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Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie

Ed. by de Boer, Karin / Carriero, John / Horn, Christoph / Meyer, Susan Sauvé / Serck-Hanssen, Camilla

Editorial Board: Adamson, Peter / Allen, James V. / Bartuschat, Wolfgang / Curley, Edwin M / Emilsson, Eyjólfur Kjalar / Floyd, Juliet / Förster, Eckart / Frede, Dorothea / Friedman, Michael / Garrett, Don / Grasshoff, Gerd / Guyer, Paul / Irwin, Terence / Kahn, Charles H. / Knuuttila, Simo / Koistinen, Olli / Kosch, Michelle / Kraut, Richard / Longuenesse, Béatrice / McCabe, Mary / Pasnau, Robert / Perler, Dominik / Radcliffe, Elizabeth S. / Reginster, Bernard / Simmons, Alison / Timmermann, Jens / Trifogli, Cecilia / Weidemann, Hermann / Zöller, Günter

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Volume 99, Issue 4


Judging Constitutions: Aristotle’s Critique of Plato’s Republic and Sparta

Thornton Lockwood
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Philosophy and Political Science, Quinnipiac University, CL-AC3 275 Mount Carmel Avenue Hamden CT 06518-1908 Hamden, USA,
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Published Online: 2017-12-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/agph-2017-0018


Although the second book of Aristotle’s Politics distinguishes between proposed and existing constitutions, careful examination of the criteria which Aristotle uses to judge Plato’s Republic and the Spartan constitution blurs the relevance of such a division. Aristotle uses the same four criteria to evaluate both constitutions and scholars have failed to appreciate that he uses the same criteria to organize his presentation of many of the arguments in Politics 2. By contrast, Aristotle discounts the criteria of stability in Politics 2. Aristotle’s selective use of criteria calls into question the claim that his best regime can serve as a regulative ideal for judging existing constitutions.

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About the article

Published Online: 2017-12-06

Published in Print: 2017-12-01

Citation Information: Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie, Volume 99, Issue 4, Pages 353–379, ISSN (Online) 1613-0650, ISSN (Print) 0003-9101, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/agph-2017-0018.

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