AuthorGill, David Ronald
Committee ChairAnnas, Julia E.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn the Politics, Aristotle claims that a distinctive feature of civic relations is that citizens are "free and equal". Also in the Politics, Aristotle claims that, as a matter of social justice, political power should be unequally distributed because citizens differ in axia ("worth" or "merit"). The tensions that the conjunction of these two claims introduces for Aristotle's political thought, and the theoretical moves Aristotle makes to overcome these tensions, have (I believe) been insufficiently explored. The following study (1) examines Aristotle's explanation of each of the above claims, (2) considers the problem which their conjunction produces for Aristotle's general account of the nature of the political community, and (3) explains and evaluates Aristotle's efforts to accommodate an aristocratically-rooted principle of distributive justice to a basic equality of status among all citizens. In the end, I argue, these efforts are not completely successful; however, Aristotle's project of reconciliation is itself historically important, and is one of the keys to understanding Aristotle's departure from previous thinkers in political theory, most notably Plato.