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Minimally, Aristotle’s account of the ‘city’ (polis) is isomorphic with his metaphysical doctrine of substance (ousia) and teleological conception of nature. Maximally, his political theory depends on it. Part I explains what this means. Part II discusses the significant consequences the notion of a ‘substantial city’ has for Aristotle’s political theory. Part III suggests how this notion can be deployed to address the notorious question of whether the Politics forms a unified whole, or whether Books 4, 5 and 6 — the ‘realist’ or empirical books—simply cannot be reconciled with Books 1, 2, 3, 7 and 8, the more ‘idealist’ or even ‘Platonist’ side of the work.

In: Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek and Roman Political Thought
In: Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy


In Book 8 of the Politics Aristotle argues that because music can ‘fashion the character of the soul’ (1340b12) it merits a place in the paideia, the education, of the young. He then asks whether it is sufficient for students ‘to enjoy the playing of music by others’ (1339b6) or must they ‘learn by singing and actually putting their hands to the playing of instruments?’ (1340b21)? His answer will be the latter but only ‘up to a point’ (mechri tinos: 1337b15). The purpose of this paper is to explore why he thinks this. As we shall see, pursuing this question will lead to a far more general one: why does Aristotle impose strict limits on the role of technical knowledge (technē), including the playing of musical instruments, in the education of free citizens?

In: Greek and Roman Musical Studies
This volume represents some of the activities of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy from the academic year 1996-97. It contains eight colloquia which were hosted by seven different universities within the greater Boston area. The volume is dominated by discussions of the works of Plato, while there is one colloquium dedicated to Artistotle and another to Sophocles' Philoctetes. With regard to Plato, his notion of the philosopher-ruler gets most attention, while other topics discussed include his concept of thinking, the role which perplexity plays in his dialogues, his theory of sense perception in the Timaeus, and the image of the prisoners in the Republic. With respect to Aristotle there is a discussion of essence and necessity in his concept of science, while the paper on Sophocles discusses the related themes of friendship and virtue.

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