The Categories

Author: Aristotle

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Rhetoric

Aristotle

Aristotle’s Rhetoric is an ancient Greek treatise on the art of persuasion, dating from the 4th century BC. The title in English varies: it is usually titled Rhetoric, the Art of Rhetoric, On Rhetoric, or a Treatise on Rhetoric.

Aristotle is generally credited with developing the foundations of the system of rhetoric that «thereafter served as a touchstone», influencing the development of rhetorical theory from antiquity to modern times. Most rhetoricians consider the Rhetoric to be «the most important work on persuasion ever written».

The Poetics

Aristotle

It is a work of dramatic theory, as well as being the first extant philosophical treatise focused on literary theory. The text was lost to the Western world for a long time, only to be restored in the Middle Ages and early Renaissance through a Latin translation of an Arabic version.

The Poetics deals with the poetic art where Aristotle divides the art of poetry into verse drama (which includes comedy, tragedy, and satyr play), lyric poetry, and epic. It is mainly concerned with drama and the analysis of tragedy as the core of the discussion.

Aristotle also distinguishes between the tragic mode of poetry and history. For him, history deals with things that happened in the past, while tragedy deals with what could happen, or could be imagined to happen. Thus, he concludes, poetry is more philosophical than history insofar as it approaches a knowledge of universals.

On Interpretation Aristotle

Aristotle

On Interpretation is the second text of Aristotle’s Organon. It deals with the relationship between language and logic in a complete, explicit and formal way. It consists of 14 chapters in which it discusses the following topics:

Analyzes simple categorical propositions, draws a series of basic conclusions about the definition and classification of elements such as: nouns and verbs, negation, the relationship between affirmative, negative, universal and particular propositions.

It also discusses spoken and written symbols and their respective mental experiences (which are the same for all), verbs and the notion of time (a verb without tense indicates the present while the tenses of a verb indicate times outside the present), the universality or individuality of terms, among other topics.

Nicomachean Ethics

Aristotle

The Nicomachean Ethics is the name usually given to Aristotle’s best known work on «Ethics». The work, which plays a preeminent role in defining Aristotelian ethics, consists of ten books, originally separate scrolls, and is understood to be based on the notes of his lectures at the Lyceum.

It is often assumed that the title refers to his son Nicomachus, to whom the work was dedicated or who may have edited it (although his young age makes this less likely). Another possibility is that the work was dedicated to his father, who was also named Nicomachus.

History of Animals

Aristotle

This work, written in the fourth century B.C., is considered one of the main texts on biology, being a pioneer work of zoology. In addition to having exerted a powerful influence on researchers of this science for about two thousand years until the sixteenth century, since it was from this century when other detailed works on zoology began to be made.

History of Animals contains many eye-witness observations, especially of marine biology around the island of Lesbos. At the same time, it is an attempt to apply philosophy to a part of the natural world in which Aristotle is concerned to discuss the what (the existing facts about animals) before establishing the why (the causes of these characteristics).

Throughout the text, Aristotle tries to identify the differences, both between individuals and between groups, understanding by group that in which all members are observed to have the same set of distinctive features.