped that someday the Samurai would return to the purity of its strong and compassionate past. More than this, however, he wanted to create a class of super-men. As Tanaka explains in his historical overview:

"In his (Yamamoto) talks, he wanted every Samurai to become a super-man. But he wanted super-men who were capable of gaining great power, not for their own self-interest, but for the interest of the clan. He wanted super-men who were capable of operating effectively for the solidarity of the clan." (xv)

This is the key to the power and longevity of the way of the Samurai, and that is its notion of devout loyalty to the Lord of the Clan and the Clan itself. All other concerns in life are simply deemed irrelevant. Moreover, that other essential dictum, do your duty to your parents. And lastly, but most importantly, ensuring compassion for all sentient beings and the devout service of others. By devoting oneself to these vows of allegiance and practicing them, Yamamoto believed the Samurai would attain super-man status.

This particular translation is divided into eleven books, covering personal, social and philosophical advice from How to Excel Above Others, How to Conduct Yourself, Spiritual Vigour and Conceal Your Wisdom. These titles really speak for themselves.

This is an excellent text to prime oneself on the foundational tenets of the way of the Samurai and a good introduction to the history of Japanese culture and thought in terms of social discourse and philosophical perspective.

5-0 out of 5 stars Correcting a previous review ...
Regarding the comments, "...business leaders in Japan today all study Kendo" and, "...It's wise not to take Japanese women in business lightly. They nearly all study naginata in school."

I know Japan enough to say that these comments are not true, in other words lies. One may have special feelings for Japan, the same as I do, but these comments are misleading.

The Samurai teachings live on in Japan as a part of society, but are considered modern and not solely of that era.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good information for both martial arts AND business
Often, if you take a course in business strategy, it will include the wonderful Art of War by Sun-Tzu. Sometimes you are asked to read Mushashi's Book of Five Rings, which is Japanese in origin, not Chinese like Sun-Tzu. It's more philosophical and etherial than Sun-Tzu's book, which can be compared to Von Clauswitz's "The Nature of War." But--if you study martial arts, or plan to work in Japan, have Japanese partners, or if you just enjoy learning about military philosophy as a part of business strategy, then "Bushido: The Way of the Samurai" is a fascinating book with a lot to offer the reader. In fact, this is probably one of the best books I could recommend to get to know the mindset of Japanese business leaders. Man of them come from old Samurai families, whose history and traditions go far, far back in time.

In particular, the book outlines the aspects of Bushido philosophy:

Justice
Courage
Benevolence
Loyalty
Honor
Self-control
Sincerity

The book of course gives the meaning of Samurai rituals, including seppuku (hari-kiri) and discussing the training of a warrior. Lest you think this is old hat, business leaders in Japan today all study Kendo, the martial art of the sword and the closest to Bushido's heart.

Even women are not exempted from the Bushido code. They are expected to do their part as warriors, and women traditionally have used the naginata (halberd or pike) as a defensive weapon. It's funny to think that the naginata is considered "effeminate" and watch a Japanese sportswoman wielding that deadly blade against eight opponents during a martial arts demonstration. It's wise not to take Japanese women in business lightly. They nearly all study naginata in school.

I've worked briefly in Japan and have studied Aikido in the past. I found "Bushido" to be one of the most valuable books I own on the subject of Japanese culture and mindset, as well as an additional good book on military philosophy. ... Read more


6. The Republic of Plato
by Plato, Allan Bloom, Allan David Bloom
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
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Asin: 0465069347
Catlog: Book (1991-09-01)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 9380
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Long regarded as the most accurate rendering of Plato's Republic that has yet been published, this widely acclaimed work is the first strictly literal translation of a timeless classic. This second edition includes a new introduction by Professor Bloom, whose careful translation and interpretation of The Republic was first published in 1968. In addition to the correct text itself there is also a rich and valuable essay--as well as indexes and a glossary of terms--which will better enable the readerto approach the heart of Plato's intention. ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars The only responsible way to read Plato
The Republic is a challenging, intricate, subtle work in which every word counts. This is why a "literal" translation is necessary -- a translation that truly reflects the Greek. Bloom's introduction, in which he defends this approach, is an excellent argument against paraphrasing translations, which water down Plato and make him easy and unsurprising. (One exception to Bloom's literality: he translates "hyƓn polis," 372d, as "city of sows" rather than the traditional "city of pigs." There is no justification for the female "sows" in the Greek, and I must assume that this is just Bloom's own chauvinist pigdom coming out.)

Bloom's interpretive essay presents his reading of the Republic as an implicit criticism of the thirst for absolute political justice. A plausible reading, but not as obvious as Bloom sometimes makes it sound. (To see the more subtle source of Bloom's ideas, read Leo Strauss's "The City and Man." And for a fictionalized portrait of Allan Bloom, see Saul Bellow's new novel, "Ravelstein.")

5-0 out of 5 stars Bloom points to a 'New' Philosophy
What is so fascinating about this translation and the essay is that it deviates in important ways from the typical Christian Platonist conception of philosophy. Bllom is engaged in a war of sorts, it is stunning oh so many other academics fail to recognize how Bloom undermines their common assumptions about 'The Republic' and philosophy itself. Note the absence of comment on the 'Divided Line' of Book VI, and the entire discussion of the 'Theory of Forms' get short shrift. Why? There is a reason, if you follow the interpretitive essay, a parenthitic expression sends shivers- did Bloom really suggest 'The Just City in Speech' is not the best regime? Haunting. This view of 'The Republic' is deeply dependent on Leo Strauss' earlier groundbreaking sensitivity to irony. This is easy to say-IRONY- Plato was ironic, "The Republic' is ironic, but what does that really mean? An excellent read, and read, and read again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Understandable Translation with Explanatory Intros
.
This translation of Cornford is the best one that I've found for clarity and understanding. The translation itself is not exact or literal, as I find strict adhesure to the literal as corrupting the clarity with exactitude and awkwardness. No doubt if you rather a more exact translation then you must look perhaps to Allan Bloom's, which is totally a good one, and much more so it's the 100+ page interpretive essay of Bloom that makes his book totally worthwhile.

Cornford further divides "The Republic of Plato" into 6 Parts with multiple chapters in each part! And to top if off with an introduction in italics before each new topic that he has divided into separate chapters. This is extremely helpful to piece all the thoughts together and I find it a hell of lot more helpful then the traditional 10 books/divisions found in Bloom's translation, and most others.

You can't help but admire Socrates how he reasons so well how truth is always a paradox and not one-sided, as in that of justice verses injustice, how Thrasymachus argues the stronger are the ones who control and benefit, While Socrates argues the weaker are that ones that benefit from requiring the need of the stronger's art of practicing justice in order to receive the injustice he dominates from the weaker. It's incredible paradox and argument. Of course when the stronger becomes less strong and the weaker less weak a balance of justice occurs but not with radical equalitarian methods of communism or totalitarianism, but rather with wise Philosopher Kings and the Guardians that protect the society.

Socrates government has some totalitarian attributes, as in the sharing children and censorship, while other aspects, such as the training of the Guardians, the Philosopher kings, and most assuredly, his analysis of comparison of oligarchy, democracy, timocracy and despotism, including the nature of individuals in such systems makes this highly interesting material. And none of Socrates words in Plato's writing and Cornford's translation are obscure and overly abstract. There is no Immanuel Kant language, or Hegel, here.

What a great thinker Socrates was. It may be more accurate to say what a great thinker Plato was in his description of Socrates. His continual quest for truth, virtue and in the case of Plato's Republic, justice. At first his idea of justice is very noble and always intriguing, thought provoking and honorable. However, what begins as an intellectual idea of what justice is, ends up being a logically formed government that intellectually, or scientifically, measures, analyzes and controls the creativity of man, a government that epitomizes what centuries later labeled as the Enlightenment, which demystified the artistic man into a pragmatic and positivist being. While democracy based on a rational system of "rights" developed from the likes of Hobbes, Locke and Mill, what ultimately resulted was a Marxist censorship government of control that emulated itself much in line with this Plato's Republic, the extreme rule built on scientific and rational means of communism and totalitarianism.

It becomes utterly frightening to hear Socrates speak so eloquently and intelligibly on what reads as good common sense of a cities justice, training, rule and protection that history has revealed as governmental experiments that were tried, tested, enforced, controlled and in turn, destroyed the chaotic, non-rational elements of creative value producing ability in human society. The results of such totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, all built on the seemingly rational and coherent science of common rule and radical equalitarianism have proved themselves horrendously disastrous.

Some examples are: the youth should be trained as soldiers for the city. All scripture, the stories of Homer and the gods, must be censored and altered to shine only a positive or molded light that conforms to the leaders decision. The leaders, while only those of older age would be qualified, would receive a life carefully censored, trained and observed from youth, and would supposedly then become completely wise as philosophers kings, and in this way cannot bring injustice to their rulership. In addition, all music, poetry, art is censored. People who need lifetime medical attention should not receive such and die, (their much better off this way!) as they are nonproductive to the growth and science of what constitutes an ideal and perfect city.

Socrates/Plato's descriptions of the two world view and the allegory of the cave are in themselves absolute masterpieces and have literally shaped Western civilization as we know it and are truly behind the majority of ideas and teachings we currently believe and are raised in.

Ultimately, I found Socrates argument on Philosophy verses Poetry amazing and understand why Nietzsche completely rebelled and attacked Socrates. I then venture to the East as in the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra and Osho's commentary on such, as in some of Krishnamurti, Buddha, Krishna, Mahriavara and the idea of something beyond the mind/Apollonian/head rationalism of Socrates and the heart/Dionysus/emotion irrationalism of Nietzsche. To Socrates the mind and reason are superior to the emotions and feelings. To Nietzsche it is in the realm of emotions, in the passions of irrationalism and the art of creativity where the superior strength of man exists. To the East it is neither, but the mind and heart act as instruments of something of a Higher realm, the Consciousness or the Self, which exists outside the mind. Here I will agree with all three modes of thought: that fundamentalism and one-sided truths are bogus and for lower and ignorant thinkers. However, it was Socrates who failed to understand the depth of significance in the irrational, while Nietzsche recognized the foolishness and stupidity of biblical literalism and morality codes based on fundamental reasoning.

The irrational is what molds the rational, while the rational chisels it's form. It's the passiveness of Yin and the tension of Yang, which when let go and surrender are simply the Tao.

