In these two articles IEP and SEP, it is suggested that the works of Aristotle we have are very probably "lecture notes and draft manuscripts never intended for general readership." After reading some Aristotle, I got this impression too: it can be very stilted, have explanations much too brief, and sometimes be completely incomprehensible. Would it be better to read secondary sources on Aristotle's work, consulting the original works as needed?

So far I have read Categories, On Interpretation, and some of Prior Analytics, consulting two different translations. The first two gave me a little trouble, but it was manageable; but Prior Analytics is definitely more challenging--and very, very slow going; it's getting to the point where I don't really want to read it anymore. The things is, I do want to read it, which is why I was thinking it might be better to start with commentaries on his works. What do you think? What are some good secondary sources/commentaries on Aristotle's works? I am primarily interested in his works on logic and metaphysics.

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    See SEP's entry on Aristotle's Logic for biblio. Very useful: Lukasiewicz, Lear, Patzig. Jun 20, 2017 at 15:23
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    Also useful: John Corcoran, Aristotle's Demonstrative Logic, HPL (2009) as well as Nicolas Fillion, Two Accounts of Aristotle’s Logic (2007) Jun 20, 2017 at 15:48
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    Much hinges on your goals for reading Aristotle. I would suggest reading Aristotle and then reading Aquinas on Aristotle and then reading modern commentaries. Aquinas pulls some pretty amazing rabbits out of the minced text we have, and then modern commentaries wrt to Aristotle explain what's going on or where Aquinas seems to be wrong.
    – virmaior
    Jun 21, 2017 at 9:25
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    Aquinas's commentaries on Aristotle are available online for free.
    – Geremia
    Jun 22, 2017 at 19:52
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    A point worth consideration is that modern translations (1970s onwards?!) that you have to pay for are usually better getting the gist of the text, as they take into account more recent developments in academia as well as primary and secondary sources that just weren't available before. As far as I understand from a family member researching in Aristotle and Plato, they are still in the process of getting over some more or less severe misconceptions lost in translation since the middle ages. Therefore, the more modern the translation, the better (even if the language may be more complicated).
    – Philip Klöcking
    Jun 28, 2017 at 14:39


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