Review of Heinaman, ed., Plato and Aristotle’s Ethics [Book Review]

Ancient Philosophy 25 (1):197-202 (2005)
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In his 1928-29 Sather Classical lectures, Paul Shorey noted that ‘there are few sentences and almost no pages of Aristotle that can be fully understood without reference to the specific passages of Plato of which he was thinking as he wrote. And as…few modern Aristotelians have the patience to know Plato intimately, Aristotelians as a class only half understand their author’ (Platonism Ancient and Modern, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1938, 6). In the 75 years since Shorey’s lament, scholarship has become even more specialized, and rare is the scholar who has published regularly on both Aristotle and Plato. Thus, Plato and Aristotle’s Ethics, a collection of six papers (each with accompanying commentary) presented at a S.V. Keeling Colloquium on Ancient Philosophy in November 2001, is a welcome and worthy contribution by major scholars of ancient philosophy. The volume’s contributors examine topics in Aristotle’s ethical treatises which derive from his agreements and disagreements with Plato. The volume includes an index locorum and an introduction by R. Heinaman, but no general bibliography. Although understanding the Platonic origins of Aristotle’s discussions is helpful to any student of the Ethics, the analyses are at times extraordinarily rich and closely argued, and indeed space forces me to underscore only the main arguments and largely omit discussion of the commentators’ remarks.
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