The ending of the Republic is worth the read. It is here Socrates supports immortality of the soul and reincarnation and it's amazing how you can see this is the precursor of the bible. The last book or account is symbolic and mythological on the pattern of the universe, the same as the book of Revelation is in the bible with its judgments of the just and unjust and depiction of a heavenly Jerusalem. Socrates also speaks of the winner of a race receiving the crown and the idea of Tartarus, as repeated in the letters of St. Paul. The men who wrote the bible and decided it's cannon are no doubt imitating the Republic of Plato, not to mention Dante and others who were heavily influenced by this book. And what a book it is!

5-0 out of 5 stars Cornford translation is a work of genius
Cornford translates the meaning of Plato's argument, the language is clear and modern and conveys all the crucial material in the text. Allen Bloom's translation in contrast is literal, pedantic, and almost meaningless; it reads like a satire of the founding work of western thought.
Having read Republic in Greek, I can testify that the grammer, worldview, and conceptual universe of Greek is too different from English to allow literal translation--I made the mistake of assigning Bloom in my theory class and the students went out and bought other translations!!. Cornford is a brilliant expositor of Plato'
s metaphysics and epistemology and knows Plato's thoughtworld intimately--there is no translation that compares to the quality of his work. It is also a good read!

1-0 out of 5 stars Evil In Disguise
The seeds of Marxism were sown here and, hence, socialism and all its virulent forms, including communism, fascism, and nazism. ... Read more


7. Aristotle on Rhetoric: A Theory of Civil Discourse
by Aristotle, George A. Kennedy
list price: $26.95
our price: $26.95
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Asin: 0195064879
Catlog: Book (1991-08-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 81942
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The first new translation of Aristotle's Rhetoric in fifty years, based on careful study of the Greek text and informed by the best modern scholarship, this is the most faithful English version ever published of the book that first defined and organized the study of civic discourse along philosophical lines and still shapes the study of rhetoric and composition in modern times.Comprehensive introductory discussions, a detailed outline, extensive notes, and a glossary of Aristotle's rhetorical terms make the work readily accessible to modern students, while an appendix offers translations of relevant ancient texts and essays on the composition and history of the treatise, with an evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses.This book is essential for students and scholars of rhetoric, classics, politics, and philosophy. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Spare me the Anti-P.C.! Kennedy's translation is great!
I can't understand quite what it is about Kennedy's book that has so outraged the last reviewer("Spare me the PC!!",Dec. 26,'01). It can't be any real "PC" dogmatism;there's none in Kennedy's book. But take a look at the passage the anti-PC reviewer refers to,& judge for yourself:
"Two features of my translation may be worth pointing out in advance. ...[Here Kennedy discusses a feature that need not concern us now.]... A second feature is avoidance of some of the sexist language seen in older translations,which often speak of 'men' when Aristotle uses a more general plural. I have used *man* or *men* only in those few instances in which the word appears in the Greek; otherwise I use *someone*,*people*,or *they*. On the other hand,to alter Aristotle's many uses of *he*,*his*,or *him* in reference to speakers or members of a Greek assembly or jury would be unhistorical & involve an actual change in the text. Aristotle usually envisions only males as speaking in public; but he clearly did not think that rhetoric was a phenomenon limited to males...."
Now whether Kennedy considered this feature a "virtue" of his translation (as the anti-PC reviewer suggests) is debatable; but based on what I've quoted,Kennedy seems only to speak of it as one of two features "worth pointing out in advance".
Now what has so outraged the anti-PC reviewer? It's not as though Kennedy is translating Aristotle's use of the Greek words for *man* or *men* into gender-neutral English words. Kennedy explicitly says that he has *not* done so.
Kennedy is saying that wherever Aristotle uses a noun or pronoun (*other* than "man/men" or "he/him") that happens in Greek to be masculine in gender,even though there is no particular reason to think (and maybe even positive reason *not* to think) that Aristotle means to be referring exclusively to males,then in such cases (and,from what I understand,*only* in such cases) Kennedy uses a word that in English is gender-neutral,like "person/people" or "someone". Now there is no reason to get into a huff about this or think that Kennedy is constructing some barrier between us English readers & what Aristotle is actually saying. The neuter "gender" just wasn't used in Greek as a way to refer to a mixed group of males & females or as a way to refer to people without specific reference to their gender. The masculine "gendered" words were used for this purpose. This was just a fact about the language.
It's true that in English we sometimes oddly use a word like "guys" to refer to a mixed group of males & females or even to a group of women only,& we sometimes use a word like "he" to refer indefinitely to *someone*,male or female. But in English such cases aren't the norm. In fact,it's peculiar that the specific word "guys" *may* be used in the way I just mentioned,but the word "men" is *never* used in that way. And although "he/him" is,as I said,used with gender-indefinite reference,it's increasingly *not* the norm; these days we just as often see the words "he or she" or even "she" were we formerly found only "he". Now this is just a fact of our language,whether or not you agree that it is an improvement. (I haven't commented on the use of the suffix "-man",which is another matter that is fairly irrelevant here.)
So unless we think that Aristotle actually is referring exclusively to males every time he uses a noun or pronoun that happens in Greek to be masculine in gender,a translator is rather misrepresenting the Greek to translate,as a matter of course,these words into words that in English are obviously-and almost always,exclusively-masculine,like "man/men" & "he/him". Kennedy is simply trying to accurately represent in English a grammatical feature quite common to Greek words but rather rare in English.
I have made a big deal of a point that Kennedy only says was "worth pointing out". I've done this only to do better justice to Kennedy's translation which is quite an improvement over previous English translations.(Even *if* the anti-PC reviewer were justified in his/her characterization of Kennedy's attitude about gender,I don't see how the reviewer arrived at his/her one-star rating. Is this all the reviewer cares about in a translation? Or does he/she think that Kennedy's choice of "people" over "men" totally *ruins* an otherwise good translation?!)
The anti-PC reviewer has (apparently unwittingly) propagated the PC agenda by giving undue attention to what,for serious readers of Kennedy's translation,can be only marginally important.

1-0 out of 5 stars Spare me the P.C.!!
One would think that if anyone had an interest in not erecting artificial barriers to understanding the past, it would be classicists. How then to explain the introduction to George A. Kennedy's new edition of Aristotle's _Rhetoric_?

On page xii, Kennedy highlights his own "enlightenment" by noting that one of the "virtues" of his new translation is his avoidance of the "sexist" language featured in older translations. What does he mean by this? Earlier translators used "man" as a sex-neutral noun and various words ending with the suffix "-man" and its forms to translate the neuter gender, which exists in Greek but not in English.

This is nothing but stupidity, of course. Contrary to the myth propagated by feminists in the media, particularly in publishing, "-man" _is_ the sex-neutral ending, and it is only "-woman" that is sex-specific. English is like dozens of other Indo-European languages in using the same word for its masculine and its neuter forms; if people really wanted to get rid of sex-specific forms, they would eliminate "female" (which etymologically is a form of "male"), "woman" (a form of "man"), etc. What they really want to do, however, is to point to their own superior sensibility in a pharisaical way, simultaneously implicitly impugning everyone else (in Kennedy's case, all Aristotle scholars) who came before.

So, if you want a translation of Aristotle that is not marked by the latest P.C. foolishness, steer clear of this one. Obviously, however good his grasp of Greek in itself, Kennedy has neither the respect for his field nor the knowledge of linguistics one hopes for in a translator.

5-0 out of 5 stars The most scholarly & readily translation of the "Rhetorica"
Aristotle's treatise "On Rhetoric" has been the seminal work in the field since it was written. There is a very real sense in which there is nothing new under the sun since Aristotle's day, and that the rhetorical constructs of Burke, Toulmin and every other rhetorical theorist are simply Aristotle's concepts dressed up in new terms. Certainly no one has been as comprehensive in cataloguing all the available means of persuasion. The study of rhetoric begins in earnest with Aristotle's volume. While there are numerous translations of "On Rhetoric" available, this remarkable translation by George A. Kennedy is the one worth owning. Kennedy has studied classical rhetorical for over three decades and he brings his knowledge of what rhetoric meant in the time of Aristotle to his translation. By the time you get to the first sentence of this translation--"Rhetoric is an antisrophos to dialectic"--you have ample evidence that Kennedy is the ideal translator for this text. You will have gone through a Prooemion, an Introductory essay, a synopsis of the first three chapters of Book 1 before you get to that first sentence, which contains two footnotes detailing the contemporary meanings of "rhetoric" and "antistrophos." More than any other scholar to tackle this project, Kennedy is as well versed in the subject matter as he is the original language. Kennedy's translation also benefits from the fact that it is eminently readable.

Additionally, this volume includes only a glossary and bibliography, but two excellent appendixes. The first consists of Supplementary Texts: (A) Gorgias' "Encomium on Helen," the showcase speech by the leader of the Sophists; (B) Aristotle on "Art as an Intellectual Virtue" from his "Nicomachean Ethics"; (C) "An Introduction to Dialectic" from Aristotle's "Topics"; (D) Cicero's "Description of Aristotle's Synagoge Tekhnon"; (E) Aristotle on "Word Choice and Metaphor" from his "Poetics"; and (F) Kennedy's note on "The Concept of the Enthymeme as Understood in the Modern Period." The second appendix features three Supplementary Essays: (A) "The Composition of the 'Rhetoric'"; (B) "The History of the Text After Aristotle"; and (C) "The Strengths and Limitations of the 'Rhetoric.'" The supplemental works alone would make this the translation to own. Every teacher or student of rhetorical theory/criticism needs to own Kennedy's translation of Aristotle's "On Rhetoric."

4-0 out of 5 stars relevant even today!
Aristotle is amazing in his insight into the human nature. "Aristotle on rhetoric" focuses on what people like, how to talk to them, and how to act around them. However, be forewarned that the reading is not light, many hours can be spent on each chapter. If you are interested in finding out that people are the same today as they were in ancient Greece, read this book! ... Read more


8. A History of Western Philosophy : The Classical Mind, Volume I (History of Western Philosophy)
by W. T. Jones, Robert J. Fogelin
list price: $56.95
our price: $56.95
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Asin: 0155383124
Catlog: Book (1969-03-01)
Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing
Sales Rank: 281924
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars In the beginning...
This book, 'The Classical Mind', is the first volume of a five-volume series on the history of Western Philosophy by W.T. Jones, professor of philosophy in California. This series is a very strong, thorough introduction to the course of Western Philosophy, beginning at the dawn of the philosophical enterprise with the pre-Socratics in ancient Greece to the modern thinkers such as Wittgenstein and Sartre. It has grown, over the three decades or so of its publication, from one to four then to five volumes. It has remained a popular text, and could serve as the basis of a one-year survey of philosophy for undergraduates or a one-semester survey for graduate students. Even advanced students in philosophy will find this valuable, all major topics and most minor topics in the course of philosophy are covered in these volumes.

