The Fundamental Political Fact: Aristotle's Path to Establishing the Importance of a City's Regime in Politics III/1-9

Joy Samad

Summary: 1. III/1-3: Four questions pointing to the importance of a city’s regime. 2. III/4-5: Limits to a regime’s moral influence over individuals. 3. III/6-8: The classification of regimes: the common advantage and the character of the rulers. 4. III/9: Uncovering the correct understanding of the common advantage: the choice of rulers and the moral influence of the regime. 5. Conclusion.

Abstract: Aristotle shows that routine political questions about citizenship and rule are unavoidably tied up with questions about the city’s identity, and the human type honored by the city. Opposing answers to these questions give rise to the various regimes; these answers contain within them a vision of the ends of the city, and a notion of the common advantage that follows from that vision. A regime’s conception of justice seeps into the parts of the city and integrates them in a way that is both psychic and structural, affecting both the external actions and the inner-disposition of the citizens. While establishing that this comprehensive integration is what makes the regime the fundamental political fact, the key to understanding the nature of a political order, we learn about the limits of political life, through understanding its capacity to promote human virtue and achieve the common advantage.

Keywords: Aristotle, citizenship, political philosophy.