Date

5-13-2020

Description

Aristotle's Politics offers what may be called a "political anthropology". I argue that Aristotle's conception of the polis as natural derives from the specifically human kind of partnership that is tied to the exercise of the specifically human capacity for logos. I assert that Aristotle's political naturalism is rooted in two claims: (a) the claim that humans are the most political animal and (b) the claim that the polis is naturally prior to the individual. Together these two claims constitute Aristotle's argument that the polis alone has the potential to fully satisfy our unique human capacity for logos. I begin by examining the relationship between the three communities Aristotle lays out in the first book of the Politics. Here I argue that the polis is natural inasmuch as it is reproduced from these earlier communities. At its inception, the polis is found in the household, and then come more complex arrangements of the village. As I see it, Aristotle argues that the village, household, and polis are three stages in the development (or growth) of one thing, namely the polis. That is, households and villages are essentially the same (they contain the same form) as the polis, though they are underdeveloped. Finally, I expound on Aristotle's political philosophy to consider modern day considerations. I look at the nature of community (koinonia) and connect it to the liberal conception of politics, arguing that Aristotle's emphasis on community has major implications for thinking about politics today.

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May 13th, 12:00 AM

The Political Animal: Aristotle's Man and the Natural Political Life

Aristotle's Politics offers what may be called a "political anthropology". I argue that Aristotle's conception of the polis as natural derives from the specifically human kind of partnership that is tied to the exercise of the specifically human capacity for logos. I assert that Aristotle's political naturalism is rooted in two claims: (a) the claim that humans are the most political animal and (b) the claim that the polis is naturally prior to the individual. Together these two claims constitute Aristotle's argument that the polis alone has the potential to fully satisfy our unique human capacity for logos. I begin by examining the relationship between the three communities Aristotle lays out in the first book of the Politics. Here I argue that the polis is natural inasmuch as it is reproduced from these earlier communities. At its inception, the polis is found in the household, and then come more complex arrangements of the village. As I see it, Aristotle argues that the village, household, and polis are three stages in the development (or growth) of one thing, namely the polis. That is, households and villages are essentially the same (they contain the same form) as the polis, though they are underdeveloped. Finally, I expound on Aristotle's political philosophy to consider modern day considerations. I look at the nature of community (koinonia) and connect it to the liberal conception of politics, arguing that Aristotle's emphasis on community has major implications for thinking about politics today.