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Aristotle's PoliticsLiving Well and Living Together$
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Eugene Garver

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226284026

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226284040.001.0001

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Practical Knowledge and the Four Orientations to the Best

Practical Knowledge and the Four Orientations to the Best

(p.107) Chapter Four Practical Knowledge and the Four Orientations to the Best
Aristotle's Politics

Eugene Garver

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses the presentation of four dimensions of politics in Book IV, which the author refers to here as the four kinds of best. The four inquiries outlined in Politics IV correspond to the four causes. The first, “that which is best in the abstract” orients politics around the end of politics, the best life. The second, the best relative to circumstances, starts with the material cause and organizes political inquiry around the best that can be made out of given material. The third, the best on a hypothesis, starts not from the true end of politics, but any posited end, and so looks for means and devices that will preserve any given constitution. The final inquiry, the search for “the form of constitution which is best suited to states in general,” articulates a formal cause that can organize almost any material, any kind of people.

Keywords:   politics, constitution, political inquiry, circumstances

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