Aristotle and the good ruler

Cameron, M. (2019). Aristotle and the Good Ruler. Philosophy Now, 133, 23-27.

Excerpt: Can Ethical Politics be Taught? Aristotle says that the salvation of the community is the common business of all citizens (Politics, 1276b 30), and to this end they must perform their own business well (40). However, like the captain who must navigate the ship safely to port, the ruler must have the wisdom and virtue to transcend the standpoint of particular citizens and focus on the common good (1287b 5). The idea that rulers must be wiser and more virtuous than ordinary citizens is alien to our understanding of politics. We do not regard elected officials as exemplary citizens. The strangeness of Aristotle’s view should prompt us to ask why politics has become so debased in our view. Aristotle understood democracy to involve the direct participation of citizens in public office. Democracy was enabled when a state was “framed upon the principle of equality and likeness”, in which citizens “think that they ought to hold office by turns” (1279a 10). This explains why Aristotle, like many of his contemporaries, viewed democracy as an especially demanding system of government: it required practical wisdom of all citizens, or at least those who held public office – which for Aristotle could in principle be any citizen.

Read the article: Cameron, M. (2019). Aristotle and the Good Ruler. Philosophy Now, 133, 23-27.



(Something interesting I found)Posted:Sep 01 2019, 12:00 AM by jlmatelski
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