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Author Doneson, Daniel Adam
Title The contest of regimes and the problem of justice: Political lessons from Aristotle's "Politics"
book jacket
Descript 294 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 67-11, Section: A, page: 4207
Adviser: Robert Pippin
Thesis (Ph.D.)--The University of Chicago, 2006
My dissertation is an attempt to answer the question, what is politics? by exploring the treatment of the question in Aristotle's Politics , book three. Counter to contemporary political scientists such as Huntington and Fukuyama and political theorists such as Rawls, Habermas and Benhabib I show that the contest over regimes, and the disagreement over justice that animates it, is an in-eliminable part of our experience, what Aristotle calls politics in the precise sense. Against those scholars who argue that the book is an incoherent jumble of notes I show that the book is a carefully wrought whole, written in such a fashion so as to pedagogically educate the reader by ascending through various opinions and objections in exploring the central normative dimensions, tensions and paradoxes of political life. I argue against the customary reading that Aristotle's concept of the regime is merely a juridical notion, and demonstrate that it is not only his fundamental political concept, bound as it is to the definition of the city and the citizen, but it is indeed all-encompassing, normative, at once the way of life of the community, an answer to the question, who rules and in the name of what?, and the tone of a society set by the social stratification of those who actually rule, that is to say, the factual distribution of power in any given community. Next, I examine Aristotle's discussion of who ought to rule, or who ought to be the sovereign authority by means of an examination of the complex discussions of his cases for democracy, oligarchy, aristocracy and monarchy and bring out the inherent problems of the justice of each. Finally, I show how Aristotle's discussion of the problem of the man of outstanding virtue is meant to bring out the essential limitations on the justice and rationality of political life and what this implies about his conception of the role of the political philosopher, political philosophy, and writings like the Politics in political life. In conclusion I lay out several objections to Aristotle's approach and adumbrate a truly immanent difficulty with Aristotle's position
School code: 0330
DDC
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 67-11A
Subject Philosophy
Political Science, General
0422
0615
Alt Author The University of Chicago
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