By Curtis N. Johnson (auth.)
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Additional info for Aristotle’s Theory of the State
In that speculation the rule was logical division, but here it is the feeling for biological form ... in these late books the unbiased 32 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. Descriptive Political Science observation of empirical reality has led him to a wholly different mode of treatment ... Aristotle regards this ... as a revolution in method,' Jaeger (1948), pp. 270-71, and n. 1. One might sometimes disagree with Aristotle's observations. A different scientist looking at the same world might see things differently than Aristotle did.
NE I. xiii 1102 a5-1O, VI. v-viii passim. ). Cf. Barker (1946), p. 320, n. EEE. Aristotle sometimes distinguished between two sorts of statesmen: one who frames (or alters) constitutions, and one who legislates for existing constitutions; see especially II. xii. Cf. also Moraux (1965), pp. 125-48, for the influence of political practice on theoretical discussion in Aristotle. Aristotle's lawgiver is discussed in Riedel (1975), pp. nff. Aristotle is critical of those thinkers, like Plato, who he believes ignore even natural limits in their speculations about the state.
There is one case in particular when they are the same in every respect. This is the rare case of the perfectly just and wise (phronimos) statesman legislating for, or ruling over, the perfectly just state. In this case, and in this case alone, the knowledge of the statesman is of the natural order of political affairs, that is of the state as it aspires to be by nature. Or, to put it differently, the knowledge of the actual (the state as it is) corresponds exactly to the knowledge of the potential (the state as it tries to become) just because in this state alone the potential has become the actual.
Aristotle’s Theory of the State by Curtis N. Johnson (auth.)