Polis 36 (1):57-76 (2019)

Authors
Marguerite Deslauriers
McGill University
Abstract
Aristotle claims that the citizens of the best city should be both intelligent and spirited at Politics VII.7 1327b19-38. While he treats intelligence as an unqualified good, thumos is valuable but problematic. This paper has two aims: to consider the political value of spirit in Aristotle’s Politics and in particular to identify the ways in which it is both essential to political excellence and yet insufficient for securing it, and to use this analysis of the role of spirit in the political realm to explain Aristotle’s exclusion of women from political authority, even in the context of the household. I analyze spirit as a physical phenomenon and as a type of desire, before considering its moral and affective aspects. I then return to the role of spirit in political life and examine its importance for the activity of ruling. In the last section I consider the implications of this analysis of spirit for the social and political roles Aristotle assigns to men and women.
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DOI 10.1163/20512996-12340195
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