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Politics as a vocation, according to Aristotle

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Abstract:

What does Aristotle think of ‘politics as a vocation’? For whom does Aristotle believe that a life devoted to politics is choiceworthy? In Nicomachean Ethics I, 2, Aristotle argues that the goal of politics is the ultimate and natural goal for all human beings. This chapter is often interpreted weakly, as if Aristotle's point were only that human beings are suited to lead lives of general sociability. But what his argument implies is stronger. If the human good, the ultimate end of human action, is the public good, then when each citizen asks, ‘What is the ultimate goal of my actions?’ the correct answer should be, ‘the eudaimonia of my polis’.

Keywords: Aristotle; Max Weber; Nicomachean Ethics; Politics; dominant end; egoism; eudaimonia; happiness; polis; political life; politics; practical wisdom; statesman; vocation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Philosophy Dept., MS 14, Rice University, PO Box 1892, Houston, TX 77251, USA.. Email:donaldm@rice.edu

Publication date: 2001-02-01

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