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Nature, Justice, and Rights in Aristotle's Politics$
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Fred D. Miller

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198237266

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019823726X.001.0001

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Nature and Politics

Nature and Politics

(p.27) 2 Nature and Politics
Nature, Justice, and Rights in Aristotle's Politics

Fred D. Miller (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Aristotle's politics may be characterized as ‘naturalistic’, in the sense that it assigns a fundamental role to the concept of nature in the explanation and evaluation of the political community. Aristotle's naturalism is summed up in three claims: the polis (city‐state) exists by nature, human beings are by nature political animals, and the polis is by nature prior to the individual. Aristotle has been accused of inconsistency because he also asserts that the human lawgiver brings the polis into existence. This chapter, however, defends Aristotle's theory by arguing that his complex natural teleology permits nature and legislation to be cooperative causes of the political community. Also compares and contrasts his political naturalism with modern theories on the state.

Keywords:   Aristotle, legislation, naturalism, nature, politics, state, teleology

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