In this book, Kevin M. Cherry compares the views of Plato and Aristotle about the practice, study and, above all, the purpose of politics. The first scholar to place Aristotle's Politics in sustained dialogue with Plato's Statesman, Cherry argues that Aristotle rejects the view of politics advanced by Plato's Eleatic Stranger, contrasting them on topics such as the proper categorization of regimes, the usefulness and limitations of the rule of law, and the proper understanding of phronesis. The various differences between their respective political philosophies, however, reflect a more fundamental difference in how they view the relationship of human beings to the natural world around them. Reading the Politics in light of the Statesman sheds new light on Aristotle's political theory and provides a better understanding of Aristotle's criticism of Socrates. Most importantly, it highlights an enduring and important question: should politics have as its primary purpose the preservation of life, or should it pursue the higher good of living well?
Kevin M. Cherry is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Richmond (Richmond, VA, USA). He has previously taught at Saint Anselm College and the University of Notre Dame, where he earned his PhD. His research has appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, and History of Political Thought.
Introduction; 1. A place for politics: the household and the city; 2. The beginnings and ends of political life; 3. Political knowledge and political power; 4. Political inquiry in Aristotle and the Eleatic Stranger; 5. Philosophy and politics in the Eleatic Stranger, Socrates, and Aristotle; 6. Modern politics, the Eleatic Stranger, and Aristotle; Conclusion.