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Aristotle's Politics today by Goodman, Lenn Evan; Talisse, Robert B.; Aristotle

By Goodman, Lenn Evan; Talisse, Robert B.; Aristotle

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As a result, even individuals who are playing or working together see themselves as isolated and separated from others, each pursuing his own happiness apart from the others. Even while promoting individual activity and free association, the liberal state is promoting the sort of individual activity that does not constitute human fulfillment. This conclusion may well be hard to accept. Let us approach it from a different perspective. Consider an individual living in a liberal state who ARISTOTLE AND THE LIBERAL STATE 39 reflects on which ends to pursue.

1178a25–27; cf. 1284a1–3). 4, Aristotle argues that the identity between good person and good citizen holds only for the ruler. However, it is also clear that other citizens exercise derivative forms of the virtues by fulfilling the jobs they have in the state (1277b13–29). The point is that there is a parallel between the character of the state and the character of citizens of that state because the personal faculties individual citizens exercise to maintain a state are a function of its character as a state, and cultivated faculties are virtues.

3 It was assumed as a result of this critique that the Aristotelian claim that the state aims at the good had to be thrown out. ” Specifically, in the modern period the state is assumed (by Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and the entire “natural rights” tradition) to have arisen in response to conditions in a state of nature when people made a covenant that limited and prescribed behaviors necessary for their peaceful coexistence. This initial covenant was to be prescriptive for further decisions made to preserve the state.

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