Citizens and Statesmen: A Study of Aristotle’s Politics by Mary P. Nichols

By Mary P. Nichols

Very important criticisms of latest liberalism flip to Aristotle's political concept for aid that which advocates participatory democracy, and that sympathetic to the guideline of a virtuous or philosophic elite. during this remark on Aristotle's politics the writer explores how Aristotle bargains political rule instead to either the guideline of aristocratic advantage and an unchecked participatory democracy. Writing in lucid prose, she deals an interpretation grounded in a detailed examining of the textual content, and mixing a deferential and sufferer try and comprehend Aristotle in his personal phrases with a large, sympathetic, and argumentative interpreting within the secondary literature.

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Aristotle contrasts the male with the female, for example, in respect to intellect. He considers the parts of the soul, which "are present in all, but ... in a different way. The slave is wholly lacking the deliberative element; the female has it, but it lacks authority; the child has it, but it is incomplete" (1260a12-14). By implication, the deliberative element of the male is complete and has authority. Aristotle finds support for the differences between men and women in Sophocles, who said "Silence gives grace to woman" (Ajax, 293).

Some animals eat grass, others meat; some are gregarious, others solitary. So too do the lives of human beings differ greatly because of their different faculties for obtaining food. There are nomadic herdsmen, hunters of various kinds, fishers, and farmers. In all these cases, Aristotle argues, nature has made provision. This argument for natural providence indicates human dependence: different ways of life are the results of the manner in which the necessities are acquired. Human need is so great that it even leads to injustice: Aristotle includes piracy among the natural modes of acquisition, along with hunting, farming, and herding (1256bl-2).

Household management, he says, is more THE ORIGINS OF THE CITY 29 concerned with human beings than its inanimate possessions, and with the virtue or excellence of its free members than with that of its slaves (1259b18-2l). Although men and women originally come together for the sake of reproduction, the highest end of their relationship is their virtue or excellence. Like the city itself, in the course of its development the household acquires ends not implied in its origins. Aristotle's statement early in Book I that the household, like the city, is an association concerned with advantage and justice underscores the centrality of the household in humanity's political development (1253a15-18).

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