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Quinta, 23 Agosto 2007

This edition of the Complete Works of Aristotle stems from the awareness of the extreme dearth of Portuguese translations of Aristotelian writings (only six published to date: Categories, On the Soul, Politics, Athenian Constitution, Rhetoric and Poetics), with the consequent scant interest shown for the author's work by the Portuguese philosophic community and the extraordinary lack of knowledge on the part of the general public regarding this great philosopher's thought.
Accordingly, the purpose of this edition is to ensure that the whole Aristotelian collection becomes accessible to Portuguese readers. For this reason, it includes not only the nearly fifty complete treatises that have survived until today, but also all the other texts that have been traditionally passed down under Aristotle's name, in a more or less fragmentary and/or reliable fashion.
Besides the writings collected by Imanuel Bekker in the first modern edition of Aristotle's corpus (1831), which included authentic works as well as spurious and doubtful ones, and the later discovered Athenian Constitution (literally unearthed at the end of the 19th century), the present edition encompasses, then, all the fragments attributed to Aristotle (again, authentic, suspicious and pseudo-epigraphs) and, finally, the seven apocryphal books that were in circulation at a later period, also under Aristotle's name, for instance The Book of Causes, the Secret of Secrets or Theology.
Aiming, as it does, to carry out the translation of this full set of works, the present Complete Works of Aristotle will be, therefore, the first and only one of its kind, internationally, to encompasses the entire Aristotelian legacy, since no other collection includes the last texts mentioned above.
Needless to say, all texts published in this edition are translated directly from the original.

Given that the purpose of this project is to ensure the Portuguese reader’s access to Aristotle’s thought and work, thus contributing to the general knowledge of the author in Portugal, it is understandable that all technical demands have been reduced to the minimum and the critical apparatus restricted to that which simply allows us to achieve that goal while maintaining the quality and rigour of the translations.
Consequently, the publications included in the Complete Works of Aristotle will conform to a simple  standardised format: an introduction consisting of  the historical and philosophical framework of the translated text; the translation of the work; and such explanatory notes either that allow the reader to follow Aristotle's thought where it becomes harder to comprehend, or that the translators, in order to make their work perfectly clear, decide should be included in order to clarify their options, or to alert the reader to other possible readings that, for one reason or another, have been passed over in favour of the ones chosen for the translation given.
Hence, this project has no pretensions of exhausting, for once and for all, the investigation concerning the works translated here, nor does it claim to have had the last word on complicated decisions of interpretation, whether technical, linguistic, or philosophical.
On the contrary, by making available to the public competent and trustworthy translations of Aristotle's entire work, our overall purpose is to increase interest in our author so that soon, many other translations, possibly even better than those offered here, may arise from this foundation.
Therefore, it is with total openness and humbleness that we await observations and criticism. Only in this way will improvement and progress be made.
We are, in this case, in a situation similar to that experienced by Imanuel Bekker, the outstanding German philologist who, as mentioned above, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, took the pioneering initiative of editing the totality of the Aristotelian treatises for the Berlin Academy.
Now-a-days, none of his editions is considered a work of reference. But, if for any reason he had not thrown himself into that pioneering work, not one of the subsequent editions would have been possible and the scenario of Aristotelian studies at the beginning of the twenty-first century would have suffered a two-century set-back.
So, if the promoters of this project can be allowed to set their hearts on anything, it is that all the translations that are now beginning to be published will be replaced soon enough by others that are clearer and more incisive in content, more successful and pleasant in their choice of language, and more daring in their interpretations. Such an outcome would mean that their objective had been fully achieved.

The initiative for this edition was taken by Centre of Philosophy of the University of Lisbon, which has also undertaken its coordination.
The collaboration of other national scientific institutes, however, was not long in coming. The collaborating institutes are: the Centre for Classical Studies and the Centre of History of the University of Lisbon; the Institute for Philosophy of Language of the New University of Lisbon; the David Lopes Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies; and the Centres for Language, Interpretation and Philosophy and for Classical and Humanistic Studies of the University of Coimbra.
For this reason, it can be said that it now mobilises practically all national investigators in the areas of Ancient Philosophy, Classical Studies and Arabic and Islamic Studies, who have enthusiastically joined the project and are already working on it, so that the twelve-year period granted for this purpose might be put to effective use in successfully  bringing the project to completion.
However, this project would not be possible without the high degree of understanding that the promoters have found in the Imprensa Nacional, who, unhesitatingly, accepted responsibility for the publication of the translations, showing their belief in the fulfilment of the editorial programme involved.
A great and heartfelt expression of appreciation is due to everyone.

Last Updated ( Quinta, 26 Maio 2011 )
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