Listening to Aristotle

 Posted by on 21 June 2005 at 6:50 am  Uncategorized
Jun 212005

As I mentioned in my book meme post, I’m re-reading Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics by listening to the audiobook from (It’s just over 10 hours long.) I finished Book I last night.

When I purchased the audiobook, I was worried that Aristotle might be too dense and compact to work well in audio form. However, it seemed reasonably comprehensible when I listened to a sample. I’m pleased to report that it’s going rather well, although it is quite strange to be listening to rather than reading Aristotle. The narrator is slow and measured in his reading, but not exciting. So it feels like I’m carefully chewing on the text, rather than racing through it, as I sometimes do while reading. Yet listening to Aristotle also requires significantly more concentration than listening to Homer, Herodotus, and Xenophon. (Over the years, I’ve carefully trained myself to quickly notice when my attention falters, so that I can immediately rewind and listen to the missed portions of an audiobook or lecture again. That habit makes a huge difference in my capacity to absorb the material.) So it’s pretty hard work, but well worth the effort, of course.

Overall, I’d recommend the audiobook as an worthwhile addition to reading Aristotle. The audio offers a bit of a fresh perspective on the text. However, I suspect that the audiobook would be tough going for someone wholly new to Aristotle’s ethics, since it’s harder to re-listen to confusing passages than to re-read them. I’d like to try some other philosophy texts in audiobook form, although the mere thought of listening to Kant’s convoluted Critique of Pure Reason fills me with existential dread!

Crossposted to The Egosphere.

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