Aristotle's Politics Reconsidered

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:
Aristotle's Politics Reconsidered

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Assesses the presuppositions underlying Aristotle's political theory. The principle of teleology holds that human beings strive to fulfil certain natural ends such as rationality and social cooperation; the principle of perfectionism holds that the good for human beings consists in the attainment of these ends; the principle of community holds that individuals can attain the good only if they are subject to the authority of the community, including the state (political community); and the principle of rulership holds that the community (including the state) can function successfully only if order is imposed on it by rational agents. This chapter considers the extent to which these principles may be defended against powerful objections that have been raised by modern philosophers and scientists. Finally, it is pointed out that the modern theory of rights, which assumes a version of extreme individualism, faces serious difficulties, so that Aristotle's theory of rights, based on a moderately individualistic theory of justice, is an alternative still worthy of serious consideration.

Keywords: Aristotle; authority; individualism; justice; nature; perfectionism; politics; rights; state; teleology

Chapter.  20154 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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