Egalitarian Aristotelianism: Common Interest, Justice, and the Art of Politics

Φιλοσοφία/Philosophia. Yearbook of the Research Centre for Greek Philosophy at the Academy of Athens 1 (51):171-186 (2021)
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Abstract

This paper aims to reevaluate Aristotelian political theory from an egalitarian perspective and to pinpoint its legacy and relevance to contemporary political theory, demonstrating its importance for contemporary liberal democracies in a changing world, suggesting a new critique of liberal and neoliberal political theory and practice, and especially the improvement of our notion of the modern liberal-democratic state, since most contemporary representative liberal democracies fail to take into account the public interest of the many and do very little in order to advance it. The paper will focus on key aspects of Aristotle’s thought, such as his notions of justice (δικαιοσύνη/dikaiosunē and ἁπλῶς δίκαιον/aplōs dikaion), concord (ὁμόμοια/homonoia), friendship (φιλία/philia) and the art of ruling (τέχνη τοῦ ἄρχειν/technē tou archein), arguing that Aristotle’s theory requires us to have concern for our fellow citizens; ‘concern for others’ as opposed to the mere ‘respect for others’ that contemporary neo-Kantian liberalism advocates . Hence, I will examine these aspects of Aristotle’s philosophy that have not so far been adequately discussed, in relation to his conception of the ‘common or public interest’ (τὸ κοινῇ συμφέρον/to koinē sympheron) which is essential in order to understand the Aristotelian vision for ‘the art of politics’ (τέχνη τοῦ ἄρχειν) which should always aim towards the interest of the many, i.e., the people (πλῆθος/plēthos).

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