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Aristotle on Governance - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 314
Governance/Aristotle/Keyt/Miller: The antithesis between rulers and subjects is a major topic in the Politics. Aristotle articulates a principle tacitly assumed in most of Greek political thought - that political communities must divide into rulers and ruled (Pol. VII.14.1332b12-13). This
principle of rulership is an instance of a broader Aristotelian principle applicable to all of nature - that in every unified entity there is ruler and ruled (Pol. I.5.1254a28-33). What this broader principle denies is that order ever arises spontaneously by an 'invisible hand' (as in a free economy) without some governing power. (For discussion see Miller, 1995(1): 366-73.) The difference of political rule from regal and despotic rule, the key question of the Politics introduced in its opening chapter, is part of the same topic. Political rule is rule over people who are free and
equal where each one rules and is ruled in turn (Pol. I.7.1255b20, III.6.1279a8-lO). Such rule is characteristic of democracy (Pol. VI.2.1317a40-bl 7). Aristotle is more favourable to democracy than Plato, and in his famous 'summation' argument, which applies his favoured standard for distributing political power to men taken collectively as well as individually (Pol. Ill. I l), he even offers an 'aristocratic' justification (for which see Keyt, 1991a(2): 270—2; Waldron, 1995(3)).>Constitution/Aristotle, >Tyranny/Aristotle, >Nomos/Aristotle, >Politics/Aristotle; Cf. >Family/Aristotle.

Pol: Aristotle Politics


1. Miller, Fred D. (1995) Nature, Justice, and Rights in Aristotle's Politics. Oxford: Claredon.
2. Keyt, David (1991a) 'Aristotle's theory of distributive justice'. In David Keyt and Fred D. Miller, eds, A Companion to Aristotle's Politics. Oxford: Blackwell.
3. Waldron, Jeremy (1995) 'The wisdom of the multitude: some reflections on Book 3, Chapter Il of Aristotle's Politics'. Political Theory, 23: 563-84.

Keyt, David and Miller, Fred D. jr. 2004. „Ancient Greek Political Thought“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-07-30
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