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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19313

Title: La science politique d'Aristote : L'architecture de l'action
Authors: Cordell, Crystal J.
Advisor: Pangle, Thomas L.
Department: Political Science
Keywords: Aristotle
political science
action
nature
teleology
best regime
virtue
prudence
philosophy
Issue Date: 5-Mar-2010
Abstract: This dissertation is an examination of Aristotle’s political science. The first part begins by comparing the Aristotelian conception of the human being as a political animal with subsequent conceptions, notably in the political thought of Cicero, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. This comparative analysis shows that human nature is increasingly conceived as apolitical, a major consequence of which is a rejection of the Aristotelian conception of logos (speech, reason) as a natural capacity for reasoning about justice and injustice. It is then demonstrated that modern political science rejects Aristotle’s argument that there is a good for human beings as such which is constitutive of their end (telos), in the same way that modern science abandoned Aristotelian natural teleology. While contemporary currents of political thought, including neo-Aristotelianism, republicanism and communitarianism, make use of certain elements of Aristotle’s thought, they largely fail to recover the critical notions of action and nature. Having cleared major obstacles that bar our access to Aristotle’s political science, the dissertation moves, in the second part, to a textual analysis of the Politics, which, it is argued, constitutes not a work fractured between its “realistic” and “idealistic” parts, but a unified inquiry into both defective political regimes and the best regime, the guiding question of which is: how to render human beings good. The analysis begins by a consideration of the naturalness of the city and examines the various ways in which the notion of “nature” is used by Aristotle. It is then argued that, according to Aristotle’s presentation, political life is the fulfillment of human nature insofar as it represents the possibility of an ethical and moral life. Accordingly, political science, and legislative or “architectonic” science in particular, is to be devoted to moral education. Aristotle is critical of an education that neglects the virtues necessary for leisure in favour of military virtues alone, while acknowledging that cities must be prepared for war. Through an examination of the legislative science and political prudence, it is shown that Aristotle’s political science is capable of providing action with a moral orientation, without having recourse to metaphysical cosmology.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19313
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Political Science - Doctoral theses

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