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312 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 26:2 APRIL 1988 Mme. de Vogel takes to be "The Doctrines"--that is to say, the "unwritten doctrines"-that are Plato's and that constitute Platonism: the metaphysical principles of the One (or First or Good) and the Dyad (or Being), the third hypostasis, noun, the account of human nature that follows from this, and its implications for the human moral situation . The volume concludes with an "Analytical Contents" which gives some guidance to the arguments of the individual essays, but there is neither the Index nor the Bibliography of works cited that would make this volume more useful to those who are not immersed in these discussions already. One might complain about the (perhaps) excessive positivity of some of Mme. de Vogel's judgments; especially on the crucial issue of whether, as against Cherniss and certain others, there were any unwritten doctrines. She notes his contrary opinion, but virtually ignores the arguments in support of it. And that is the general tenor of the various essays; her 'rethinking' leads her to revise or retract none of her previous judgments. Yet her positions, even when one wants to disagree with them, are based on a deep and thorough knowledge of the texts and bespeak an intelligence that is at once clear, exact, genteel, and sympathetic. Our discussions of these issues will be the poorer for her absence. GERALD A. PRESS Hunter College, City University of New York Aristotle. Metaphysics. Books 7-io. Zeta, Eta, Theta, Iota. Translated by Montgomery Furth. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 1985. Pp. xii + 154. Paper, $7.5o. Aristotle's Metaphysics is a translator's nightmare. The crabbed and compressed Greek text defies accurate rendering intograceful English. A smooth and unambiguous translation will surely fail to be neutral on points of interpretation. In pursuit of neutrality one must be relentlessly literal, and that is the option Furth has chosen in this new translation of four of the central books of the Metaphysics. The result, as Furth notes, is not pretty. Indeed, an ancestor of the present volume, in underground circulation a decade ago, came to be called The Eek Papers, since it was written in "a vernacular neither English nor Greek" (vi). One hopes that philosophically serious but Greekless readers will not be frightened off, for this translation will bring them closer to Aristotle's original than any yet produced . It will not replace the great Ross translation (of course it is not intended to), but can justly take its place alongside it; the reader of one will surely want to consult the other. In addition to the translation, Furth has provided a glossary of key terms (both Greek-to-Eek and Eek-to-Greek), an analytical table of contents, and a rather sparse (38 pages) set of notes. Flags are set in the text to signal the first occurrence of terms included in the glossary and to mark passages discussed in the notes. A literal translation aims to present just what the author said without prejudicing the issue of what he meant, where that is subject to varying interpretations. In the case of a philosophical text; where disputes over interpretation are common even when translation is not an issue, literalness is crucial. But it is important to realize that literalness is an BOOK REVIEWS 313 ideal that can at best be approximated. There is often no way to preserve an original's vagueness or ambiguity no matter how literal one tries to be, and one must regularly choose among variant manuscript readings. In such cases the translator is forced to decide what the author meant before beginning to record what he said. A good example of this can be found in Furth's translation of Z6 lo31b27-98. Aristotle is explaining why thepale in one sense is, and in another is not, the same as its essence. The text, in all but one manuscript, reads: xO P-~ Y&O~tvOQtb~ xa[ xO kevxO ~tv0Qd~to oa3Tcn3x6,t o Jt~t0et 6~ xct~T6. One manuscript has T6 (nominative) in place of the second t o (dative), and Alexander reads T6 for the first xo also. Furth, although he does not...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 312-313
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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