Politics, Books V and VI. Clarendon Aristotle Series [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 54 (1):130-130 (2000)

Abstract
Many years after the translation by Richard Robinson of books 3 and 4 of Aristotle’s Politics, Professor David Keyt now presents a translation with an extensive commentary of books 5 and 6, the main topics of which are equality, democracy, oligarchy, tyranny, and revolution. The text attempts to describe these different political regimes and the causes of their disintegration. According to Keyt books 4, 5, and 6 form a unit and discuss less ideal constitutions and political instability. Keyt defends the traditional order of the books instead of switching around 5 and 6 as some editors have done. He acknowledges nevertheless that the logical order is to place 7 and 8 before 4, 5, and 6. For his translation he used the Greek edition by A. Dreizehnter. Reading the text in a clear and pleasant translation makes us admire the sharpness of Aristotle’s insight and the actuality of what he says. Besides indicating the lines of the Bekker edition, Keyt divided the text into mostly short paragraphs, which make consultation easy. The commentary on Book V runs from page 55 to 190, on VI from 191 to 239, followed by a concise bibliography, a glossary, an index locorum, and a general index. Keyt is very consistent in his translation of Greek terms. He anticipates the difficulty some readers might experience with his translation of στάσις by “faction” and στασιᾳζειν by “to split into factions.” In 1308b20 it is better to translate “who bring about a new order because of their private lives” than “who seek a new order.” Likewise, one should perhaps translate ἐν ταῖς ἀρχαῖς by “in leading positions.” In a few places, for instance at 1308b40, Keyt adds a clarifying phrase such as “if one could insure that offices are not a source of profit.”
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
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