Jones states that there are two possible ways for a writer to organise a history of philosophy -- either by addressing everyone who ever participated in philosophy (which could become rather cumbersome if one accepts the premise that anyone could be a philosopher), or to address the major topics and currents of thought, drawing in the key figures who address them, but leaving out the lesser thinkers for students to pursue on their own. Jones has chosen the latter tactic, making sure to provide bibliographic information for this task.

This volume, 'The Classical mind', starts and ends in ancient Greece. Plato and Aristotle are well featured, to be sure, but the pre-Socratics and the post-Aristotilean thinkers are also discussed in great detail. The first chapter deals with a number of thinkers whose names are well-known to those who study the history of science as well as to philosophers -- Thales, Anaximander, Pythagoras -- showing the interconnection of disciplines that recurs again and again throughout history, but never again so closely as in these opening days of Western thought.

Jones gives a general history lesson along with the history of the development of thought so that the reader will understand the social and historical context in which ideas developed. Plato and Aristotle both came out a context in which Greece was a fairly violent place much of the time, with warring factions and city-states variously dependent upon and warring against each other.

The discussion of Plato largely deals with his theories of knowledge and metaphysics, with an additional chapter on subsequent topics such as ethics, politics, religion and art. Similiarly, Aristotle is dealt with in two chapters, with the major topics of metaphysics, logic, ethics, politics, aesthetics, and other issues addressed. At the end of each of these sections, Jones gives a general critique of the philosopher's main ideas, and in the final chapter of the book, sets the stage for further developments, particularly in terms of the decline of the Golden Age in Greece. In some regards, all subsequent Western philosophy vacilates between Plato and Aristotle, so a thorough grounding is important.

Each volume ends with a glossary of terms, and a worthwhile index. The glossary warns against short, dictionary-style definitions and answers to broad terms and questions, and thus indicates the pages index-style to the discussion within the text for further context. The one wish I would have would be a comprehesive glossary and index that covers the several volumes; as it is, each volume has only its own referents.

This is minor criticism in a generally exceptional series. It is not easy text, but it is not needlessly difficult. The print size on the direct quotes, which are sometimes lengthy, can be a strain at times, but the reading is worthwhile.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Textbook
W. T. Jones' first volume, The Classical Mind, is a fantastic introduction for studying ancient philosophy. His work is fairly clear and not very difficult in terms of being able to understand his explication of various philosophers and theories. That is, Jones does not write to other philosophers; he is writing to would-be philosophers or students. Jones considers important aspects such as the timing and events surrounding the philosophical theories in order to demonstrate that these ideas do not develop ex nihilo. They arise because of important questions or issues developed in the relevant cultures.

This work covers quite a few people. Of course, it is not exhaustive on every thinker; nor is such even possible since many of the writings of people like the pre-socratics do not exist beyond a few manuscripts. In any case, Jones starts with them (specificaly Homer and Hesiod), through Thales, to Plato, to Aristotle, and up to the skeptics (e.g., Carneades and Sextus). From time to time, Jones will comment upon some of the positive and negative (or implausible) aspects of each of the theories provided. Sometimes his objections are good; other times, they can be answered. For instance, Jones treats Plato's argument for the Forms as a transcendental argument and he applies Stephan Korner's uniquness argument against Plato (c.f. Korner, "The Impossibility of Transcendental Deductions"). Jones doesn't refer to Korner, but it is the same point. I think Plato could *in principle* answer Jones.

There are a couple areas where I think that Jones has misinterpreted some of the early thinkers. For instance, Jones treats Aristotle as only holding to the intellectual virtues as being eudaimonia (for an alternative view, see Cooper, John M. "Reason and Human Good in Aristotle"). Also, Jones gives a traditional analysis of Parmenides. Patricia Curd offers an alternative analysis in "The Legacy of Parmenides." Both of these thinkers challenge the traditional views that Jones sides with. In any case, that's a head's up for readers who have not done exhaustive reading on these philosophers; just something to keep in mind when reading Jones.

Finally, I think that Jones often uses far too long of quotes from other people. At one point, he quoted Plato for an entire three pages (8 size font!). Jones could have summarized the point and added a footnote. Nevertheless, this is a great textbook for studying ancient philosophy and it deserves five stars despite my harsh disapproval of some of his analyses and writing style :)

5-0 out of 5 stars For the Truly Inquiring Mind
The history of ideas should be of interest to every person, but that is an ideal impossible to realize. But for the person who is reasonably interested in becoming acquainted with that history from someone who has told it in a comprehensive, critical, and clear manner, Dr. Jones is the best teller of that story I know of. Volume II of the first hardbound edition was an assigned text for a class I was taking at the University of California, Riverside. I immediately purchased the first volume because I found Dr. Jone's writing informative and clear. He uses original sources liberally, and his organization and elucidation of the topic at hand are superb.

I once had the privilege of meeting the author when my daughter was in his class at CAL-TECH (He was at Pomona College when I first became acquainted with his work.) He expressed an interest in talking with me further, and I was delighted with the idea of going back and purusing that conversation, but I let the opportunity slip away. At the time I had completed a master's in psychology and was pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology while serving as a clergyman in a parish and teaching two classes in psychology in a community college. I regret not being able to squeeze out the time to folow up on his invitation.

I have seen no other discussion of the history of Western Philosophy so worthwhile owning and reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars clear, very clear
a great text by an authority if there ever was one, on ancient thought. there isn't much else to say about this one. if you're going to study ancient philosophy, use this text.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview
Agreed! This is by far the best general history of philosophy I know, making ample use of primary texts and thus providing much substance, but also bringing out main themes and establishing logical connections clearly for the reader. It was useful for me in college 20 years ago and is more useful now in rereading as I pursue my philosophy PhD. ... Read more


9. The Cambridge Companion to the Stoics (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy)
list price: $25.99
our price: $25.99
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Asin: 0521779855
Catlog: Book (2003-05-05)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 62332
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Book Description

This volume offers an odyssey through the ideas of the Stoics in three ways: through the historical trajectory of the school itself and its influence; the recovery of the history of Stoic thought; and finally, the ongoing confrontation with Stoicism.The study demonstrates how Stoicism refines philosophical traditions, challenges the imagination, and ultimately defines the kind of life one chooses to lead. Advanced students and specialists will discover a conspectus of developments in this interpretation of the Stoics and new readers will be drawn to its accessibility. ... Read more


10. The Emperor's Handbook: A New Translation of The Meditations
by Marcus Aurelius
list price: $20.00
our price: $13.60
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Asin: 0743233832
Catlog: Book (2002-11-26)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 10658
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

BEAR IN MIND THAT THE
MEASURE OF A MAN IS THE WORTH OF THE THINGS HE CARES ABOUT.

IF IT IS GOOD TO SAY OR DO
SOMETHING, THEN IT IS
EVEN BETTER TO BE CRITICIZED FOR
HAVING SAID OR DONE IT.

ARE MY GUIDING PRINCIPLES
HEALTHY AND ROBUST? ON THIS HANGS EVERYTHING.

Essayist Matthew Arnold described the man who wrote these words as "the most beautiful figure in history." Possibly so, but he was certainly more than that. Marcus Aurelius ruled the Roman Empire at its height, yet he remained untainted by the incalculable wealth and absolute power that had corrupted many of his predecessors. Marcus knew the secret of how to live the good life amid trying and often catastrophic circumstances, of how to find happiness and peace when surrounded by misery and turmoil, and of how to choose the harder right over the easier wrong without apparent regard for self-interest.

The historian Michael Grant praises Marcus's book as "the best ever written by a major ruler," and Josiah Bunting, superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, calls it "the essential book on character, leadership, duty." Never intended for publication, the Meditations contains the practical and inspiring wisdom by which this remarkable emperor lived the life not of a saintly recluse, but of a general, administrator, legislator, spouse, parent, and judge besieged on all sides.

The Emperor's Handbook offers a vivid and fresh translation of this important piece of ancient literature. It brings Marcus's words to life and shows his wisdom to be as relevant today as it was in the second century. This book belongs on the desk and in the briefcase of every business executive, political leader, and military officer. It speaks to the soul of anyone who has ever exercised authority or faced adversity or believed in a better day. ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book & Translation
This is proabbaly among the best western philsoophy books there is. Most western philosophers are very boring and go on and on and on, but Marcus Aurelius's Meditations is different. It is to the point and is very fascinating (although I didn't care much for most of the first few chapters).

And this translation is outstanding--it is far superior to any of the others I have seen.

I definitely recommend this book & translation.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Guidebook to a Harmonious Life
Although written almost 2000 years ago, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius remains one of the best and most practical books ever written. If you are seeking a guidebook to a harmonious life under any circumstances, this book is the best investment you could ever make. This is an excellent translation that is timely and fluid. Some of these ideas make appearances in popular self-help books from time to time, but no one can match the force of the entire work. You can read it straight through, or open to a random page for insights on a daily basis. I'm giving a copy to my son for his 12th birthday.

5-0 out of 5 stars A source of inspiration
"What is its individual make-up? Its essence, form, and matter?..
(Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VIII, 11)
I recall when I had in-class Greek examinations, and we were asked to translate quotes of Marcus Aurelius chosen at random. Chance did let me encounter this verse a few times, and each time I did put more effort finalized in the understanding and expression of meanings implied in these straightforward questions.
The greatness of this work could best be found in its brevity and simplicity. The plain style, and the naturalness of writing are persuasive. The moral truths that Marcus Aurelius had accepted in the past, and that much had enlightened his being both an emperor and a conflictual human-being, have been transposed in memorable form. Marcus Aurelius'soliloquy and self-analysis are a great spiritual exercise. As such, the book is an exhortation to think and meditate, and it is especially addressed to those who hold the power, and are in charge of other people who stand for them. The dynamics of leadership haven't changed in the millenia: [Yet] I ask myself if today's leaders are driven and inspired by such honesty of intents?!

