Aristotle’s Criticism of Plato’s Republic [Book Review]

Philosophical Review 109 (3):425-428 (2000)
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Robert Mayhew’s Aristotle’s Criticism of Plato’s Republic focuses on Aristotle’s main objections to Plato’s political philosophy: the degree of unity envisioned by Plato is impossible/undesirable; too much unity undermines self-sufficiency; community of women and children and community of property have numerous adverse effects on society. Mayhew claims that the objections have been largely ignored on the ground that they are facile or unfair. But the purpose of the book is not to show that Aristotle’s thought has been unjustifiably vilified, though Mayhew says that “we shall see in passing that in most cases Aristotle’s criticisms of the Republic are well-founded”. The book’s purpose is to see how the objections illuminate the rest of Aristotle’s political thought. I do not think that Mayhew succeeds in showing either that the arguments are well founded or that they provide interesting illumination. I discuss unity and community of women and property.



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