Category Archives: Aristotle

The Aristotelian “State” and the Modern “State”

Aristotle’s understanding of politics is founded on the distinction between the polis (city) and the politeia (constitution, regime). The politeia describes not just a written document (a constitution as we understand it), but the whole character of a society which … Continue reading

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Plato, Aristotle, and Augustine on Virtue, Vice, and the Human Will

In the Medieval World course I took last semester, one of my professors made a casual remark about comparing Augustine, Plato, and Aristotle’s understanding of virtue, vice, and the human will. Nothing more was said, but what little was said … Continue reading

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Aristotle and the Flood

In another entry, “Plato and the Famous Flood,” I commented on Plato’s understanding that a great flood had wiped out an ancient, advanced civilization and created rumors and myths of heroes and gods. Aristotle also holds this view. His account … Continue reading

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Amusement, Play, and Leisure

On the difference between leisure and amusement, noted in another recent post, Aristotle says that leisure time cannot be filled with play, because “Play is a thing to be chiefly used in connexion with one side of life – the … Continue reading

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Freedom, Leisure, and the Good Life: Aristotle Versus Us

In Book VII of his Politics, Aristotle discusses his ideal city. In such a place, in order to have what he calls “the good life,” Aristotle says that you can’t be a slave to menial labor or other “vulgar” tasks, … Continue reading

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Aristotle on the Size of the Good City

In Book VII of his Politics, Aristotle says that the size of the polis should be limited by what is best able to achieve its civic concern (the good life, or self-sufficiency in terms of seeking virtue in community). The … Continue reading

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An Overview of Aristotle’s Account of Tyranny

This paper will discuss Aristotle’s account of tyranny, focusing on the questions as why the Philosopher finds it necessary to discuss the possibility of the preservation of tyranny, and what his views on these matters indicate about the nature of … Continue reading

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Aristotle Contra the Social Contract Theory

Aristotle is not a big fan of what we might call “the social contract” theory of government. This is largely because he is interested in what is enduringly natural, but the social contract is merely a matter of changing convention. … Continue reading

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What “the Golden Mean” Really Means

Matt Petersen illuminatingly describes Aristotle’s theory of the ethical “Golden Mean” as against the popular misconception that it means always choosing the “middle road”: for Aristotle, virtue wasn’t a moderation, not even was virtue really at a mean, rather virtue … Continue reading

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Some Applications of Aristotelian Politics to Modern America

[Note: This post is exploratory in nature, not didactic. I am not trying to "teach" Aristotle's Politics or offer authoritative opinions about it, but just pulling together some disparate notes of mine on the Politics. For those familiar with Aristotle's … Continue reading

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