The Politics of Philosophy: A Commentary on Aristotle's Politics

By Michael Davis | Go to book overview

Notes
1.
In the Poetics (1457b3-6) Aristotle uses the word for sovereign, kurion, to describe what turns out to be one of two fundamental aspects of all logos— the ordinary. It is paired with the foreign. See also my Aristotle's Poetics: The Poetry of Philosophy (Savage, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1992), 111-28.
2.
This dyad is connected to a variety of others. In Book 1 it will underlie the division of the household into slave and free, the double treatment of nature as teleological, and the double account of the art of acquisition. In Book 2 it will be at the root of the tension between political knowledge and political practice. In Book 3 it shows itself as the tension between poverty and wealth that ultimately leads to the tensions between the rule of law and the rule of the pambasileus—the all-powerful king—and between philosophy as a model for political life and philosophy as an element of political life. In Books 4 and 6 the dyad is connected to oligarchy and democracy as the elements of all political life, and in Book 5 to the negative determination of the polis. In Books 7-8 it is linked to the double accounts of virtue and of education. The list could easily be extended. To see how far-reaching the implications are of the distinction made at the outset of the Politics, one need only mention the similar dualism in the Metaphysics, where a comprehensive or "democratic" understanding of "being as being" is played off against a hierarchical account of being as the highest being.
3.
See Plato's Phaedrus230d.
4.
Compare 1324b39-1325a1: "... just as one ought not hunt human beings for a feast or a sacrifice but what is to be hunted for this, and whatever wild animal may be eaten is to be hunted."
5.
Compare the beginning of Book 8 (1338b20-30) on cannibalism and murder as the signs of barbarism and also Nicomachean Ethics 1143b20-25.
6.
Compare Nicomachean Ethics 1161a31-b11 where Aristotle makes clear that neither friendship nor justice is possible between master and slave.
7.
Aristotle nevertheless hints at what is to come in the examples that accompany the first statement of nature as teleological. It is curious that he mentions three natural classes to which we are meant to compare the polis: man, horse, and household (oikia). We are led to wonder whether men are

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