Joe Sachs on Human Reflection on Experience

It is not the nature of human beings to let thing that interest us go unthought about. “What is it?” and “Why?” are not just modes of speaking and thinking: they are living ways of standing in and toward the world. In the face of our most powerful experiences, those questions may not get fully answered, but it is intolerable for them to go entirely unanswered either, and impossible for them to go unasked. For good or ill, to be greatly and noticeably affected by anything, and not to seek the cause, is no part of life as we live it. If that were not so, if we refrained from all reflection, important things could happen to us without becoming part of our experience at all. Life would pass through us without being lived by us.

–Joe Sachs, “Introduction,” Aristotle: Poetics (Focus 2006), p. 1

The above is from Sachs’ newest translation, and also illustrates why I think his translations are not only well done linguistically, but are the “thinking man’s” translation of Aristotle. He breaks, judiciously, with the Latinate technical tradition to focus on the Hellenic. But more than that, he himself clearly engages Aristotle on a deeply reflective level.

I use Sachs for my Aristotle translations I use in class, and am glad to see one more of Aristotle’s works from him. I still fervently wish he would translate something from the Organon, preferrably the Categories, though one of the Analytics or De Interpretatione would not be unwelcome, either.

So that others may share my own joy and enthusiasm, here are the Sachs translations of some of Aristotle’s major works:

Aristotle’s Physics: A Guided Study (Masterworks of Discovery)
Aristotle’s Metaphysics (Sachs’ introduction to his translation of the Metaphysics, is here.)
Aristotle’s On the Soul and On Memory and Recollection
Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics
Aristotle: Poetics

Sachs also has a translation on one of Plato’s works:
Plato: Theaetetus

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