Over the past weeks and months life has placed some obstacles, not at all dangerous, but quite demanding, in front of my devoting the kind of time and effort to After Aristotle that a properly run blog requires. Those obstacles are now past, happily. Though the future is contingent and therefore time will tell, I am returning to After Aristotle with the full expectation that I’ll be able to offer it something like the time and effort a blog worth offering requires.
I have done a good deal of thinking, perhaps most often when unable to sleep, about the direction I should take with After Aristotle, because I have been unhappy with the kinds of inquiry I had undertaken. That is, quite simply, I found the inquiries I had begun into the thought of Alain Badiou, French philosophy, and literary theorists to be highly unsatisfying, for the simple reason that their study did not bring me any deeper philosophical understanding. It was all too often a matter of turning over a great deal of earth without bringing much of value to the surface.
I have therefore made the decision that I will return to the conception of After Aristotle which its name was intended to evoke: I will pursue a deeper understanding of the thought of Aristotle himself, of the thought of those, most immediately notable, Thomas Aquinas, who came after him in the Aristotelian tradition, and beyond that the thought of those modern and contemporary thinkers the study of whom will bring me deeper philosophical understanding I seek.
In the course of the relatively near future, then, I plan to enter into a relatively systematic review of the thought of Aristotle himself and publish those reflections to which that review gives rise and which I think worth sharing. More specifically, I have begun reading or rereading the following texts bearing on the thought of Aristotle.
Christopher Shields, Aristotle (2nd edition; London and New York: Routledge, 2014.
Jonathan Lear, Aristotle: the desire to understand (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988).
Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics, translated by Richard J. Blackwell, Richard J. Spath, and W. Edmund Thirlkel, introduced by Vernon J. Bourke, and with a foreword by Ralph McInerny. (Notre Dame, Indiana: Dumb Ox Press, 1999), originally published by Yale University Press, 1963.
I will, of course, be reading Aristotle’s own works as I read the works just listed and, eventually, others. On the other hand, I anticipate taking up works of contemporary philosophy which I see as standing in significant relationship with those of Aristotle and Aristotelianism; the reading of Shields, for example, will quite likely take me back to a rereading of Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).
Until next time.