Marcus Aurelius had been influenced by the work of Epictetus. Both belong to the late Stoicism: A period that didn't produce anything of original. In this viewpoint, it could be argued that "the Meditations" were a moral set of catchphrases of the earlier Stoa. As such, this work doesn't bring any novelty neither in physics, nor in logics, and ethics, or epistemology. It could also be argued that Marcus Aurelius was not a philosopher at all, but rather a self-disciplined and very well-educated man and leader. He didn't produce these chapters neither for a vast audience nor for publication. Things are best remembered when written down. As such, the emperor wrote expressions of his thought, and read them again and again to himself. I believe that this discipline much helped him to find the strength and willpower necessary to face enemies outside (and inside) Rome, and the destiny of the antiquity's greatest empire.

The "Meditations" are therefore a powerful and elightening work of self-analysis and virtues' devotion. Although it does not add anything new to the phylosophical Zeitgeist, it can be argued that -- on the contrary, both brevity and simplicity, are here best expressed with a plain, natural, and unpretentious style. Such lack of redundant embellishments make this work a duly inspiring masterwork.

This version is a very solid and contemporary transposition of Marcus Aurelius'notes. Both mastery and choice of terms are remarkable. Not only the Hicks have captured the essence and clarity of the emperor's thought and affection, but also have given him fresh and renewed life and recognition.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Masterful Translation of a Masterpiece
The Hicks brothers' collaboration has produced a masterful translation of a masterpiece. "The Emperor's Handbook" captures the sublime essence and ancient character of "The Meditations" but never strays into the arcane terminology of the ancient Stoics. The Hicks brothers also avoid the forced and complex grammatical constructs found in other translations. This translation could easily be understood by a sixth grade child yet it sacrifices none of the profound meaning or prosaic beauty of the original. Most refreshing is the absence of any effort to turn the work into some New-Age mystical revelation.

Having read about nine translations I must say, this one is, by far, the best contemporary English translation available. There are other fine ones such as the work by Hard and Gill or even the Loeb Classics version but they are better suited for people already familiar with Marcus Aurelius and Stoic philosophy.

My warmest thanks go out to David and Scot Hicks for a work that I hope will broaden the audience of Marcus Aurelius.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE BEST !
I have read several translations of this great work..and without a doubt this is the finest available. What makes this the best is its ability to seem both classical and modern at the same time..in other words its not overly stuffy--nor is it distorted into "New Age" drivle. Don't think twice about buying this..you won't be dissapointed. ... Read more


11. Stolen Legacy
by George G. M. James
list price: $12.95
our price: $11.01
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Asin: 0913543780
Catlog: Book (2002-04-01)
Publisher: African American Images
Sales Rank: 117596
Average Customer Review: 2.81 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Challenging the notion that civilization started in Greece, this uncompromising classic attempts to prove that the true authors of Greek philosophy were not Greeks but Egyptians. The text asserts that the praise and honor blindly given to the Greeks for centuries rightfully belong to the people of Africa, and argues that the theft of this great African legacy led to the erroneous world opinion that the African continent has made no contribution to civilization. Quoting such celebrated Greek scholars as Herodotus, Hippocrates, Aristotle, Thales, and Pythagoras, who admit to the influence of Egyptian studies in their work, this edition sheds new light on traditional philosophical and historical thought. Originally published in 1954, this book features a new introduction. ... Read more

Reviews (58)

4-0 out of 5 stars An important book, regardless of its faults
Any book that can render this kind of reaction by intellectuals and regular folk alike should be on everyone's reading list. In today's culture of complaint, people hide bad art and cheap sensational ideas behind political/ideological fads and the automatic public reactions to their support or refutation all the time. Yet even with a healthy skepticism firmly in place, one must look at the thought provoking questions that this book demands are asked--and the near automatic visceral emotions that seem to go with them.

I read this book several years ago in college. Though I didn't particularly like the preachy style, or much of the rhetoric seemingly impossible to prove scientifically, it successfully started me on an intellectual journey through a plethora of Egyptological authors of the past two centuries and a spiritual awakening. This book, I am reminded, has such power, because it raises more uncomfortable questions than it answers.

Before or even after an opinion of this work has become set in stone in one's mind (usually inspired by an emotional knee-jerk reaction, as if the book is little more than a political metaphor and not an attempt to rediscover the actual ancient world) one must ask themselves, as I was again forced to upon re-reading it:

Have you actually READ the book?

Have you read inki_snkm@yahoo.com's review of this yet (June 29, 1998)? Were you aware of the facts he brings to light and refers to- more importantly, the intellectual paradigms he used to formulate his opinions, as those are (linguistics specifically)part and parcel of the methods, principles and practices of all Western scholars?

Why do you think all architecture schools across all of Western civilization throughout the centuries to today begin their students' studies with the Pyramids?

Have you seen the pyramids of the Sudan and Nubia, some predating those of Giza, recently unearthed by German archaeological teams?

And what do you think our Founding Fathers (Washington, Jefferson, et al) would have thought of such a work (and think of the back of the dollar bill before you answer)?

This book, even with the sermon-like fault of its structure (which says as much about when it was written--and what it took for someone with these kinds of ideas to be published at the time--as the author) remains powerful and influential because of the degree to which it wrestles and answers these kinds of questions. STOLEN LAGACY has its faults, but its ability to make you think, whether you want to or not, isn't one of them.

Definitiely worth reading; also worth owning...and continually argued about.

3-0 out of 5 stars More important for the questions it raises than answers
Any book that can render this kind of reaction by intellectuals and regular folk alike should be on everyone's reading list. Even in today's polemical culture of complaint, where people hide bad art and cheap sensational ideas behind political/ideological fads or automatic public reactions to their support or refutation, one must look at the thought provoking questions that this book arises- and the near automatic emotions that go with them. I read this book several years ago in college. Though I didn't particularly like the preachy style, it successfully started me on an intellectual journey through a plethora of authors of the past two centuries and a spiritual awakening. This book, I am reminded, has such power, because it raises more uncomfortable questions than it answers. In the spirit of such work, the raison detre of all scholarship, I'd like to ask all others past, present and future who have or plan to review this book: have you read inki_snkm@yahoo.com's review of this yet? Were you aware of the facts he brings to light and refers to- more importantly, the intellectual paradigms he used to formulate his opinions, as those are (linguistics specifically)part and parcel of the methods, principles and practices of all Western scholars? Why do you think all architecture schools across all of Western civilization through the centuries to today begin their students' studies with the Pyramids? Have you seen the pyramids of the Sudan and Nubia, some predating those of Giza, recently unearthed by German archaeological teams? And what do you think our Founding Fathers (Washington, Jefferson, et al) would have thought of such a work (and think of the back of the dollar bill before you answer)?

1-0 out of 5 stars Horrific
This book is terrible and is based on zero fact and offers zero hard evidence. First of, Egyptians are not and never were, black. They are and always have been a Mediterranean people and were always described as such, especially by Roman writers like Manilius. Herodotus never said the Egyptians were black like Ethiopians, he said the Egyptians were as dark as the Colchians, a race living in Caucasia. He used a Greek word that in that context meant "dark" not "black" as propagated by racist black Afrocentrists who feel their history gives them nothing to be proud of and thus feel the need to steal the history of the Egyptian and Greek and Hebrew peoples. That is the real "stolen legacy". Besides, if Egyptians were black and weere supposedly lighter than Arabs then why did they always portray themselves as lighter than Nubians, why do Egyptian mummies have pure Caucasian characteristics and why do Egyptians have lighter skin and more Caucasian features than Gulf Arabs and Berbers? A real appalling book, GReece and Egypt are two different Mediterranean civilizations that influenced each other, helped each other out, and embraced each other. Afrocentrism is a plague to science and it would do well to drop dead.

1-0 out of 5 stars Pseudo-History at it's best
As a long time researcher of Masonic history it is clear where this work "stole" it's bad ideas--they are ultimately derived from Terrason's _Life of Sethos_ (although Jame's probably did NOT go back this far, his sources are some fictional Masonic works like _The Ancient Mysteries and Modern Masonry_). If you can get a copy of "Sethos" read the 1732 english edition (otherwise you'll have to read it in French).

It is clearly fictional and largely an artifact of the post-Napoleonic Egyptian craze. Of course this was long before hieroglyphics were even translated. Anyone, even knowing a basic history of the ancient world, would have to be insane to take this seriously. It is completely transparent today as simple racism and a desperate need for self-esteem--at the expense of others. Thus the only thing "classic" about this is it is a classic document of pseudohistory and African-American racism.

4-0 out of 5 stars African Philosophy
This book is a must read !!!!!!!!! The only minor weakness in the book is its preachy style. Nevertheless, this book is great for high school research papers and accurate knowledge of black (African) civilization. ... Read more


12. From Socrates to Sartre : The Philosophic Quest
by T.Z. LAVINE
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
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Asin: 0553251619
Catlog: Book (1985-02-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 86596
Average Customer Review: 4.12 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From Socrates To Satre presents a rousing and readable introduction to the lives, and times of the great philosophers. This thought-provoking book takes us from the inception of Western society Plato's Athens to today when the commanding power of Marxism has captured one third of the world. T.Z. Lavine, Elton Professor of Philosophy at George Washington University, makes philosophy come alive with astonishing clarity to give us a deeper, more meaningful understanding of ourselves and our times. From Socrates To Satire discusses Western philosophers in terms of the historical and intellectual environment which influenced them, and it connects their lasting ideas to the public and private choices we face in America today From Socrates To Satre formed the basis for the PBS television series of the same name. ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars history of philosophy which breeds armchair philosophers
Lavine's survey of philosophy, "From Socrates to Sartre: The Philosophic Quest," is wonderfully successful at many things. First of all, it lets a new reader, who has never dabbled in philosophy, learn what the classical thinkers have thought. Much of the true philosophical works out there, from Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason" to Sartre's "Being and Nothingness," are quite dense and almost incomprehensible to even a well read reader. Lavine does a splendid job of taking these huge works and condensing them for the reader, expressing the main points. However one should not think that I am insinuating that this is a "dumbed down" book of philosophy, not by any means. Lavine respects her reader's intelligence and lets it grow through taking very abstract philosophical ideas from centuries ago and making them very practical today. Lavine also successfully shows the reader that no philospher, not Plato, Descartes, Hume, Hegel, Marx, nor Sartre, was successful in devising a philosophy that withstood criticism. Lavine shows the reader the holes in each philosophy. More importantly, however, is Lavine mangages to make the reader think for themselves about what their personal philosophy is, and how it affects their lives. I never thought of myself as I great thinker before reading this book, but afterwords I am armed with the ideas and the conundrums to debate with any other armchair philosopher. This book makes a great introduction to philosophy while still teaching very specific ideas of each philosopher. A wonderful book

4-0 out of 5 stars Take the book for what it is
This is a nice little book that examines metaphysics (the philosophy of reality) by a cursory examination of six philosophers. This is not an all-encompassing book on world philosophy (no attention is paid to non-western thought) nor is it an in depth examination of any one school of thought or a particular philospher. This book is an introduction to a segment of philosophy and should be evaluated on that basis.

