Aristotle’s State as a Work of Art
This chapter shows how Politics II moves from considering the polis as natural, to the polis as the product of human artifice. Aristotle has exhausted the resources of the analogy between the polis and natural things in the first book, and so turns to the analogies between poleis and artifacts in Book II, to discover the limitations of that analogy as well. Book III will finally put us in a position to think about the state in terms of phronesis, practical wisdom, and neither art nor nature. The chapter also shows that Book I lacks an account of the relation between economic self-sufficiency and the ethical self-sufficiency of the good life. It is argued here that the lack of a single relation between the two leads to the variety of constitutions and the variety of relations between a good polis and a good life.
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