The Macksey Journal


In this paper, I argue that Aristotle’s conception of the polis as natural derives from the specifically human kind of partnership that is tied to the exercise of the specifically human capacity for logos. I argue that Aristotle’s political naturalism is rooted in two claims: (a) the claim that humans are the most political animal and (b) the claim that the polis is naturally prior to the individual. Together these two claims constitute Aristotle’s argument that the polis alone has the potential to fully satisfy our unique human capacity for logos. As I see it, Aristotle thinks that the household and the village are two stages in the development (or growth) of one thing, namely the polis. That is, households and villages are essentially the same (they contain the same form) as the polis, though they are underdeveloped.