Justifiable Inequality and the Different Kinds of Civic Excellence
First, we must look again at Aristotle’s use of the word koinon in the context of political life. In the opening line of the Politics1 he asserts categorically that each state is an association or a ‘communion’ (koinōnia). Elsewhere,2 he remarks that if a constitution is to survive, all members of the state must combine actively to promote its continuance. He also observes that men are drawn together in society by a natural impulse and by some common interest in the enjoyment of the good life.3 In the Nichomachean Ethics,4 he takes up the point by stressing that there are other forms of community, such as a household, a village, religious guilds, social clubs, and also the relations between buyer and seller, and he notes that in each some principle of justice as well as of friendship usually exists. These particular forms of community, he considers, are all parts of the political one. However, whereas the former aim at particular advantages or at what is temporally expedient, the aim of a body politic is for the common advantage and for the good of life as a whole.
KeywordsMiddle Class Common Good Political Community Civic Virtue Body Politic
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