Aristotle’s Arguments for his Political Anthropology and the Natural Existence of the Polis

In Refik Guremen & Annick Jaulin (eds.), Aristote, L’animal politique. Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne. pp. 31–57 (2017)
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This paper examines Aristotle’s two famous claims that man is by nature a political animal, and that he is the only animal who possesses speech and reason (logos). Aristotle’s thesis that man is by nature a political animal is inextricably linked with his thesis that the polis exists by nature. This paper examines the argument that Aristotle develops in Pol. I. 2 to support these two theses. It argues a) that the definition of man as an animal who possesses logos is part of this argument, b) that in the chapter Aristotle understands the term “political animal” not in a broad biological sense but in a narrow sense, c) that Aristotle’s thesis that the polis is “by nature prior to the household and to the individual” is not an independent third theorem – as David Keyt and Fred D. Miller claim – but is part of this argument.
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