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Aristotle's Teaching in the Politics
Aristotle's Teaching in the "Politics"
University of Chicago Press, 2013

With the Politics, this book argues, Aristotle seeks to lead his students down a deliberately difficult path of critical thinking about civic republican life. He adopts a Socratic approach, encouraging his students–and readers–to become active participants in a dialogue. Seen from this perspective, features of the work that have perplexed previous commentators become perfectly comprehensible as artful devices of a didactic approach. Close and careful analysis shows that to understand the Politics, one must first appreciate how Aristotle's rhetorical strategy is inextricably entwined with the subject of his work.
Pangle's pursuit of the details that reveal the arguments behind Aristotle's arguments is admirably clear, well informed, and intelligent.
-Review of Politics
Thomas Pangle, author of important works on such topics as Montesquieu and the American Founding, is one of our finest contemporary political philosophers. His contributions to the study of classical political philosophy, from his widely used translation of Plato's Laws to recent co-translated editions of Aristophanes and Sophocles, are well known. The appearance of his new book on Aristotle's Politics is thus an occasion of note.

Pangle offers a detailed commentary on the Politics, similar in style to the interpretive essay that accompanied his translation of the Laws. His interpretive method is crucial to understanding Pangle's book. Readers of the Politics know that it frequently presents the reader with frustrating challenges: promised discussions that never materialize, questions raised and then dropped, new treatments of issues that Aristotle appeared to have dealt with earlier. For Pangle, these difficulties are intended by Aristotle as both tests and clues for the careful reader. Aristotle is not only a political but also a politic philosopher, who proceeds cautiously and without explicitly stating his full views.

-Bryn Mawr Classical Review
Through a careful exegesis, Pangle unpacks Aristotle's text and illuminates the work's multilayered rhetorical structure. He lays out the argument of the book and brings to light Aristotle's intention or "teaching." Aristotle's teaching is to be understood in terms of both how he wrote or taught and what his work teaches. Understanding the literary character of the work allows readers to clearly understand its substance. Pangle brilliantly demonstrates that Aristotle was a "political" philosopher; he was guided by his understanding of the deep essential tension that necessarily exists between politics and philosophy. Anyone with a serious interest in understanding Aristotle will benefit from, and enjoy, reading this book. Highly recommended.
Pangle's attention to Aristotle's ways of teaching leads him to follow with special care the injunction to analyze the context of a serious author's quotations from, or references to, poetry. While doing so he discovers ambiguities about virtue and nobility that modify Aristotle's ostensible message. He also attends carefully to Aristotle's mentions of philosophy and political philosophy, and he is assiduous in following Aristotle's raising of perplexities, and his proceeding, notably in Book 3, by temporarily resolving and then returning to these perplexities. This care enables him to follow Aristotle where he leads, even if it is not where Pangle originally intended to go.

Pangle's discussion of Book 3 is exemplary. He traces each of the perplexities that Aristotle presents, clarifying what Aristotle means by a citizen, the priority of the regime inpolitical life and analysis of it, and the relative justice in claims to rule-or to share in ruling-of the wealthy, the virtuous, and the free. He is especially attentive to the "fraught" questions of the connection between the serious citizen and the virtuous man and to the issue of whether rule by the one best man is the best rule simply.

-Claremont Review of Books
Pangle’s work stands out as an illuminating and clarifying interpretative approach to the important questions which every studious reader of Aristotle’s Politics stumbles over.
-History of Political Thought
The greatest feature of Pangle’s commentary is that by detailed scholarly exegesis, it has brought an interpretative approach occasionally criticized for its gnostic tendencies into a wider conversation. Factions opposing this approach can now array their forces for fighting the hermeneutical battle which Pangle offers. If they take this offer of battle seriously, with due attention to the surface and the whole of the text, it may serve to clarify and reform many of the assumptions prevalent in the interpretation of Aristotle. Such a contest will only enrich our reading of Aristotle and help us to grasp the profundity ofAristotelian philosophical practice.
-The Oxonian Review
This book is clearly a mature work of scholarship, informed by extended reflection on Aristotle's Politics and the subsequent tradition of political theory and philological commentary which has responded to it. . . . which challenged me to look at the Politics in a light almost entirely unlike that which shines from contemporary Aristotle scholarship. Even if Aristotle may not always be the teacher Pangle claims he is—using clever rhetoric to provoke thought in his readers—Pangle himself often is.
-The Classical Journal
Pangle’s insights as a political scientist help to bring life into philosophically less catchy material.
-Philosophical Quarterly

Aristotle's Teaching in the Politics Chinese
Aristotle's Teaching in the Politics Chinese
Chinese Translation