Thelma Lavine does a nice job of putting the various philosphers (Plato, Descartes, Hume, Hegel, Marx, Sartre) in their historic context; of concisely outlining their major contributions to the advancement of philosophic thought; and then summarizing the critics of each.

What I like about the book is the ability to read it in segments. I started with Descartes then went back to Plato skipped ahead to Sartre and then back to Hume ignoring Marx altogether (not that Marx is unimportant, but I felt that I was already pretty well versed in Marxist thought.) Thanks to this book I am now interested in a more in depth exploration of existentialism and am anxious to delve into the source materials. I feel that I now have a context to read Nausea or the Stranger and hopefully, I will get more out of them with this background.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very good introduction...
Being philosophy one of my main interests , I have read several introductory books, and this book is , in my humble opinion, one of the best around. It explains in very clear fashion all the concepts and theories and keeps going back to them so that you are always in contact with the main issues presented in the book.
On the other hand , I just love the style and the well balanced way in which Prof. Lavine presents and discusses every topic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Good
I just read this book in class, and all I can say is that it is very comprehensive. Also the transitions between these philosopies is nearly flawless, and the explanations, though are simple, fully cover the philosophies main ideas. I enjoyed it very much.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Intro on Western Philosophy
This book is a great introduction to philosophy. I will even go as far as to say it's the best introductory book I have ever read. The book expounds on concepts that are made more difficult than they should be with other so-called introductory books on philosophy, and makes them easy to understand.

For the first time in my life, I can honestly say I understand the concept of metaphysics and have a good grounding on it. As other reviewers have pointed out, the book is a little bit outdated because it was written a couple of decades ago, but its ease of understanding and very clear prose are what make it worthwhile.

I would highly recommend this book for those who consider themselves laymen as well as for students and those more advanced in philosophy (who are few and far between). ... Read more


13. Enchiridion
by Epictetus, George Long
list price: $7.00
our price: $6.30
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Asin: 0879757035
Catlog: Book (1955-01-01)
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Sales Rank: 15621
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Life Manual
Epictetus' "Enchiridion" is a short book that is long on timeless, practical lessons for living a life of contentment and productivity. This "manual" was not the easiest book to read, but once I got comfortable with the dated and sometimes awkward language, I found the book tough to put down. I believe the lessons contained in this book take moments to learn and understand, but require a lifetime to master. I highly recommend this powerful book to anyone interested in seeing how the thoughts of one of mankind's greatest philosophers apply to life today.

"Enchiridion" is organized into 52 descriptive paragraphs (chapters) that are considered the highlights of Epictetus' documented philosophical teachings. Each paragraph presented common life situations and describes how one should think and act about them.

The opening lesson introduced the practice of recognizing those things in life that are and are not in our power. Those things in our power, described as, "such great things... through which alone happiness and freedom are secured,..." are our own acts, like opinion, desire, moving towards and turning from a thing. Those things not in our power, described as being slavish, subject to restraint, and in the power of others, are our bodies, property, reputation, and jobs or careers. This lesson concluded with focusing on those things within our power, and not being concerned about what is not in our power.

The other great comforting lesson for me was, "Remember that thou art an actor in a play of such a kind as the teacher (author) may choose; if short, of a short one; if long, of a long one: if he wishes you to act the part of a poor man, see that you act the part naturally; if the part of a lame man, of a magistrate, of a private person, (do the same). For this is your duty, to act well the part that is given to you; but to select the part, belongs to another."

The pages of this thin book are pregnant with meaning, insights, and wisdom, and I believe it is a very positive influence in my life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Terse and Poignant Stoicism
This short book is a gem of Stoic philosophy, whose origin is the ancient Greece, but whose most powerful expression is achieved in the Roman Empire at the time when it was already on the decline. Epictetus gives us terse and to the point Stoicism--a philosophy of unperturbed mind and calm rationality. The book is written aphoristically, yet it is a smooth read. You can also clearly see similarities between the Stoic and Christian world views after you read this book. I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exemplary work by my dear Master
This work by Epictetus is very dear to all lovers of God. Epictetus is dear because he is kind, compassionate and most of all moderate in his urgings. The translation is wonderful and every word must be taken by heart.

Sentences describing the nature of evil as a mark is not kept so that we may miss it are somewhat abstruse and metaphysical, but would be loved by the intellectual.

That Socrates was dear to Epictetus is an added bonus. Like Emerson says "What is philosophy, Plato. And what is Plato, philosophy". And Plato being a disciple of Socrates and described Socrates's teachings in his works. Epictetus entreaties to our soul is surely Eastern in its approach and raw and less scientific [exciting to a lover of the Original Creator].

Since the original work is all Greek to me [;-)], the translation is the only pointer to the wonderful treasure by the Master, a son of God!

4-0 out of 5 stars Puzzled
After reading Epictetus's book of life, I'm a bit confounded. Essentially, I expected something along the lines of Marcus Aurelius and the general Stoic flavor: sustine et abstine (yes, I know these are Epictetus's own words), a dry and dispassionate "faith", constant struggle with passions etc. But, the overall impression is quite different from the expected: Epictetus's worldview seems to be a rather disjointed "unity" of at least two visions of the life and nature. One is "Stoic by the book" mindset: apathia, commiseration, general humanism and cosmopolitanism, heroic struggle with baser aspects of the self and similar stuff. But, it seems to me that virtually all scholars have overlooked another, actually dominant strain: the monotheistic mysticism similar to the vision of the Corpus Hermeticum. Ecstatic utterences of Epictetus, his fiery devotion to God, his deep conviction that immortal part of anyone's being will after death enjoy the company of the Good that is God; daimon or genius (Guardian spirit)- not unlike Upanishadic Atman or Hermetic Nous, the vision of the world like banquet or festival- all this points to, one might call it, "optimistic Gnosis". In short, I have found that the most powerful part of Epictetus work bears more similarity with sayings of Christian and Sufi mystics, or the Hermetic-Gnostic exuberant call "Ye are gods" - than with dry Seneca's admonitions or frequently cold wisdom of Marcus Aurelius. Probably it depends on one's temperament which face of Janus-like Epictetus will appear to be his true stance: the quintessentially Stoic sober and humane ethicist or the intoxicated, almost Upanishadic mystic who rapturously affirms both God and world. Since we are, willy-nilly, eclectics by temperament and general disposition, I suspect that Epictetus had been one of us- swinging between "yea" and "nay" to our earthly Odyssey.

5-0 out of 5 stars Timeless, concentrated motivational slingshot
In this brief work of Stoic philosphy, Epictetus offers up good advice that's as relevant for the contemporary reader as it was for the ancient Roman.
A lot of what is covered here may strike one as obvious: Don't dwell on what isn't in your power to change, and don't neglect what is; Consider the consequences of potential actions; Don't let verbal abuse get you down; Speak only when you have something to say, and when you are fairly certain that you know what you are talking about.
On the other hand, some of the wise opinions expressed are either rarely a part of contemporary discourse, or are unfashionable and contradict today's commonly held beliefs. For example, Epictetus stresses taking responsibility for one's own actions and refraining from blaming one's problems on external causes. While I agree to a certain extant that many personal problems are exacerbated by societal pressures, straight-talking wisdom such as that in this book (along with the fact that an ability to apprehend non-physical social control mechanisms implies at least some independence from them) reminds us that, ultimately, we are masters of our own destinies in more ways than we often realize. This assertion is reinforced by urging the reader to accept those things which are inevitable without pointlessly judging whether they are good or bad. This may strike some readers as fatalistic acceptance of the status quo, but I think Epictetus makes it abundantly clear that we should carefully consider whether or not something is within our power and vigorously seize upon it if it is.
Moderation and a measure of detachment where it is advantageous are other themes. Epictetus advises simplicity in living and avoidance of ambition to the superficial, especially at the expense of what truly makes life worthwhile: Timely advice for our greedy, plastic, pre-fab culture.
While there are culturally specific curiosities here and there, this book is surprisingly relevant throughout. The fact that this volume is short and to the point should make it easy to fit into any busy schedule. In today's climate of whiny victimhood and a herd mentality across the political spectrum, it's more important than ever to cultivate an independent mind that can cut through the mind-numbing Spectacle and "lay hold of the thing by that handle by which it can be borne." ... Read more


14. Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea : Why the Greeks Matter (Hinges of History)
by THOMAS CAHILL
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385495544
Catlog: Book (2004-07-27)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 9161
Average Customer Review: 2.95 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the fourth volume of the acclaimed Hinges of History series, Thomas Cahill brings his characteristic wit and style to a fascinating tour of ancient Greece.
The Greeks invented everything from Western warfare to mystical prayer, from logic to statecraft. Many of their achievements, particularly in art and philosophy, are widely celebrated; other important innovations and accomplishments, however, are unknown or underappreciated. In Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea, Thomas Cahill explores the legacy, good and bad, of the ancient Greeks. From the origins of Greek culture in the migrations of armed Indo-European tribes into Attica and the Peloponnesian peninsula, to the formation of the city-states, to the birth of Western literature, poetry, drama, philosophy, art, and architecture, Cahill makes the distant past relevant to the present.
Greek society is one of the two primeval influences on the Western world: While Jews gave us our value system, the Greeks set the foundation and framework for our intellectual lives. They are responsible for our vocabulary, our logic, and our entire system of categorization. They provided the intellectual tools we bring to bear on problems in philosophy, mathematics, medicine, physics, and the other sciences. Their modes of thinking, considered in classical times to be the pinnacle of human achievement, are largely responsible for the shape that the Christian religion took. But, as Cahill points out, the Greeks left a less appealing bequest as well. They created Western militarism and, in making the warrior the ultimate ideal, perpetrated the assumption that only males could be entrusted with the duties of citizenship. The consequences of their exclusion of women from the political sphere and the social segregation of the sexes continue to reverberate today. Full of surprising, often controversial, insights, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea is a remarkable intellectual adventure—conducted by the most companionable guide imaginable. Cahill’s knowledge of his sources is so intimate that he has made his own fresh translations of the Greek lyric poets for this volume.

