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Natural Tensions in Aristotle’s Polis and Their Contemporary Manifestations

  • Gregory KirkEmail author


In this paper, I perform an analysis of Aristotle’s organic analogy when discussing the different “organs” of the Greek polis. I argue that this analysis demonstrates that the proper functioning of the polis depends upon the generation of different forms of life that will incline towards tension with one another, due to the fact that some members will be prevented by their form of life from enjoying the chief virtue of political life, namely, the accomplishment of human virtue and the good life. I argue that, at least within the context of the polis, there remains the possibility that those disenfranchised people experience sensuous recognition that they are contributing to human thriving. I contrast this with the modern city, in which what existed as a natural and visible tension in the polis becomes a concealed tension, with the result that no such recognition is possible, leaving modern city-dwellers alienated from the conditions that generate their forms of life.


Aristotle Politics Marx Alienation Cities 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

I, Greg Kirk, the author of this document, have not received any research grants which would constitute a conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northern Arizona UniversityFlagstaffUSA

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