Aristotle's Political Theory: Metaphysics and Physics Meet Ethics and Politics

Aristotle's political theory is the major other of modern political imagination. Unlike the mechanicism of modern political consciousness, Aristotle’s apporach exemplifies the typical organicist understanding of the pre-modern era. In this respect, it is of great importance to separate Aristotle's political theory into its logical and conceptual components both in order to better understand the modern political conception and to see its traditional alternative. Aristotle is a system philosopher, that is, he has not only developed a philosophy that encompasses almost every area of human life, but at the same time, all parts of his philosophical system are built to complement each other. As a matter of fact, it is interesting to see that some concepts cut Aristotle's philosophy horizontally and diffuse into almost all of its subfields. The most significant of these concepts is “nature” or “physis.” From Aristotle's metaphysics and physics to ethics and politics, nature has given Aristotle's thought both an uninterrupted continuity and a strong logical consistency. The most fundamental and defining aspect of Aristotle’s political theory is reflected in his famous assertion that “man is by nature a political animal.” Although contemporary readings on Aristotle's politics generally emphasize "sociality and politicalness" in this expression, in my opinion, the more important element here and the hallmark of his political theory is "naturalness." Thus, in this article, building on the concept of nature we will try to uncover the relationship between Aristotle's metaphysics, physics, politics and ethics.

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