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Reviews (22)

3-0 out of 5 stars A thesaurus of terms and theories
A rollicking journey through time and culture. Cahill follows the taproot of Western Civilization from today through the Enlightenment to ancient Greece. The tree is comprised of branches on how to make war, what is valuable in literature, the arts, philosophy and religion. It was the Greeks, through Enlightenment thinkers, who provided the seeds of American democratic ideals. Cahill's irreverent prose, hopefully shocking to some, reads like a sophomoric rebellion against his Jesuit mentors. Sex plays a major role in nearly every aspect of Greek society [and what's novel about that?] and Cahill delves into it with gusto. Even here, the Greeks seem to have shown more restraint than Cahill.

Cahill is always a challenging and invigorating read. He holds your attention through dazzling prose and iconoclastic concepts. By dividing the book conceptually instead of simply chronologically, you are given time to pause and reflect on his ideas. For a man relating history, Cahill projects unrelaistic modern values to ancient times. He deems the Greeks "classicist, racist and sexist". Yet these modern terms would puzzle any Greek of the period. He extols their intellectual accomplishments without inquiring how the leisure time to pursue these hobbies was achieved. Slavery was the labour-saving device of the day. No-one then challenged its existence, why does Cahill do so now? Slavery and division of resources bred a social hierarchy allowing the arts to flourish and democracy to evolve. Only anarchy and pure communism can do otherwise - neither lead to arts or stable rule. To call the Greeks "sexist" while admiring their presentation of the human form, whether male or female, seems a bit thin. Given his presentation of goddesses, muses, and Sappho herself, his stance is almost false.

Cahill's title is interesting in view of how little attention he gives the Greek empire. Their forays around the Mediterranean are but sketchily noted. Greek settlement on Sicily is mentioned, but little else. There is allusion of cultural imports from Egypt, but these might have been obtained from Egyptians or Levant peoples bringing them in as much as the Greeks seeking innovation from outside. The focus here is Athens, almost to the point of exclusion of the remainder of Greece. Sparta's militarism is touched on in contrast to the more democratic and urbane Athens. 'How Greek was Macedonia?', Cahill enquires, then dismisses the question. Yet, it was Macedonia's Alexander, as Cahill himself notes, who extended the "Greek Ideal" further afield than the Athenians could envision.

If the reader can recognise that this book can only represent a small step toward understanding ancient societies, particularly that of the Greeks, then this book may be considered a good start. Although sprinkled with notes, coyly marked with Greek letters instead of numbers or asterisks, this is hardly a scholarly effort. The use and definition of Greek words that migrated into other European languages is useful, but tedious to transcribe. It's not clear why the Greek alphabet is included, but the Pronouncing Glossary is truly only a recapitulation of the "cast of characters" for which the Index could suffice. The Notes and Sources are a good reading list, focussing on recent works where possible. There is no discussion of contending ideas among scholars studying the period here or in the text. A collection of photos enhances and expands on some of the text, and the one map is useful if you don't have an atlas. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Accessible History
Thomas Cahill's Hinges of History series has illuminated several corners of history for the general reader, from medieval Ireland to the development of Judaism and Christianity. Now Cahill has turned to the ancient Greeks to demonstrate why they are important today.

In a series of several chapters written in scholarly yet accessible to the general reader style, Cahill skillfully dissects Greek history, philosophy, drama, and morality. He shows us the Greek origins of many of our ideas about government, literature, and art, and ends with a chapter that demonstrates the intersections between the Greeks and the Judeo-Christian ideas which came to dominate so much of the world. Like the other volumes in this series, Sailing the Wine Dark Sea will entertain and inform.

5-0 out of 5 stars Putting it all together
I was surprised by the relatively cool evaluations of this book! I have a bushel of fragments about Greek civilization beginning with Durant's Life of Greece in the eighth grade, but Cahill has sorted my fragments into a coherent mosaic which also brings it into the perspective of contemporary life. How many references I have in my "bushel" to Pericles's Funeral Oration, but why had I never read it complete, and freshly translated? Thank you, Mr. Cahill!

3-0 out of 5 stars The Author Could Do a Lot better
I first read Thomas Cahill's book "How The Irish Saved Civilization" and I was very disappointed. I was very impressed with the author's knowledge of Greek and Roman history but thought that the book was weak, and in fact most of the book supposedly on Ireland was about Greek writings, etc.

So when I heard about this book I was quite interested in the book. He knows a lot of history and is well qualified but the book (again) seemed to be done under some sort of time constraint or deadline and seem to lack depth. I would be really impressed if he could sit down and put together a proper book on the subject of Greek and Roman history, maybe 600-800 pages long, and not have a series of these short "gimmick" books.

So I think it is just 3 stars.

My humble opinion.

Jack in Toronto

3-0 out of 5 stars Why this book might matter
This book serves, as one must suppose Cahill intended it to do, as an intriguing introduction to the culture of the Ancient Greeks and their continuing influence upon Western society. Cahill's choice of wording tends to jar at times: "yip-yapping" and "woo-woo wave" for example. He rather goes over the top in trying to make this book as "cool" as possible. And his quotations from Yeats and others throughout the book presume a level of cultivation with which this cutesy verbiage is at odds. Still, one could do much worse. He manages to convey, at times, forcefully, some of the most significant and powerful currents of Greek art, thought and culture. But, in the end, the best way to learn about the Greeks is from the Greeks: Thucydides, Plato Euripides etc. If this book piques your interest at all, I would recommend picking up any one of the fine translations of these authors' works. If not, well, I suppose it's all Greek to you. ... Read more


15. The Therapy of Desire
by Martha C. Nussbaum
list price: $27.95
our price: $27.95
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Asin: 0691000522
Catlog: Book (1996-02-16)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 109151
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Epicureans, Skeptics, and Stoics practiced philosophy not as a detached intellectual discipline, but as a worldly art of grappling with issues of daily and urgent human significance: the fear of death, love and sexuality, anger and aggression. Like medicine, philosophy to them was a rigorous science aimed both at understanding and at producing the flourishing of human life. In this engaging book, Martha Nussbaum examines texts of philosophers committed to a therapeutic paradigm--including Epicurus, Lucretius, Sextus Empiricus, Chrysippus, and Seneca--and recovers a valuable source for our moral and political thought of today. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars A good textbook, but more moving
In "The Fragility of Goodness," Nussbaum structured a good introduction to Greek philosophy around a notion that had started to get attention in philosophy (thanks to Bernard Williams and Robert Nozick especially): moral luck. If we hope our acts will bring happiness, what does it say of virtue if events and attachments can bring ruin? If morality lies in our choice or character, what does it say if good people, as in Greek tragedy, are driven to terrible acts?

"The Therapy of Desire" extends the argument in two ways. First, it focuses on the part of our vulnerability we ordinarily think of as within: our attachments to ourselves and to others, with the intense emotions of anger and love these entail. Second, it moves past the major works of Plato and Aristotle to the Stoics, Skeptics, and Epicureans. For that alone, it may well be a more useful book. She writes very clearly indeed, making the arguments of each credible, and the arrangement by school and thematic approach make it easier to follow than such well-known surveys as Annas's "Morality of Happiness," even as she responds to each one in her own way.

She continues, as in the previous book, to argue that both her themes and Greek thought forbid a separation of philosophy from literary writing (a notion that sounds contemporary now, too, with Derrida and others), and so she gives much space to Lucretius (whereas others stick to the fragments of strictly philosophical writings that are left us). It made me read him. She also again makes the case that post-Classical philosophy, concerned with moral imperatives or the greatest happiness of others, slights a key question.

I have to say that the complaint in an earlier review that she's too Marxist just has me puzzled at the red-baiting. As I say, she thinks something serious got lost starting at least with Kant, and the rare reference to Marx is dismissive. Similarly, using "he" and "she" interchangeably is pretty much the norm in such presentations these days. Perhaps just finding someone who believes in affections and human community as part of virtue annoys a neo-con.

2-0 out of 5 stars good but a little boring
i found this book interesting in places but boring in others. author is sorely in need of an editor.

4-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful though politically slanted book
The phrase "Hellenistic philosophy" encompasses three schools of Ancient Greece and Rome: the Epicureans, the Skeptics and the Stoics- whose philosophical achievements had been largely underestimated until very recently, and whose work on the emotions, according to the author, represents "the best material in the Western tradition."

In *The Therapy of Desire*, Nussbaum evaluates the therapeutic aspects of the ethical teachings of these three schools, showing how each of them addresses the emotional needs and vulnerabilities of its disciples and guides them towards eudaimonia, or human flourishing. Using Aristotle as her starting point and foil, she shows what insights the three Hellenistic schools added to his psychology (such as, for instance, the crucial discovery of the unconscious), what dangers they identified in the passionate life he advocated, and what ways they found to avert them. One thing I learned in this book for instance is that the original Skeptics were not as nihilistic as their contemporary equivalents, but that their all-encompassing doubting was a means of protecting themselves from intellectual vulnerability and fostering a eudaimonistic equanimity.

Rather disturbingly, Nussbaum concludes that each individual has to choose between a life of deep emotional commitments that might lead to destructive anger and a life freed from the risk of such anger at the cost of his humanity. She herself seems to favor the former.

*The Therapy of Desire* is unlike most modern philosophy books in that it attempts to move philosophy "beyond the academy to take its place in the daily lives of human beings". Combining abstract arguments with insightful real-life illustrations and the literary analysis of works such as Lucretius's *De Rerum Natura* and Seneca's *Medea*, it weaves a very intricate picture of man's emotional life and the profound moral choices it involves.

My only reservation about the book concerns the author's feminist and Marxist leanings.

The former manifest themselves in an obsessive infatuation with the pronoun "she" (to the point of inserting it in quotes from the Stoics) and occasional diatribes against our patriarcal society which "turns half of its members into possessions, both deified and hated, the other half into sadistic keepers, tormented by anxiety".

