Southwest Philosophy Review 32 (1):85-91 (2016)

Seena Eftekhari
Tufts University
Aristotle notoriously excludes free women and both male and female artisans and slaves from citizenship in the polis on the basis of an identifiable difference in nature: all of these groups, unlike free males, possess and exhibit some delinquency in their capacity for reason. Commentators have typically interpreted Aristotle’s comments on the nature of free women by suggesting that free women by nature have heightened or increased propensities towards incontinent behavior. If this is indeed the only difference between the natures of free men and free women, then it remains difficult to see why the appropriate modes of education in addition to the practice of habit would fail to ameliorate this deficiency in free women. My intention is to argue that Aristotle does think of the difference in the capacity for reason between free men and free women as a difference of kind—namely, women lack the capacity to develop practical reason—and as a result, justifiably, at least within the suppositions of his own position, excludes free women from citizenship.
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0897-2346
DOI 10.5840/swphilreview20163219
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