The Politics of Aristotle’s Criticism of Plato’s Republic

In Sharon Weisser & Naly Thaler (eds.), Strategies of Polemics in Greek and Roman Philosophy. Brill. pp. 93-112 (2016)
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Abstract
In this paper, I concentrate on some of the more peculiar, perhaps even polemical, features of Aristotle’s discussions of Plato’s Republic in the second book of the Politics. These features include Aristotle’s several rather sharp or ironic remarks about Socrates and his project in the Republic, his use of rhetorical questions, or his tendency to bring out the most extreme consequences of Socrates’s theory (such as that it will destroy the polis and that it will lead to incestuous relationships). As I argue, some of these polemical features result from the special character of Socrates’ theory that Aristotle criticizes whereas others are consciously aimed at countering the attractive force of Socrates’s image of the ideal city, which can and does appeal to readers over and above its theoretical, purely rational credentials.
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