As for Nussbaum's Marxism, it reveals itself in citations from Marx and Engels' writings, which seem designed solely to give them visibility, and a general tendency to see people as "victims of false social advertising... convinced in their hearts that they cannot possibly live without their hoards of money, their imported delicacies, their social standing, their lovers". According to her, "nothing is more urgent in contemporary society than the reasoned critique of limitless wealth-maximizing and power-seeking" (notice the package deal). Moreover, Nussbaum's sympathies for ancient philosophers seem to be dictated mostly by the openness of their schools to women and "the excluded"- which means that even though she turns out to be closer to Aristotle than the other schools, she clearly dislikes him. As for her brief forays into political philosophy, they remain strategically vague, but it is not difficult, given the context, to guess what she means when she advocates "a politics of gradualism and mercy".

For all its biases, I highly recommend this marvellous exploration of hellenistic philosophy. But I sincerely hope that in the future, scholars uncontaminated by Marxism will intervene to prevent the recuperation of Epicureanism and especially Stoicism by the academic left.

(As antidotes to Nussbaum's attacks on "greed", I recommend Edwin Locke's *The Prime Movers*; George Reisman's *Capitalism*; and the complete works of Ayn Rand.)

5-0 out of 5 stars comprehensive and relevant
It is rare for a survey of classical philosophy (in this case the Hellenistic period) to be both scholarly and engaging. But this is the fault of commentators, not of the ancient authors themselves, as Martha Nussbaum shows -- not by attacking other scholars but by bringing out the undying relevance of the works in question. She ranges from Aristotle through the Stoics, covering such schools as the Epicureans and the Skeptics along the way. The narrative brings each of these schools to life by imagining a female student in search of wisdom, testing out each possibility and comparing it with the others with regard to how well it answers such urgent human questions as: how should I live?; or, how am I to love without compromising my dignity or rendering myself vulnerable to suffering? Each of the Hellenistic schools has a practical answer to such questions, and in an age (ours) which (like theirs) laments the absence of guidance for the individual, the consideration of philosophical schools like these, which do not lie about the negative aspects of existence, remain a superior alternative to those in search of wisdom and frustrated with the easy oversimplifing pseudo-wisdom of the week. The statement is too often made, but in this case it applies: this book will be highly valuable to both the student of ancient philosophy and the general reader. ... Read more


16. Pappus of Alexandria and the Mathematics of Late Antiquity (Cambridge Classical Studies)
by Serafina Cuomo
list price: $70.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521642116
Catlog: Book (2000-03-09)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 1475379
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This book is at once an analytical study of one of the most important mathematical texts of antiquity, the Mathematical Collection of the fourth-century AD mathematician Pappus of Alexandria, and also an examination of the work's wider cultural setting. This is one of very few books to deal extensively with the mathematics of Late Antiquity. It sees Pappus' text as part of a wider context and relates it to other contemporary cultural practices and opens new avenues to research into the public understanding of mathematics and mathematical disciplines in antiquity. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting project
Cuomo starts this book by suggesting we don't understand the late-classical era, that great confusing muddle which starts around 300 AD when Constantine transferred the capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople and legalized Christianity. It ends with the Muslim conquest of Alexandria. In crude terms, it is what Gibbon called the 'fall of the Roman Empire.' Cuomo uses the 'Arch of Constantine' as a metaphoric reference. For most contemporary art historians, the arch is a pastiche of scavenged sculptures from earlier and finer artistic efforts. Scavenged is the key word here. The late-antiquity (according to Gibbon) was the moral equivalent of Sodom and Gomorrah.

I don't know how many people still take "Rome's Fall' as a moral litmus test, but I suspect the story still holds a lot of weight. It's this icon that Cuomo targets.

In general terms, I couldn't be more pleased with the project. Unfortunately, it doesn't really get off the ground. Cuomo isn't very forth coming on what she makes of the era. It seems she simply likes pastiche.

She starts her iconoclastic journey well, suggesting the subject of her book might never have existed. It is hard to argue the point. We know almost nothing about Pappus, the man. Unfortunately, the fictional Pappus concept seems to have been mentioned for shock value, and not pursued seriously. I would have been interested in hearing details on the process of putting mathematic lectures on scrolls for academic, social or bureaucratic purposes. Maybe ghost writing was a common practice. This emphasis on the 'media' itself seems critical to Cuomo's case (a role the Arch of Constantine served), but it is entirely ignored.

Cuomo then takes us down an entertaining bunny hole involving legal torture and highly paid astrologers. By taking this route, she hopes to convince us that mathematics was about as important to our late-classical delinquents as, well, ourselves. The legal discussion shows mathematical knowledge put one socially above those who could expect torture during any legal cross-examination. The astrological references show desperate young parents prayed for their off-spring to become mathematicians.

So far, so good, but Cuomo then launches into a book by book deconstruction of the works ascribed to Pappus (whoever he was), and in this the reader starts to wonder just what she wants to say. The less than stunning conclusion is that Pappus had careerist interests and said different things to target groups in hopes of enhancing his authority.

I was less than impressed.

One might surmise Cuomo has a bigger goal, but if it exists, it is very subtle. Of these subtle arguments, the chief seems to be that the standard historiography associates the development of Greek mathematics exclusively with Plato's philosophy (the Proclus (411-485) perspective). Cuomo points out contradictions in this line of reasoning made by Pappus (? 320 ?) and Iamblichus (250?-330?). In this, Cuomo hints at disputing the role of the Neo-Platonic synthesis. Proclus, as the heir to Plato's academy, plays a pivotal role in this. Cuomo seeks to uncover the real mathematician hidden by Proclus and later Neo-Platonic Christians.

If this is really what she hints at, I would be surprised. I am just grasping at straws... The unfortunate fate of the interested reader. ... Read more


17. Way of the Wolf
by MARTIN BELL
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
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Asin: 0345305221
Catlog: Book (1983-04-12)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 12792
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Intriguing tales, timeless poetry, enchanting songs . . . Beguiling characters like Barrington
Bunny . . . Joggi, the porcupine . . . Lena, the witch . . . Joshua, the boy who has lost his magic . . . and the great silver wolf -- majestic, ever-present, mysterious . . . A book that will inspire you to consider and celebrate such things as love, forgiveness, acceptance, salvation and commitment.
... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Christmas Tradition
In our house, it has become a Christmas tradition to read Barrington Bunny (the first story in this book) aloud with different people reading the parts of different animals. I think it has made a difference in the lives of our children to think about a free gift, no strings atached, the meaning of friendship,or scary things (like wolves) who do no harm The Lone Ranger brings a new appreciation for the risk in taking religion seriously. The Easter Egg story brought major comfort to a friend after their child died. And the songs aren't bad either.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stories to stir your heart and spirit!
Long before the compilers of "soup" stories made their fame and fortune by gathering and publishing other folks' heartwarming stories, an authentic young cleric named Martin Bell wrote and published this exceptional collection of his own original tales of love, abandonment, and redemption.The best of Martin Bell's offerings is the Christmas story "Barrington Bunny." This touching reminder of the power of brotherly love and self-sacrifice -- a message that is, or should be, at the heart of Christmas remembrance -- has been a treasured annual tradition in my household and my classroom for many years.Even more powerful than the written version is Martin Bell's reading of his own work. Get his recording (also entitled "The Way of the Wolf") if you can, and have a supply of tissues at hand.You will discover this thin book to be an abundantly thoughtful and heartful treat for anyone who has ever pondered the real meaning of our earthly existence and our rightful relationship with one another and with our God. A refreshing antidote to the dulling cynicism and negativism of our times.If the rating scale permitted six stars, I would wnat to give "The Way of the Wolf" at least ten!{A note of caution: Several books have this same title. Only one is authored by Martin Bell.}

5-0 out of 5 stars BARRINGTON BUNNY
I got this book at a Presbyterian church in the Seventies, probably through the youth group. After twenty-five years I still cry every single time I read 'Barrington Bunny'. Sometimes my tears won't even wait until the end of the story. As Barrington is turned away from others' Christmas festivities and family gatherings, I promise myself to remember that there's people out there at Christmas who have no one. "The only bunny in the forest..."

5-0 out of 5 stars "A gift, a free gift with no strings attached"
-I'm never gonna forget that quote! Anyway, this is such a nice book, we read the Barrington Bunny story every Christmas and I love it. It's really moving and insiteful. And it is not just for children. Believe me, adults love this book too. I suggest it to anyone who has a heart, this is truly a great book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Barrington Bunny Is Tops!
Martin Bell's "The Way of the Wolf" is an excellent collection of stories including Barrington Bunny which is in my opinion on of the best stories communicating the real meaning of Christmas written this century. Wyll Irvin JoyBringers Productions ... Read more


18. The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation (2 Volume Set; Bollingen Series, Vol. LXXI, No. 2)
by Aristotle
list price: $90.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691099502
Catlog: Book (1995)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 126369
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Oxford Translation of Aristotle was originally published in 12 volumes between 1912 and 1954. It is universally recognized as the standard English version of Aristotle. This revised edition contains the substance of the original Translation, slightly emended in light of recent scholarship; three of the original versions have been replaced by new translations; and a new and enlarged selection of Fragments has been added. The aim of the translation remains the same: to make the surviving works of Aristotle readily accessible to English speaking readers. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great for Classicists and Novices Alike
Barnes' translation is painstakingly accurate as well as highly readable, making these the best (as well as, quite obviously, the most comprehensive) Aristotle volumes on the market, for those familiar with the Aristotelean corpus in its original Greek, as well as for anyone who wants a good introduction to the seminal thinker.
As seems to be a common complaint--alas, the index leaves very much to be desired, and the editorial introduction is not great: Durant's famous essay (available in the "Story of Philosophy") eclipses it easily. Nonetheless, these two volumes should replace all the Aristotle on your shelf: they are a pleasure to own and read.
"Ho anexetastos bios ou biotos anthropoi--the unexamined life is not worth living." Said by Plato, proved by Aristotle.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Complete Works of Aristotle Volume 2
The Complete Works of Aristotle Volume 2 edited bu Jonathan Barnes is a continuation of the revised Oxford translation. Aristotle is one of the greatest thinkers in the Western tradition, but also one of the most difficult.

As with the first volume, this translation makes the surviving works of Aristotle easily read for the English-speaking readers. This volume combined with the first makes a comprehesive work. Both volumes are nicely bound and the type is easy to read. Also, the volumes have numerals printed in the outer margins to key the translations to Immanuel Bekker's standard edition of the Greek text of Aristotle of 1831. The index of both editions could use a bit more work as they are cumbersome to work with, but not impossible.

