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  • Author or Editor: Adriel M. Trott x
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Departing from Aristotle’s two-fold definition of anthrōpos (human) as having logos and being political, the argument of this article is that human beings are always fundamentally political for Aristotle. This position challenges the view that ethical life is prior to or beyond the scope of political life. Aristotle’s conception of the political nature of the human is developed through a reading of the linguistic argument at Politics 1.2; a careful treatment of autos, or self, in Aristotle; and an examination of the political nature of anthrōpos in the context of Aristotle’s candidates for the best life in Politics VII.1–3 and Nicomachean Ethics X.6–8. From this consideration the compatibility between Aristotle’s claims that anthrōpos is fundamentally political and that the highest end of the human is achieved in theoria is maintained, since even in pursuing the theoretic life, human beings take up the practical question of what the best life is.

In: Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek and Roman Political Thought
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This article considers Plato’s view of philosophy depicted in his cave analogy in light of Arendt’s distinction between Socratic and Platonic philosophy. Arendt argues that philosophy functions, for Socrates, in an immanent world, characterized by examining and considering—in addition to refining opinions through persuasion about—the currency of politics, which thereby closely associates philosophy with politics. On her view, Plato makes philosophy transcend politics—the world of opinion—when Socrates fails to persuade the Athenians. The cave analogy seems to support Arendt’s view that Plato disparages the immanent philosophical project she associates with Socrates. I argue that Plato depicts in the cave analogy particular difficulties in judging the assertion of the one who claims to have left, since, in the cave, that assertion becomes an opinion among opinions because it cannot be evaluated with reference to a transcendent truth by those in the cave. As a result, those in the cave cannot discern whether the one claiming to have left has the knowledge required to rule justly or is a tyrant claiming to have such knowledge in order to secure power. I conclude that Plato depicts the cave and its difficulties to invite the reader to engage in a philosophical project of judging for oneself, rather than accepting the rule of another who claims to know.

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In: Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy
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This paper argues that Aristotle challenges the view of Athenian democrats that all rule is master rule – the imposition of the will of the powerful on the powerless – by arguing that the politeuma, or government, should be identical with the politeia, understood both as the constitution and the collectivity of citizens. I examine Aristotle’s analysis and response to democrats’ skepticism of the law that the constitution embodies. Aristotle argues that democrats think law limits license even when the source of law is the people themselves. The view of citizens as the source of law coupled with the view of the law as a commitment to collective determinations regarding the end makes law salvation rather than slavery.

In: Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek and Roman Political Thought