Constitutions and Political Rights

Fred D. Miller

in Nature, Justice, and Rights in Aristotle's Politics

Published in print May 1997 | ISBN: 9780198237266
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598043 | DOI:
Constitutions and Political Rights

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Aristotle's constitutional theory applies his theory of justice and rights to the unifying institutions of the polis (city‐state). He defines a citizen as one who has a liberty right to partake in deliberative or judicial office. He distinguishes between constitutions in terms of whether they are correct (just) or deviant (unjust) and on the basis of whether political rights are assigned to one, few, or many persons––resulting in a six‐fold classification of constitutions: kingship versus tyranny, aristocracy versus oligarchy, and polity versus democracy. In Politics IV, Aristotle develops a more complicated system of classification involving different modes of deliberation, adjudication, and magistracy. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the tasks of politics, including legislation in ideal and realistic situations and reform of defective constitutions.

Keywords: Aristotle; citizen; constitution; justice; legislation; mixed constitution; office; politics; rights; state

Chapter.  21545 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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