I've found that using "The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle" of great help. This is also edithed by Jonathan Barnes. The contents of volume 2 are as follows: On Plants, On Marvellous Things Heard, Mechanics, Problems On Indivisible Lines, The Situation and Names of Winds, On Melissus,Xenophanes,and Gorgias, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, Magna Moralia, Eudemian Ethics, On Virtues and Vices, Politics, Economics, Rhetoric, Rhetoric to Alexander, Poetics, Constition of Athens, Fragments.

As with the first voume, this work contains works that the authenticity has been seriously doubted and works that are spurious and have never been seroiusly contested.

The translations are easily read and flow. You can definately understand what Aristotle is trying to say. Both of these volumes make an excellent addition to your home library.

4-0 out of 5 stars Overall great, but poor index
It is great to finally have a collected works of Aristotle. The quality of the 2 volumes is superb and the translations, as far as I can tell, seem quite good.
However, the INDEX leaves a lot to be desired. First, there is only an index in volume 2 covering both volumes. This is a nuisance if you only have volume 1. Secondly, the index is, for all practical purposes, not subdivided. That is, let's say you want to look up "virtue," all you get is tons of reference (page) numbers but no additional information, so in order to find precisely what you're looking for, you basically have to look up all the references and decide for yourself. And that keeps the index from being very useful.

1-0 out of 5 stars a bad revised book.
compared to this revised edition, i would rather refer to the original work of W. D. Ross, whose translation is excellent and marvelous. i recommend this one but don't know where to get it now.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reader's Guide
This review is a sort of reader's guide to "The Complete Works". I've grouped Aristotle's works into logically related sets, provided a list of the works for each set (in the recommended reading order), and also indicated what sets are prior reading for which other sets. Note that I've restricted myself to those works of undoubted authenticity.

To use this review, locate the set containing a work you are interested in, read the sets that are logically prior to it, and then the prior works in that set.

Categories

"Categories" - Is it about words, ideas, or metaphysics? The answer is: yes! This is the most foundational of Aristotle's works. For almost anything of Aristotle's you plan to read, you should read this first.

Logic

"De Interpretatione", "Prior Analytics", "Posterior Analytics", "Topics", "Sophistical Refutations" - "Categories"is a prerequisite. "De Interpretatione" is about statements (and negations), "Prior Analytics" is about deductions, "Posterior Analytics" is about demonstrations, and "Topics" is about dialectical deduction (and proper formation of definitions). "Sophistical Refutations" is really an appendix to "Topics" and deals with various logical fallacies. Mostly, they're not difficult reading, but "Prior Analytics" may have been the most numbing thing I've read in my whole life. The material about definitions in "Topics" has profound importance for Aristotle's metaphysics.

General Science

"Physics", "On the Heavens", "On Generation and Corruption", "Meteorology" - "Categories" is a prerequisite, and the Logic set is recommended prior reading. "Physics" concerns change - the words "motion", "movement", and so on are often used to indicate any kind of change, not just a change in location. "On the Heavens" concerns cosmology. "On Generation and Corruption" is broadly about chemistry. "Meteorology" is about atmospheric phenomena, but includes such things as comets and earthquakes. Aristotelian physics and cosmology, though pretty thoroughly wrong, have a coherence that goes far to account for their longevity. His equivalent to chemistry, on the other hand, is not only pretty thoroughly wrong, but wrong in ways that really, really make you wish that Aristotle had been willing to say "I don't know" a lot more often than he was.

Biology

"On the Soul", "Sense and Sensibilia", "On Memory", "On Sleep", "On Dreams", "On Divination in Sleep", "On Length and Shortness of Life", "On Youth, Old Age, Life and Death, and Respiration", "Movement of Animals" - "Categories" and the General Science set are prerequisites. "Soul" is a word with a great many associations with Christian belief that should be forgotten before reading this set of works; for Aristotle, in this context, "soul" in this context pretty much means the qualities of living things that differentiate them from non-living and he builds up from there. The titles of these are largely self-explanatory. The bad chemistry in "On Generation and Corruption" leads to even worse biology here.

Zoology

"History of Animals", "Parts of Animals", "Progression of Animals", "Generation of Animals" - "Categories", the General Science set, and the Biology set are prerequisites. Aristotle's writings on Zoology are a farrago of careful observation, folklore, and tall tales. Generally, when people want to make fun of Aristotle, they look in these works for quotes. I will resist the temptation to quote any of them here, and just point out that in Aristotle's time, the technical and social means for doing good work in this area just didn't exist.

Metaphysics

"Metaphysics" - "Categories", the Logic set, and the General Science set are prerequisites, with the Biology set recommended, but not necessary. Although "Metaphysics" is famously difficult, you may not find it too hard if you have read the recommended prior works (particularly the material on definitions in "Topics"), and don't get too obsessed about trying to understand his attempts at refuting the views of philosophers whose works we no longer possess. Also, be aware that there are some confusing uses of the word "soul" as well that pretty clearly have a much broader meaning than those in the set on Biology.

Ethics

"Eudemian Ethics", "Nicomachean Ethics" - No prerequisites. Both of these are lecture notes taken by students, whose names grace the titles of the works. The works are overlapping and don't have a real logical order. Of the two, Nicomachean Ethics is longer and covers more ground, and is therefore more commonly referenced than Eudemian Ethics, but the Eudemian Ethics flows better, and is the better one to read first. Some historical background reading about Greek society at this time is recommended. Perhaps surprisingly, after reading Aristotle's Ethics, his "Rhetoric" is highly recommended follow-up reading (the dark side of ethics, so to speak).

Politics

"Constitution of Athens", "Politics" - The Ethics set is a prerequisite. "Constitution of Athens" is a political history of Athens. "Politics" is political theory. Reading "Constitution of Athens" before "Politics" can help provide context for the latter work, although additional historical background reading about Greece in Aristotle's time is highly recommended.

Rhetoric

"Rhetoric" - "Categories", the Logic set, and the Ethics set are recommended prior reading. "Rhetoric" was a somewhat disreputable subject for Aristotle in that it aimed not at knowledge, but at persuasion, and by any means fair or foul. As part of this work, Aristotle expounds quite a bit on human nature, which makes this a fascinating follow-on to his works on Ethics.

Aesthetics

"Poetics" - No real prerequisites. This work, though short, has profoundly impacted aesthetic theory, particularly in the dramatic arts. Everyone should read this. ... Read more


19. The Last Days of Socrates (Penguin Classics)
by Plato
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140449280
Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 50940
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Masterpiece of Plato
I wondered that why there isn't any church putting Jacque Louis-David's painting the Death of Socrates on the wall. If you hear the story of Socrates' sarcrifice, you would understand why this old man is worth of the worship from millions. Imagine you are in the situation of Socrates. Assume that you are a patriotic citizen of a country. For all the years of your life, you try to make your fellow citizen smart and do them goods by spending all your time making speeches on the streets, defending justice and teaching the students without any charges. Assume that you have annoyed the ruling class of this country and they prosecute you on the court for corrupting the youths of your country-they could not prove that though. Assume your fellow citizen vote and put you to death on the court for you are too poor to pay a satisfactory fine and reject to proclaiming justice in exchange for your release. Assume that your best friend asks you to escape from jail since it is unjust for you to accept this unreasonable condemnation, and he guarantees that all the financial problems would be taken care of and your friends who help you escape would not be suffered, so that you can live in the countries that you prefer and raise your children by yourselves. Is anybody there would refuse to escape? However, Socrates does. He launches three arugements. 1. We should never injury others on any circumstances. Escape from jail and breaks the laws is certainly an act that would put the Laws of Athens on the blink of destruction. 2. You should respect your country's command as if you respect your parents. Since a person's birth, his country provides the protections, regulates the supply of food and enriches him with education. Thus, a person shouls respect his country like or more than he respects his parents. 3. There is a contract between the government and the people. If a person does not like the Laws of a country, he can choose to leave it. If he chooses to stay, that means he signs the contract with government of not ! breaking the laws. If he does not break the laws, the government can't do anything on him. If he does, the government reserves the rights to punish him or even execute him.

This book comprises the last part of Socrates' life: Euthyphro, the cause of his accusation, The Apology ,his cross-interrogation at the court, Crito, his refusal to escape from jail, and Phaedo, his Sarcrifice. There are the most important chapters in Plato. The weight of Socrates' sarcrifice is like the cruxifiction of Christ; if he does not die, he is not the Messiah. So, if you don't have too much time to read the Complete Works of Plato, this book undoubtedly would be the best choice for you to understand Plato. ... Read more


20. The Mycenaean World
by John Chadwick
list price: $34.38
our price: $34.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521290376
Catlog: Book (1976-03-25)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 501483
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In 1952 the decipherment of the Linear B script suddenly revealed the Greekness of Mycenaean Greece. Now, after new discoveries and more than 20 years of intensive work, scholars are able to interpret the written documents and reconstruct from them a vivid picture of life in this remote period, in a way which is impossible from archaeology alone. John Chadwick, who assisted Ventris in the original decipherment, has played a major part in these advances. He now summarizes the results of recent research and in so doing opens the door to a new world, Mycenaean Greece seen through the eyes of its inhabitants. The tablets may be only, as he describes them, 'the account books of anonymous clerks', but from these prosaic documents he shows how we can infer a bronze industry, foreign slave-women, or even human sacrifice. Not least important is the comparison of the newly available data with the Homeric account, much to the detriment of Homer's credibility as a witness. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars What do the Linear B Tablets say about Mycenae?
For those who have read "The Decipherment of Linear B" also by John Chadwick, detailing how Michael Ventris (with the assistance of several other scholars) deciphered the Linear B tablets found at Knossos on the island of Crete, "The Mycenaean World" will be a welcome companion book. "The Decipherment" was mainly concerned with the actual process used in decrypting the tablets; "The Mycenaean World" is Chadwick's valiant attempt to interpret the translations and apply them to what is already known about the Mycenaean World from archaeological evidence. Most interesting is Chadwick's take on the mysterious fall of Mycenaean civilization. He suggests everything from natural disasters, foreign invaders and internal political strife to explain why Mycenaean Greece went into decline, descending into the Dark Ages. An interesting, though scholarly, read. ... Read more


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