Aristotle's conception of freedom

Journal of the History of Philosophy 35 (4):495-507 (1997)
Aristotle's Conception of Freedom MOIRA M. WALSH That human being is free, we say, who exists for his own sake and not for another's. ' 1. INTRODUCTION THERE IS NO PLACE in the Nicomachean Ethics, or the Politics, where Aristotle provides us with an explicit definition of freedom. Nevertheless, it is possible to glean Aristotle's notion of freedom from a series of passages in the Politics, in which Aristotle discusses such matters as the existence of the natural slave, and the understanding of freedom underlying certain forms of democracy. This effort is useful insofar as it not only helps us to understand Aristotle, but also presents us with a conception of freedom interestingly different from many contemporary versions and perhaps worth our consideration. ~ The reader will notice that I deliberately retain, for the most part, the generic use of 'man' and of masculine pronouns in translating and commenting on Aristotle, a practice which cannot go without explanation in this day and age. Such terms in English convey just the same ambiguity as Aristode's Greek does when, for instance, he uses the masculine adjectives eleutheros or agathos as generic terms -- that is, they leave the reader uncertain as to whether women are considered capable of freedom or goodness in the same way that men are, with the suspicion that they are not. I do not share the opinion, apparently held by Aristotle, that members of my gender are..
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DOI 10.1353/hph.1997.0081
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