History of Philosophy Quarterly 32 (4):293-311 (2015)

Ben Bryan
North Carolina State University
Aristotle claims that human beings are by nature political animals. We might think there is a way for non-Aristotelians to affirm something like this—that human beings are political, though not by nature in the Aristotelian sense. It is not clear, however, precisely what this amounts to. In this paper, I try to explain what the claim that human beings are political animals might mean. I also consider what it would it look like to defend this claim, which I call the normative political animal thesis. I argue that this thesis cannot be given a general defense. Successful arguments for the normative political animal thesis must be made within particular ethical frameworks. To illustrate what such an argument might look like, I sketch a defense of the normative political animal thesis within a roughly Lockean rights theory, where its adoption seems especially promising.
Keywords Aristotle  Locke  Kant  political animal
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References found in this work BETA

Nicomachean Ethics.H. Aristotle & Rackham - 1968 - Harvard University Press.
The Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1797/1996 - Cambridge University Press.
Two Treatises of Government.John Locke - 1988 - Cambridge University Press.

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