Political Theory 47 (3):363-390 (2019)

For Aristotle, a just political community has to find similarity in difference and foster habits of reciprocity. Conventionally, speech and law have been seen to fulfill this role. This article reconstructs Aristotle’s conception of currency as a political institution of reciprocal justice. By placing Aristotle’s treatment of reciprocity in the context of the ancient politics of money, currency emerges not merely as a medium of economic exchange but also potentially as a bond of civic reciprocity, a measure of justice, and an institution of ethical deliberation. Reconstructing this account of currency in analogy to law recovers the hopes Aristotle placed in currency as a necessary institution particular to the polis as a self-governing political community striving for justice. If currency was a foundational institution, it was also always insufficient, likely imperfect, and possibly tragic. Turned into a tool for the accumulation of wealth for its own sake, currency becomes unjust and a serious threat to any political community. Aristotelian currency can fail precisely because it contains an important moment of ethical deliberation. This political significance of currency challenges accounts of the ancient world as bifurcated between oikos and polis and encourages contemporary political theorists to think of money as a constitutional project that can play an important role in improving reciprocity across society.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0090591718802634
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,464
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Valuing Goods: The Development of Commensurability in Archaic Greece.Mark Peacock - 2021 - AKROPOLIS: Journal of Hellenic Studies 5:89-104.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Aristotle on Corrective Justice.Thomas C. Brickhouse - 2014 - The Journal of Ethics 18 (3):187-205.
Two Conceptions of Justice as Reciprocity.Christie Hartley - 2014 - Social Theory and Practice 40 (3):409-432.
Unconditional Welfare Benefits and the Principle of Reciprocity.Shlomi Segall - 2005 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 4 (3):331-354.
Justice as Fairness and Reciprocity.Andrew Lister - 2011 - Analyze and Kritik 33 (1):93-112.
What We Deserve, and How We Reciprocate.David Schmidtz - 2005 - The Journal of Ethics 9 (3-4):435-464.
Aristotle and the Scope of Justice.David J. Riesbeck - 2016 - Journal of Ancient Philosophy 10 (1):59-91.
Adalet Üzerine.Yücel Dursun - 2006 - Felsefe Tartismalari 37:27-42.


Added to PP index

Total views
21 ( #537,553 of 2,520,772 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #205,225 of 2,520,772 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes