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Northeastern Political Science Association

Aristotle on Participatory Democracy


Author(s): Delba Winthrop
Reviewed work(s):
Source: Polity, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Winter, 1978), pp. 151-171
Published by: Palgrave Macmillan Journals
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on
Aristotle
Democracy
Participatory
Delba Winthrop
ofVirginia
University

have in recentyearsbeen
The natureand role of politicalparticipation
thecenterof discussionwithreferenceto boththeAmericansystemof
and themoregeneralconceptsof politicalscience.The
government
of theFoundingFathersof theAmericanrepublic
patentindifference
to participatory
democracyseemsto have leftthemopen to thechargeof
undemocratic
tendencies.This articlearguesthatsuch criticismignores
themorebasic questionof whyparticipatory
democracyshould be
the
desirable.For a clearerunderstanding
of
principlesand problems
involvedtheauthorrefersto Aristotle'sanalysisof politicalsystems,
and speculates
examininghis reasonsin favorofdemocraticparticipation
can be reconciledwithitsunarticulated
as to howparticipation
premises.
and ForeignAffairs
is assistantprofessorof Government
Delba Winthrop
has
articles
on Aristotleand
at theUniversity
She
of Virginia.
published
Tocquevillein PoliticalTheoryand Publius.Anotherarticleis forthcomingin The AmericanPoliticalScienceReview.ProfessorWinthrop
is presently
workingon a book on Tocqueville'sDemocracyin America.

ofpoliticalphilosophy
Whenpoliticalscientists
readArisandhistorians
to
what
totletoday,theyareunderstandably
he might
tempted speculate
arevitally
havesaidabouta politicalproblem
withwhichwe Americans
If ourownthoughts
aboutparticiconcerned:
democracy.
participatory
be
to
were
it
clear, might unnecessary consultArispatorydemocracy
tendstobe,at best,oflittlehelptodembut
totle; contemporary
analysis
insufficient
fora coherent
ocraticpoliticsand,at worst,
politicalscience.
if in varying
advocate-even
scientists
all
today
Virtually political
in
itis "dembecause
for
various
and
ends-participationpolitics
degree

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152 Aristotle
on Participatory
Democracy
ocratic."1 All but some radicalsagreethatparticipatory
democracy
makesforinefficient
whiletheseradicalscan onlyhopethat
government,
citizens'
mustbe
theywillbe showncorrect.
Consequently,
participation
All do
desiredforsomeotherreasonthantosecureefficient
government.
that
a
of
make
useful
is
to
admit,however,
degree participation
governmentsecure:To keep even an inefficient
and imprudent
government
to permit
at leastminimal
itmaybe necessary
functioning
participation.
Mostagreethatparticipation
is justified
in partbecauseit satisfies
indican forcetheruling"elite"to meettheir
vidualswho,by participating,
demands.Since thesedemandsare chiefly
substantive
economic,the
are morewidelyand equallydistributed.
benefits
of modern
technology
At the same time,loyaltyto the elite,hencestability,
is purchased.
thatparticipation
itself
is goodfortheparticipants
Finally,
manycontend
becauseitbrings
mentalillnesses
suchas
satisfaction,
psychic
combating
contendthatparticialienation.
Thus,contemporary
politicalscientists
is bad or qualifiedly
patory
governments
democracy
goodfordemocratic
ifvaguely,
andunqualifiedly,
citizens.
goodfordemocratic
The failureofAmerican
to cometo gripswiththe
politicalscientists
oftheFounders
of
reflects
ambivalence
toward
the
problem participation
is
first
as
ours
the
constituted
democracy.
Historically
polityintentionally
a democratic
Yet
what
the
Declaration
of
republic.
Independence
promisesis to secureourlives,ourliberty,
not
and ourpursuit
ofhappiness,
aboutwhether
shouldbe busedto an
to deliberate
ourchildren
ourright
is deemedjustbecauseitsactionsare
school.Ourgovernment
integrated
to rather
consented
thanparticipated
in.According
to TheFederalist
we
we
havea democratic
have
a
because
republic
democracy.2
representative
Citizensconsenteveryfewyearsto be governed
byelecting
representaandthis,in thejudgment
tivesanda president;
oftheFounders,
was the
extent
in
and in
of
democratic
Democratic
theory
proper
participation.
a
was
to
be
mix
with
our
of
rhetoric, government
democracy aristocracy
inpractice.
andmonarchy
1. A veryusefulsurveyand bibliography
of thecurrentpoliticalscienceliteratureon democracyand participation
can be foundin Dennis F. Thompson,The
DemocraticCitizen (London: CambridgeUniversity
Press, 1970), and "Political
of
A PerennialIssue Paper fortheDivisionof EducationalAffairs
Participation,"
the AmericanPoliticalScienceAssociation(Washington,
D.C., 1977). Thompson
in perspective
putsthe literature
by treatingnot onlythe acknowledged
pointsof
but also the
among contemporary
disagreement
politicalscientistsand theorists,
premisestacitlysharedby them.The centralissuesof thecurrentdisputeare also
reflectedin Carole Pateman,Participationand Democratic Theory (London:
Press,1970).
CambridgeUniversity
2. AlexanderHamilton,JamesMadison,JohnJay,The FederalistPapers (New
York: New AmericanLibrary,1961), No. 10, pp. 81-88; No. 63, p. 387.

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Delba Winthrop153
to be theproduct
Sincethedemocratic
republicis saidbyitsframers
of a newscienceof politics,"
modernpoliticalpracticecan be said to
in modernpoliticaltheory.
Modernpoliticalpracticegivesus
originate
democratic
once
and
participation removedfromactualdeliberations,
on whatincumbents
thisonlyrarely.We participate
onlyin reflecting
andin evaluating
whatcandidates
havedonein office
proposetodo. We
put ourselvesin theirplaces in orderto choosewhomto put in our
modernpoliticaltheory
participaplaces.Similarly,
givesus democratic
is legitimate
in
tionby teaching
us thatgovernment
onlyifit originates
theconsent
ofthegoverned.
Butthesocialcontract
thatinstitutes
governmentsignifies
thesurrender
ofournatural
to govern
or notto govrights
we establish
ernourselves
as we choose.The government
has as itsend
of happinessthatwe wouldhavesoughtfor
thepreconditions
securing
forhimself,
so longas
and it allowseach to definehappiness
ourselves,
forothers.In otherwords,
he is notmadehappybydefining
happiness
we do not
moderndemocratic
theory
givesus civil,notpolitical,
liberty;
the
or
deliberate
and
about
make
judgments
public common
regularly
Hence
the
makes
no
of
thatAmeritheory
promises participation
good.
canpractice
hasnotkept.
do recommend
Of coursesomemodernpoliticaltheorists
participaBut their
most
and
his followers.
Rousseau
tion,
notablyJean-Jacques
a
on thedesignsof our Founders,
theories
had no significant
influence
are
testifactto whichthecomplaints
oftheiranti-Federalist
opponents
for
mony.Today,thosewhoseeksupportin modernpoliticalthought
at
do
not
the
same
time
theirownadvocacyofparticipatory
democracy
Founders.
appealto or applaudtheAmerican
in whichourpoliticalpracticehas
Sincethemodernpoliticaltheory,
itsorigins,
recommends
so longas it is nonparticipatory,
itis
democracy
no wonderthatcontemporary
finditdifficult
to speak
politicalscientists
To do so, it is necessary
to fordemocracy.
clearlyaboutparticipatory
forparticipatory
andthenevaluate
mulatethebestargument
democracy
obscuresthe
Becausetherhetoric
of modern
ithonestly.
politicaltheory
ofdemocracy,
do welltobeginwitha premodern
issue,wemight
analysis
Politics.
suchas theonefoundinBook InIofAristotle's
I
is now ofteneitherabusedforhis antidemoAristotle
Unfortunately,
craticprejudices
or mistreated
by beingmadeto appearmoresympa3. Ibid.,No. 9, pp. 72-73.

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154 Aristotle
on Participatory
Democracy
thetic
towarddemocracy
ofcourse,livedin
thanhereallywas.Aristotle,
a democracy
and acknowledged
thatdemocracy
was the mostlikely
retheleastbad of defective
regimeforhisday.He judgeddemocracy
inferior
to
some
rare
and
to
the
alternatives
gimes,
types superior
likely
of oligarchy
Thisjudgment
antidemocratic
and tyranny.
reflects
neither
nor
In fact,Aristotle
prejudice prodemocratic
presented
argusympathy.
mentsagainstas wellas fordemocracy.
is thathisarguMycontention
mentswereformulated
to showwhata coherent
defenseof democracy
wouldhaveto be. To be morespecific,
nearthecenterofBook In ofthe
he asserts
thata certain
kindofdemocracy
is just,whilenearthe
Politics,
end of thatbookhe makestheidentical
fora certaintypeof
assertion
I shall arguethatthisapparentcontradiction
is merelyto
monarchy.
articulate
on whichthecase fordemocracy
thepremises
mustproperly
of
rest,and at thesametime,to bringto lighttheactualshortcomings
in termsofitsownpremises.
democracy
as
First,let us makeclearwhatwe meanby democracy,
beginning,
doesAristotle,
a citizen.
To speakofcitizens
is necessarily
to
bydefining
hence
of
to
the
the
foreproblem politicalparticipation,
bringpolitics,
At thebeginning
ofBook III,Aristotle
askswhata citizenis, and
front.
an answeris suppliedand thenmodified.
In thefinal,modified
form,a
as "onewhohastheright(power)to shareintheoffice
citizenis defined
of deliberating
and judgingwithskill"(1257bl8-19). Whenthisfinal
definition
is offered,
Aristotle
at definipointsoutthattheinitialattempt
a democratic
tionhad succeededonlyin defining
citizen.We,however,
intheinitialattempt
aremoreinterested
forthatveryreason.
to
that
a
citizen
is
"one
injudging
whoparticipates
According
attempt,
andruling"(1257a23). The formula
seemsso obviousas to appearunWe can learnmorefromconsidering
whatthecitizenis said
interesting.
notto be. First,thiscitizenis nota "made"citizencreatedbysomehumanact,noris he one who"chances"to be a citizen;therefore,
he is
or
a
citizen.
a
he
is
not
citizen merely
Second,
naturally fittingly
bydwellalien;thus,
ing someplace,like someonewiththestatusof a resident
in thebenefits
ofeconomicprosperity
is notthesameas particisharing
ofhavingaccessto
Third,he is nota citizenbyvirtue
patingpolitically.
thecourtsfortheenforcement
of his rights
againstothers;henceeven
civilrights
is notthesameas participating
Fourth,
enjoying
politically.
he is nota citizenifhe is tooyoungor tooold,likesomeonewhois too
and to voteandrunforoffice.
Someonewhois the
youngto be drafted
would
henceinthefulness
of
right
age
likelybe intheprimeofmanhood,
hisbeing.Sucha manis a citizenwhodeliberates
intheassembly
(as do
our electedrepresentatives
in Congress) and judges (as do our jurorson
dutyand our electedor appointedjudges in courts). Deliberatingand

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Delba Winthrop155
definition,
then,aretheactsnotonlyof citizenship,
judgingin thisfirst
butofhumanity.
WhenAristotle
aboutdemocracy,
he clarifies
speaksat greater
length
thedemocrat's
reasonsforsupposing
thateveryhumanbeingoughtto
engageinpolitical
activity:
Nowa fundamental
formofconstitution
ofthedemocratic
principle
is whatis usuallyasserted,
is liberty-that
thatonlyunder
implying
thisconstitution
in liberty,
do menparticipate
fortheyassertthis
ofliberty
as theaimofeverydemocracy.
Butonefactor
is togovern
of justiceis to
and be governed
in turn;forthepopularprinciple
haveequality
tonumber,
andifthisis theprinnotworth,
according
of
be soverof
must
the
multitude
necessity
ciple justiceprevailing,
conof
the
be
final
and
the
decision
must
and
must
eign
majority
for
an
stitute
each
of
citizens
to
have
that
the
justice, theysay
ought
so
it
in
that
results
that
are
more
democracies
the
equalshare;
poor
thantherich,becausethereare moreof themand whatpowerful
Thisthenis one mark
everis decidedbythemajority
is sovereign.
ofliberty
oftheconstiwhichall democrats
setdownas a principle
Andoneis fora mantoliveas helikes;fortheysaythatthis
tution.
ofliberty,
as to livenotas onelikesis the
inasmuch
is thefunction
lifeofa manthatis a slave.Thisis thesecondprinciple
ofdemocracy,andfromithascometheclaimnotto be governed,
preferably
in turn;
or failing
notbyanybody,
that,to governandbe governed
to
and thisis theway in whichthesecondprinciple
contributes
(1317a40-1317b17)
liberty.4
egalitarian
is equalpolitical
The first
ofdemocracy
principle
bywhich
participation,
is meantnot"oneman,onevote"as an equalsayin whoultimately
can
makechoices,butan equal sayin whatis chosenandforwhatend.Acto Aristotle's
ofdemocracy
demandspolitaccount,thepartisan
cording
icalequality
becausehe believesthattheexerciseoffreedom
is a worthy
choiceforman.The defense
ofthedemocratic
of
equal
principle
particior stability
or the
efficiency
pationis notmadeintermsofgovernmental
it
rests
a
satisfaction
but
on
the
belief
that
psychic
provides,
being whole
ofthissort.Democracy
humanbeingmeansbeinga politicalparticipant
to do myownthing,
is demanded
notforthesakeofa right
butbecause
to liveas a manought.If thedemocratic
conofan obligation
partisan's
from
the
clusion--equalpoliticalparticipation-follows
premisethat
4. Aristotelis,
Politica,ed. W. D. Ross (Oxford:OxfordUniversity
Press,1957).
I have used the translationof H. Rackham (Cambridge,Mass: Harvard Uniwherenecessary.
versityPress, 1932), exceptthatI have made corrections

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156 Aristotle
on Participatory
Democracy
intheactivity
thenthecase for
offreedom,
beinga manmeansengaging
to
rest
on
seems
democracy
compelling
participatory
grounds.
The partisanof democracy
is foundonlyin a
allegesthatfreedom
democratic
andthatdemocracy
musttherefore
be thebestregime,
regime
sincelivingfreely
is howa manwishesto live.He further
allegesthatall
menparticipate
in freedom
we
are
led to suspecteither
(1280a5). But
thathe doesnotknowwhatitmeansto be freeor thathe doesnotargue
in good faith.WhenAristotle
thedemocratic
firstpresents
slogan,he
it as justthat:a slogan.Aristotle
northe
was neither
thefirst
presents
scientist
lastpolitical
to noticethatthetwomostobviousrivalsforpolitical authority
are therichand thepoorandthattheyuse theirauthority
rich.The politicalsloganof therich,by
to keep or makethemselves
whichtheyproposeto securetheirownexclusive
is thatthose
authority,
whocontribute
tothecityoughttobe givena proportionate
sayindeterhowresources
are to be used (1280a22-23). Theyimplythat
mining
citizenparticipation
requiressome abilityor virtueand thatwhatis
meantby virtueis whatcontributes
to thecommonbenefit.
Theymay
wellerrin takingwealthto be botha signof virtueand thegoodmost
needful
to thecommunity
(1280a25-36 with1281a4-40); buttherich
other
have
useful
to theirwealth:theresponsimay
qualitiesin addition
ble habitsofbusinessmen,
theadmirable
manners
foundamongmenof
oldwealth,
a better
education(1283a29-37). Democrats,
whoarenoteneither
for
their
nor
for
their
to thecomvirtue
contributions
worthy
nonetheless
that
assert
are
"free."
munity,
they
Comparedto therich
theirs
strikes
us
as
civil
a
an
barely
wayofdemanding
man'sassertion,
to
in
the
their
hands
till
opportunityput
public (1281a11-16).
The democrat's
demand,whichappearsto neglectanyconsideration
of thecitizen'smerits,
has an additional
notto sayunjust,
undesirable,
If equalityweregivento eachman,poorfreemenwould
consequence.
a majority
in opposition
to a minority
ofrich
virtually
alwaysconstitute
freemen.The majority's
inameliorating
interest
theirpoverty
overriding
wouldoverride
ofwealthy
theinterests
men.On thebasisof theoligarchicprinciple
of equalityaccording
to worth,
notnumber,
it wouldbe
difficult
to argueon behalfofdemocracy
thatpoverty
is a signofhuman
becauseofwhichthedemotic
shouldbe accordedwhatis,in
excellence,
a greater
thanequalsay.Butevenifwebeganwiththedemocratic
effect,
thatall free-born
citizensareequallyentitled
to participate
for
principle
thesake of livingas each wouldwish,a modification
or moderation
of
rulewouldbe required.
The democrat
whotakesfreedom
for
majority
eachmanseriously
doesnotintenda tyranny
ofthemajority.
Therefore

he intends,ifnecessary,a regimewhichaccordsa seemingly


greaterthan
equal say to minoritiesin orderto permiteach exponentof a minority

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Delba Winthrop157
of the
to live as freelyas theman who espousestheinterest
interest
class.
largest
with
How theequalityofeachis to be securedis a practical
problem
whichwe are notconcerned
The theoretical
forthemoment.
difficulty
us is whythedemocratic
believesthatitis sound
thatinterests
partisan
to the
to makenumerical
notmeritor contribution
reasoning
equality,
fordistributive
common
justice.
good,themeasure
recallhowmodernpoliticalsciencedemonstrates
that
Let us briefly
all menareequal,fortodayourdefense
from
ofdemocracy
stemschiefly
theteaching
founder
ofThomasHobbes,theself-proclaimed
ofmodern
to
securethe
claims
politicalscience,andhisfollowers.
just
Any
regime
commonbenefit,
thebenefit
and according
to Hobbes,we can ascertain
thatis common,
whenweexaminetheparts
bywhichhe meansuniversal,
ofthewholeas theyarein themselves.
We knowwhata politicalwhole
is and whatitsendoughtto be whenwe knowwhatthepartsnaturally
areandwhytheymovetogether
to forma whole.Thiswelearnbyimagmen
the
state
of
Hobbes
in
that
condition.
nature, is,intheirnatural
ining
in
that
man
is
the
each
a
says
naturally body motion,
although human
in
is
its
It
moved
is
moved
body particular
by passions.
especially
bythe
be
fearofviolentdeathat thehandsofanother
who
man,
maysimilarly
in motionand evenon a collisioncourse.Each mancan reasonthathe
bestpreserves
hisnaturewhenhe liveswithin
a commonwealth
making
ofmovement
it possibleforhimto maintain
hisfreedom
undera sovercan fearviolentdeath
eignat whosehandshe and his fellowtravelers
shouldtheymakea wrongmove.The endof commonwealth,
preservationofthewhole,reflects
ifnotthedeepestdesire,thenthefundamental
aversionofeachoftheparts,whichis to ceasemotion.
The whole,gentheirnatures,
eratedbythepartsmanifesting
is like,or represents,
each
of thepartsand is thecauseof a universal
benefit.
Hobbes's
Accepting
ofmanandcommonwealth,
no citizencoulddoubtthejustice
definitions
oftheLeviathan.5
in theparts,6
Hobbesfindssimilarity
and we todaytendto use his
in
about
the
as a justification
forpolitical
state
of
nature
teaching
equality
of
was
not
a
of
butof
Hobbes,
course,
equality.
partisan democracy,
He
insists
the
on
natural
of
each
to
contract
or
monarchy.
equal
right
becausein thestateofnatureeachhas an equal
consentto be governed
or to resistgovernment.
In commonwealth
each
abilityto killanother,
5. ThomasHobbes,Leviathan(Harmondsworth,
England:PenguinBooks,1968),
Chap. 13, pp. 62-63; Chap. 11, p. 47; Chap. 17, pp. 87-88; Chap. 15, pp. 79-80.
are to Hobbes'soriginalpagination.
References
6. Ibid.,"Introduction,"
p. 2.

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158 Aristotle
on Participatory
Democracy
does notretaintherightto deliberate
and judge,thatis, to rulerather
tobe ruled,because,wemight
thantoconsent
Hobbescanassert
surmise,
a
of
as
equality prudenceonly
thinly
disguised
joke.' Whilehe shows
thata defenseof politicalequalityproperly
beginswithan argument
aboutequal strength
useshisteachings
he himself
and equal prudence,
aboutthestateof natureas a justification
notfordemocracy,
butfora
that
as possibleto thevariousendspursued
government is as indifferent
andemphasizing
His purposeininventing
thestateofnature,
bycitizens."
characterized
fearofviolentdeath,is to avoidhavingto
bya universal
considerthepartsas different,
as theywouldbe iftheywereconsidered
withreference
to thedifferent
endstheymightdesirewhennotpreoccupiedwithmerepreservation.
It has beenobservedthatin constituting
theirpoliticalorders,men
Sucha modelcan command
tendto lookfora naturalmodelto imitate.
theirrespectbecausetheytendto supposethatwhatexistsindependent
musthaveoriginated
in tremendous
of humancreation
powerand,they
ofreligion
and reSuchsuppositions
are thethemes
hope,benevolence.
Hobbes
when
is
believed
that
order
intended
controversy.
political
ligious
of a wholecompleted
as an imitation
bonum,it is the
by a summum
to
and
failstosecure
sourceofcontinuous
disorder,
disagreement
leading
on
which
is
theone minimal
everyone agreed:peaceor preservagood
contendaboutthemeaningof the highest
tion.Men inevitably
good,
definition
or becausemencannot
eitherbecausethereis no one correct
Hobbesintended
be expectedto concedeitscorrectness.9
to discourage
on
about
bases
which
men
to
merit
a
share
ingovernthe
claim
questions
because
mentandtheendsforwhichtheymight
answers
tosuch
govern,
of
on
the
resolution
about
the
questionsdepend
prior
disputes
good.
Even thosewhorejectHobbesforRousseau,contending
thatparticipabecauseall menarefreeandbecausefreedom
tionis required
is theend,
concerned
of
that
is
with
the
deny
governmentproperly
defining content
we
Hobbes's
However mightjudge
thetruncated
freedom.10
intention,
modeof politicaldiscourse
advocatedby himhas prevented
contempowithclarity
thegoodnessof equal
rarypoliticalsciencefromdefending
participation.
political
An alternative
butnotfollowed
procedure,
acknowledged
byHobbes,
be
to
the
would
beginbytaking
seriously claimsmadebymenabouttheir
7. Ibid.,Chap. 13,pp. 60-61.
8. Ibid.,Chap. 21, p. 109; Chap. 21, p. 113; Chap. 30, pp. 181-182.
9. Ibid.,Chap. 11,p. 47; Chap. 5, pp. 18-19.
10. Jean-Jacques
Rousseau,The Social Contract,Bk. I, Chap. 6. The end of the
of originalfreedom.
associationcreatedby thecompactis defenseand preservation

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Delba Winthrop159
individual
merits
to secureby
andaboutthecommonbenefit
theyintend
meansof theirrule.To understand
thisalternative
and itsimplications
wemustreturn
toAristotle.
II

In thecentralportionof Book iii of The Politics,Aristotle


makeshis
mostexplicit
"It is probably
truethatthemulstatement:
prodemocratic
rather
thanthefewbest,oughttobe sovereign
titude,
(1281a40-42). He
one
offers
severalarguments
in support,
but theonlyunobjectionable
arebetterin thesamewaythat
givenis thatthemany,takenaltogether,
a common
How
mealis better
thana mealprovided
byoneexpenditure.
itis better
is clarified
than
later:"A collective
banquetis morebeautiful
a mob
a single,simpleone."For thesamereason,we aretoldironically,
thananyone ofthem,arbitrarily
chosen,might.
Similarly,
judgesbetter
are
more
thana few,as is more
or
many
incorruptible,indestructible,
ratherthanless water(1286a29-33). Hence we mightinferthatthe
or
becausetheycan providegreater
quantity
manyareas goodorbetter
bulkat a pot-luck
their
is
soon
to
the
In
compared
supper. fact,
presence
foodto pure(1281b36-38). No satisfactory
addition
ofimpure
proofis
either
or
nutrithat
have
sound
about
taste
judgment
given
they
good
It
to
our
burden
that
to
base
tastes
objections
prove
tion.11 is, however,
we
andtowrong
or
that
can
arereasonable,
properly
speakof
judgments
at all (1282b8-13).
goodtasteandright
judgment
foruniversal
and equal parMoreto thepresent
point,theargument
made to establishthe sufficiency
of the tasteand judgment
11.The arguments
of the many,as distinguished
fromthe few good, are obviouslyinadequate.The
manyare said to be able to judge thewholewell,forwe can supposethatamong
themare individualseach of whomknowsa partwell. Not onlycan we ask why
the totalresultwill be thesumof nobleand correctratherthanbase and ignorant
but we can ask whethera wholeis notmorethanthesum of itsparts,
judgments,
as are the poemsand musicalworksgivenas exampleshere.Aristotle'sreference
to themany'scomingtogether
like a man withmanyhandsand feetsuggeststhat
He thenindicatesthatthe manymustbe
he thinksthe resultwill be monstrous.
givena say not because theywill say well,but becausetheywill oppose a regime
thatone need not be a doctor
whichdoes not givethema hearing.The argument
to judge the workof otherdoctors,by which"some" mightattemptto solve the
does not solve it. Aristotlebeginswiththe problemof ensuringthat
difficulty,
thatuserscan judge
rulerswill choose well; he ends witha questionableargument
the workof makers.This argument
establishesat mostthatthemanyare capable
are capable of ruling.
of callingtheirrulersto account,not thattheythemselves
is questionedin thefinalpassageof this
Even theirabilityto assesselectedofficials
section.The goodnessof democracyis not establishedinsofaras thenobilityand
notdefended.
are ultimately
wisdomof democratic
judgments

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160 Aristotle
on Participatory
Democracy
restson an assertion
abouttheequalityof thehumanbody.
ticipation
The democrat
wantsto argueforthesovereignty
ofall in thelegislative
to
and
that
such
is
to thekindof
assembly
say
equality justaccording
thatpermits
measure
us tomakea totaloutofeachofthepotsatthesupto wholesotherthanpoliticalwholes,he attempts
to
per.In referring
nature
his
make
standard-anatureintelligible
as a totality
ofbodies.Of
mustmeana totality
coursethedemocrat
of self-moved
bodies,forhe
to makean argument
intended
forequal freedom,
notunfreedom.
In
of thedemosin thelegislature,
he reminds
speakingof thesovereignty
us thathumanbodiescanbe foundseatedinassemblies,
wheretheypretheirownlawsofbehavior,
sumeto legislate
or motion.
WhenAristotle
respondsto an hypothetical
objectionthatthebase,
whoconstitute
a numerical
overmore
majority,
oughtnottobe sovereign
thanaretherespectable
or reasonable,12
he doesconmatters
important
tendthatdemocracy
is nonetheless
andjust.He says,however,
that
right
thispoliticalsolutionis rightin thateach is a partof theassembly,
the
thatis,correct
council,andthecourts.In otherwords,he deemsitright,
tonature,
thatthiscityis a wholecomprised
ofpartialwholes,
according
defined
their
It
characteristic
works.
is
tohim,
by
political
just,according
in theassembly,
becausethedemosis sovereign
whilewithin
itandfrom
itdeliberators
andjudgesaredistinguished
as specialpartsofthewhole.
in theframing
Justice
we
concede
ofourown
requires-as
presumably
the
or
in
institutions-that
political
respectable reasonable,
specialists
and
be granted
The wholecondeliberating judging,
specialauthority.
tainsall,notas a totality
ofundistinguished
of
bodies,butas a collection
defined
multitudes.
mustbe distinguished
Indeed,thehumanmultitude
fromthenonhuman,
itthosewhopersonify
itsdistinguishjustas within
ofdeliberation
aredistinguished,
andjudgment
foritalone
ingfaculties
is a multitude
of freemenneedsa betterdeof thefree.A democracy
fensethanthedemocratic
has given.It needsa demonstration
partisan
thatthedemosis properly
intheassembly
andthatthehuman
sovereign
doesindeedlegislate
multitude
foritself.
The practicalsolutionreachedat thispointin Aristotle's
textstrikes
us as moreorlessadequate.Justice
a democracy,
requires
perhapsnotas
democratic
wouldhaveit,buta democracy
in whichall facpartisans
tionshavetheirfairsay.Each man,baseor respectable,
is assureda fair
forwhichonlythe
saybyaddingto thedemocratic
assembly
highoffices
12.The word used is the noun,epieik~sor equitableman, whichstemsfrom
Ethica
epieikeia,or equity.For the relationof equityto justice,cf. Aristotelis,
Nicomachea,ed. L. Bywater(Oxford:OxfordUniversity
Press,1894), 1137a311138a3.

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Delba Winthrop161
richandrespectable
areeligibleandbyteaching
howthecouncilandthe
courtscan be usedto guideandchecktheassembly.
How thismodified,
the
moderated
can
be
is
thatretheoretical
democracy
justified
difficulty
law of naturedoes
mains.Man has a uniqueplace and a "democratic"
notdo justiceto humannature.Aristotle's
is to show
point,we suggest,
thatan argument
fordemocratic
equality,established
by meansof an
fromthequalitiesthatmakehumanbeingspoliticalbeings,
abstraction
He
wouldnotbe an argument
for(or against)politicalparticipation.
leadsus to infer
canbe madeonlyon thebasisofa
thatthesearguments
anddefends
thedistinctive
politicalsciencethatclearlyarticulates
quality
ofa political
being.
To speakofmanas politicalmeansto definehimnotbywhatmakes
hima merepartofthenatural
whole,butbywhatmakeshima distinctive
ina community
offreemen
part.This,we aretold,is hiscoming
together
democratic
The
about
1279a21).
partisan,
arguing
justice
(1278bl17-25,
in
as ifmenwereequal becauseroughly
contrast
to oli(in
equal body
to
who
least
want
and
contributions
to a
at
about
merits
garchs
argue
commonbenefit),
cannotspeakofjusticeforfreemen.Aristotle,
howhis own,according
to
to an hypothesis,
ever,has referred
presumably
ina specialway(1277b7-9,1278a2-5,1278b15whichmanis a citizen
a manand a citizento becomea partofa
30). Man mustmakehimself
wholethatencompasses
Man'scapacities
thefullest
humanpossibilities.
be
is
of
but
the
his
may givenby nature,
being
actuality whichhe is a
in
this
is
and
sense
he
On
who
free.
cause,
reflection,
then,thedemocrat
notion
of
to
defend
his
it
that
is
justicebyimplying
attempts
"rightacto
nature"
not
he
cording
perhapsneed proceedas doesto makea comor meettherequirements
of "science."For scientists
pellingargument,
seekto knowthecauseor causesofbeing,andonemight
bestlearnhow
to speakintelligibly
aboutcausesofbeingbystudying
freemen.In other
freemenandthewholesofwhichthey
words,a sciencethatinvestigates
makethemselves
in reparts-politicalscience-is at leastautonomous
forit.HenceAristotle
spectto naturalscienceandat mostparadigmatic
hisdiscussion
assertion
makesthefollowing
ofhowa politiintroducing
be justified:
cal regime
might
Sincein all thesciencesand artstheendis good,and thegreatest
andmostfinalis (theend) ofthemostsovereign
ofall,thepolitical
is
same
and
this
the
is
the
capacity
thing,
just
politicalgood,and
in
thisis thebenefit
common.13
(bringing
together)
(1282b14-18)
13. To sympheron
but "thebringing
meansnot only"thebeneficial,"
together,"
fromsympher6,
"to bringtogether."

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on Participatory
162 Aristotle
Democracy
As we shallsee,thejustwhichis thepoliticalgoodandtheonecommon
is thefirst
of Aristhingintowhichall are brought
together
principle
totle'shypothesis
aboutman'spossibleperfection.
The democratic
is notwrong,
of freedom
and theassertion
principle
of freedom
each
and
man
not
But sincefreeinconsequential.
by
every
domis meanttobe a termofdistinction
andespecially
sincethepolitical
is a response
claimbasedon freedom
to theoligarchic
claimthatwealth
is a signofexcellence,
we might
askwhatobviousdistinctions
arecominthetermfreedom
andtowhatkindofexcellence
prehended
theypoint.
Mostmenwhospeakoffreedom
wishtobe freefromnecessities,
butare
to ensurehisphysical
not.Surelya poormanwhomusttoilincessantly
or a base manwhocannotresistgratification
survival
ofhiseverydesire
is nota "free"man,buta slaveto hisbody'sneedsand desires.Being
economic
free,we mightgrant,meansat leasthavingthewherewithal,
andmoral,to combatbodilynecessities,
as do thewealthy
andvirtuous.
Thusan analysisof theclaimoffreedom
forcesus to concedethereasonableness
of theclaimsof thenondemocratic
Furthermore,
partisans.
thisis to acknowledge
thatcertainqualities,
suchas wealthand virtue,
are generally
or honoredand thatmentendto measuretheir
esteemed
excellence
them.
has said thathonors,
by
Perhapsthisis whyAristotle
as wellas freedom,
are a firstprinciple(1281a31), and whyhe now
assertsthata cityis puttogether
of thefreeand "thosewhobearestimates"(1283a17-18). (He punson theconnection
between
a
meeting
and
or
reesteemed
and
honored.)Wealthy
qualification being
property
spectablemenare,in effect,
imagesof thequalitieswhichall menwho
A modified
valuefreedom,
mustesteem.14
democdemocrats,
including
a
so
to
"mixed"
racyis,
speak,
regime,
mixinghumanbodieswiththe
thatcan ruletheirbodies.Perhapsone couldthenarguethat
principles
orinstitutionalized
ina certain
nontheseprinciples
oughttobe embodied
or antidemocratic
ofmenwhoexhibit
themin a democracy.
recognition
The rightest
thatis, of benefit
laws,Aristotle
says,are equallyright,
to thewholecityandtowhatis common
tocitizens(1283b35-1284a3).
The cityis a wholeas thesumof freemen,equal in theirassertions
of
Butin orderto findthemso equal we mustabstract
freedom.
froman
evaluation
ofthewaysinwhichmenclaimtobe freeandofthequalities
oftheclaimants.
thattherewouldbe no disputeabouthonorsif
Granted
mendidnotpresuppose
theirfreedom
to maketheirownwhole;in this
is a first
sensefreedom
or beginning
(archi). Butthisbeginning
principle
14. In The Politicsfreemenare mostfrequently
discussedin termsof theirvirtues or even comparedto virtues: 1258bl8-1260b18,1277b7-25, 1283a33-37,
1286a36-bl.

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Delba Winthrop163
is incomplete
asserts
thatheis free,he means
becausewhenthedemocrat
mendeema
to saythathe has someexcellence
or virtue.Furthermore,
it
of
to theattainment
qualitya virtueinsofaras contributes
particular
someendheldtobe good.Justas men'scultivation
ofvirtue
presupposes
so itimpliessomeendintended.
Butmentendto acknowledge
freedom,
intention
Thispointemerges
from
as their
onlywhattheydeemhonorable.
Aristotle's
thatsomemenareauthoritative
becausetheyare
observation
as the
tolistanymenwhoclaimstrength
strong,
coupledwithhisfailure
to makesome
use theirstrength
goal or titleof rule.Men inevitably
endor first
so thattheycan livefor
authoritative,
respectable
principle
themselves
and withotherson thebasisof whatis commonly
honored.
To do thisis to makea regime.
without
a regime,
and
A cityis incomplete
about
actual
has
Men's
one
(1283a42-1283b9).
every
city
assumptions
whatgivesall thingsand humanqualitiesworthare thusthecausesof
a
Giventhis,to speakof"whatis commonto citizens"
requires
regimes.
statement
formtheseassumptions
take in each
about the particular
to lightthevariety
of
To speakof politicsin thisway,bringing
regime.
all
no
as
similar.
less
reasonable
than
to
consider
citizens
seems
regimes,
In thiswaywe consciously
of politicalmen,who
adopttheperspective
inthelightoftheirfundamental
tendtosee all things
political
opinions.15
in acknowledging
We differ
frompoliticalpartisans
thateachparticular
andincontinuing
to askbywhatmeasure,
perspective
maybe limited
by
firstprinciple,
thedifferent
whatcomprehensive
opinionsaboutworth
can be compared
to oneanother.
Aristotle's
assertion
at thispointis thatjustice,or "virtue
in associating,"makesthehumanvirtuesa whole(1283a37-40). He proposes
how thevarioushumanqualitiesdeemed
thatin orderto understand
would
we mustconsiderhowthevirtues
goodare rankedand ordered,
in thejusticeofthebestman.Thisbestmancomesto sightat
be unified
theendofan analysisofthequalitiesbymeansofwhichhumanbeings
themselves
fromone another
and fromtherestofnature,
or
distinguish
arefreeas humanbeings.Thebestmanexemplifies
thesovereignty
ofthe
a consideration
humanmultitude
overbodilynature,
andtherefore
ofhis
us
come
to
of
a
all
enables
to
men.
free
justice
example
speak
befitting
To repeat,we contend
thata case forequalpolitical
cannot
participation
be madeuntilwe havearticulated
thestandard
bywhichto measurethe
as free.It is,however,
variousclaimsofthosewhodemandtobe treated
in accordancewithone's self-interest
15. Judgments
both resultfromand supthefirstattempt
at defining
porttotalviews,or "wholes"(1280a14-25). Similarly,
a citizensimplywas exposedas one thatsucceededin defining
onlya democratic
citizen.

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164 Aristotle
on Participatory
Democracy
nolongerstrictly
correct
tospeakinterms
thanvirtue,
offreedom
rather
sincethestandard
whichmenrespectandbywhichtheymeasurethemofrespect
selvesis understood
becauseit
bythemto be worthy
precisely
is notmerely
ofhumanmaking.
Theself-made
virtues
aredeemedvirtues
in thelightofa principle
menhavenotmade.
ThusAristotle
thesubarguesthatmen'sclaimsto honorsconstitute
stanceof politicaldisputes,
and he assertshisintention
to resolvesuch
at leastin principle,
aboutthejusticeof thebest
disputes,
by teaching
on the
man,or manpar excellence.Therefollowa briefobservation
threat
menanda lengthy
examination
posedto regimes
byveryexcellent
whichseemto reflect
ofkingship,
thefollowing
trainofthought.
Claims
to honorsimplyopinionsaboutcausesin thelightofwhichcertainhumanqualitiesare properly
deemedvirtues,
as wellas aboutcausesof
virtue.
For example,to saythatcourageis virtueand a characteristic
of
a freeandhonorable
manis to implythatman'ssituation
is suchthathe
humanor natural.To saythat
oughtto combator resistcertainforces,
a
is
is
virtue
also
us
to
to
ask whatmakeshumanbeings
courage
tempt
of
that
what
conditions
natural
andwhathumancapacities
is,
capable it;
andopinions
enablementoperform
theactswerecognize
as courageous.
Forthesakeofattaining
we
raise
these
whichin
clarity might
questions,
discourse
no
Thus
everyday
longerappearproblematical. we
political
mustreturn
to a consideration
ofnature,
as wellas freedom,
butwe now
conceiveofnatureas thatwhichmakesman'sfreedom
or virtuenecesnotsomething
toit.We might
indifferent
wishtospeak
saryandpossible,
the
a
of
first
ofsuch natureas "monarchs"
uni(mon-archai,
principles
It can thenbe saidthatthemovement
ofBook in
taryfirst
principles).
ofthePoliticsis froman assertion
aboutequalityand freedom,
or selfofwhatmustbe supposedtobe theactual
rule,forall to an examination
ruleofone.Whatcausesthismovement
is ourreflection
on themeaning
oftheclaimtobe a freeman.
Whenwe thinkof thecausesenablingmento do as theychoosein
of strength,
wealth,and influential
politics,we are likelyto thinkfirst
friends
is insufficient,
formen'sactions
(1284a20-22). This,however,
arealso affected
bytheirdesiresandbyspeechorreason,orbythecombination
ofthesetwoin theiropinionsaboutwhatis good.Opinions,
as
muchas physical
area causeoftheactionsoffreemen.Hence,
strength,
in politicsas rhetoric.
to othershas strength
Ultialso,speechaddressed
of humanbeings,
mately,
strongwordsmustbe basedon a knowledge
theirpassionsandtheirmodesofreasoning,
andalsoofwhatis possible,
sincethepurposeof suchspeechis to movemen.We mightnotethat
whenAristotlefirstspeaks of politicalrule,he distinguishes
freeor politicalmenby theirvirtues.The examplesgivenare thefreemanwho has

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Delba Winthrop165
thecourageofa manandtheonewhohasthemoderation,
or discretion
in speech,ofa woman(1277b17-23). Nowhe askswhatis to be done
tend
withverygoodmen,andhe showshowdemocracies
andtyrannies
the
In
to excludemanifestly
menfromtheircities. considering
superior
causesof suchbehavior(1284al8, 1284a23-24,1284a25,1284a31),
Aristotle
Periander(the namemeans"All-Around
speaksof a tyrant,
Man"), whorulesa cityby forceand was onceunderstood
(synnoed)
without
a word.Aristotle
maintains
that
byanother
tyrant
havinguttered
becausethecausesby
it is "notsimplyright"to censuresuchtyrants,
of body
whichmenmove,theprinciples
ofpoliticaldeeds,are strength
and thestrength
whichwisdomaffords
to opinion.(Strength
of body
wellbe usedin therejection
butitis, ofcourse,no
ofexcellence,
might
or monarchs,
less necessary
in thedefenseof excellence.)The tyrants,
in
mentioned
hereembodytheprinciples
orcausesofthevirtuemanifest
is
not
and
their
but
in
obvious,
always
political
politics,
presence implied,
Thustakingtheclaimoffreedom
virtue.
leadsus to Arisveryseriously
Man"
totle'sjoke abouthermaphroditic
like the "All-Around
tyrants,
or
free
men
virtue
as
Periander.
par
tyrants,
Theypersonify
political
ifcensureof suchtyrants
excellence.
is "notsimplyright"
Nonetheless,
forthementioned
in thesensethatthetyrants
combine
reason,itis right
of bodilyand intellectual
the
the "extremes"
without
strength
saving
of the"mean"of politicsand politicaldiscourse,
whichis
phenomenon
ofman,thepolitical
animal.
mostcharacteristic
wholes
seriously
mightlead us to ask whether
Takinghumantyrants
otherthancitiesareruledin thesameway.In otherwords,justas PerianderhereadvisedThrasyboulos
to ruleovera cityofmenmadevisibly
equal likea levelfieldof corn,are therecausesin naturewhosepower
wedo notsee,butwhichnonetheless
ruleoverthevisiblewholeas do the
In thissamepassage,Aristotle
tyrants?
speaksof mentoogoodto be a
partofanycity,menwhoarea law (1284a13-14) and imagesofa god
whattheyare,we can imagamongmen(1284a10-11). In considering
inewhata godora first
ofPlato'sGoodwouldbe like.
causereminiscent
We aretoldbyAristotle
(1284b30-34) thattheseimagesofa godought
in rulingwholecities
to be madekings;kings,nottyrants.
The tyrants,
us withtheiramazing,
ofmenimpress
skills.Theyrulenot
suprahuman,
to themselves
as the
onlywithforce,butby makingnatureintelligible
ruleofforce.In so doing,theymakeawaywithor abstract
from(aphaihenceAristotle's
reo) thebestmenforthesakeofuniformity;
compariruleto democratic
ostracism.
Butkingsand imagesof
sonoftyrannical
godsemergefromamongthebestin thebestregime(1284b25-34),
and such monarchscan be "in harmony"withcities.A kingis not only
a cause, but he is presumablya cause in thesame way thatthebest part

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onParticipatory
166 Aristotle
Democracy
ofhumannatureis a causeofpoliticaldeeds,andhisruleis compatible
withpoliticalfreedom.
to be seenis howsucha monarch
Whatremains
witha community
is in harmony
offreemenandwhyhisruleis necessary.
A kinglooksafterthecommon
from
goodandis thereby
distinguished
a tyrant,
whorulesforhis ownbenefit
(1279a33-34, 1279b6-7). A
is
the
a
free
man
who
in politicsfor
of
king,then,
epitome
participates
thecommongood. (In thisrespecthe fulfills
theclaimsofbothdemocratsandoligarchs.)It is abouthimthatpoliticalscientists
whowishto
need
to
know.
justify
participation
Aristotle
tellsus thatthereare severalkindsof kings.As political
it might
ourseemthatwe neednotconcern
scientists,
strictly
speaking,
selveswiththekingwhois saidto havegreater
than"eachand
strength
one andall together,"
butis notheldto be superior
to themultitude
(of
freemen) (1286b35-37). Briefly,
thiskingis similarto thebestman,
to
butinshowing
whytheruleofa humankingwouldnotbe preferable
theruleof a multitude
of freemen,Aristotle
enablesus to see whata
divinebeing,who surpassesthebesthumanbeing,wouldhave to be
His beingis likea humansoul,butbetter.
The besthumansoul,
like.16
liketheEgyptian
doctorsherewhomovethings,
is characterized
by an
erostowardsomeend.Thebesthumansoulalsolegislates
andlaysdown
or underlies
laws." He combines
erosand thymos'son thelevelofhuand
in
to
make
he generalizes
his nobility
manifest,
manity,
intending
fromhis own noble soul to set a standardforotherhumanbeings.
or arelawsfor
Equallywithotherfreemenwhogivelawsto themselves
he
is
in
that
is
a
multitude
manifold
in
one
themselves,
bodyandunitary
in soul,and forwhomrulingand beingruledthusare virtually
interHis
noble
well
reason
as
as
his
the
of
his
cause
are
changeable.
passions
virtue.Yet becausehe has thepassionsmadepossibleby man'sbodily
hecannotbe expected
tobe either
orimmortal;
selfless
so perhaps
nature,
he shouldruleonlyin a multitude.
we
still
to
thata
were
insist
Then,
rule
is
we
would
to
a
have
beneficial,
king's
imagine kingcompletely
devoidofselfish
also depassionsbecausedevoidofbody,buttherefore
void of will.He wouldbe perfect
reason.To the extentthathe had
overeach and one and all in orderto guardhisrule,
"bodilystrength"
thatstrength
wouldbe nothing
morethaneach and one and all's being
whattheyareina natureruledbytheregularity
we call a lawofnature.
To "setdown"sucha king,Aristotle
is
workofa goodman.
the
says,
16.Nic. Ethics,1178b7-32.
17. Ibid., 1113a31-33.
18. Politics,1286a17-20,1287a28-32.

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Delba Winthrop167
andhe wasreplacedbymenofvirtue,
Thereignofthiskingwas"prior,"
to
He is notthecauseofhumanexwhohappened becomenumerous.
inthesensethatthereis no defense
butis prior19
ofthestrivings
cellence,
to overcome
hisbasenessifhe doesnotsuppose
bywhichmanattempts
thatperfection
is in principle
possible.Sucha kingis believedto exist
and to be beneficial
or to bringthings
bythosewhoseeklaws
together
that"givecommands
aboutwhatbefallsone"andcomparepoliticstoan
art(1286a9-12). To livebythelaw ofmenwhodeliberate
noblyis to
Whenwe connect
supposethatvirtueis possibleand good,or prudent.
itwithgoodchoicebecause
withchoice,we necessarily
connect
freedom
withunimpeded
we also connectfreedom
action.An actionwhichis not
be saidto be according
to nature.So eventhefreest
acimpededmight
tionmustbe chosenwithsomeknowledge
ofwhatnature
permits.
Taking
thatnatureis
man'sdesireto be freethusleadsus to postulate
seriously
ruledneither
bymereforcenorbya moralbeingwhogivescommands,
a soulsuperior
to humansoul
butbya rational
artisan,
being:a perfect
inlackingall passions,a perfect
or
He is the
eternal.
judge,incorruptible
an
He
the
thefree
of
which
is
not
same
the
as
is
god
philosopher image.
manmovedbythedesireto do well,although
sucha desireleadsus to
a rulecompatible
withfreedom
formulate
(1287a28-30). Politicalmen
their
within
own
order
an orderly
nature,which
participate
by making
in
can
to
as
to
themto act
be
ordered
such
a
they suppose
way
permit
Political
well.
thisnecessary
bymaking
philosophers
participate
premise
offreedom
orvirtue
explicit.
in
We seemto haveoverstepped
theboundsof academicpropriety
thatpoliticalscientists
participate
suggesting
by becomingteachersof
naturalscienceand theology,
butAristotle's
pointis thatthisseeming
Thisis notto saythat
is,in fact,bothproperandnecessary.
impropriety
we oughtto neglectpoliticsin thenarrower
senseusuallyassignedto it.
Hencewe shouldreturn,
ofAristotle's
bymeansofa briefconsideration
to themorespecific
can do
solution,
questionofwhatpoliticalscientists
aboutparticipatory
democracy.
III

WithAristotle,
we have attempted
and how parto ascertain
whether
be justified.
thatin order
We havecontended
democracy
might
ticipatory
19.At 1275bl-3, Aristotlepromisesa clarification
of themannerin whichright
we are remindedthattemporalpriorityis
regimesare prior.In the Metaphysics,
trans.Hugh Tredennick(CamAristotle,
Metaphysics,
only one kindof priority.
Press,1935), 1018b9-29.
bridge,Mass: HarvardUniversity

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168 Aristotle
on Participatory
Democracy
to ascertain
we needto
thejustnessof democracy
or anyotherregime,
and
measure
equality inequality.
specifically
political
Aristotle
us witha democratic
citizen,whoinitially
presents
argues
thatjudgingand rulingare somehowconnectedwithmanifesting
the
a
human
and
is
also
that
but
being
complete
everycitizen, only citizen,
and
of
and
He
identifies
human
capable judging ruling.
politicalbeing.
inparticutriestoestablish
thejusticeofdemocracy
Yet thisspokesman
to
that
lar by invoking
is by natureright
arguments prove
democracy
modeledon a naturecomposedof
becausea humancityis properly
he forgets
bodies,eachofwhichis a "one" andan equal.In so arguing,
abouthishumanity
Man resembles
altogether.
bodilynaturewhenone
abstracts
fromwhatdistinguishes
himfromotherbeings,thatis, his
or hiscapacityto be thecauseof hisownbeinginsofar
as he
freedom,
candetermine
hisendandactinaccordance
This
withhisdetermination.
is notto suggest
thatthebodycan be forgotten,
it
butthatemphasizing
distracts
thedemocrat
frommakingtherelevant
How can it
argument.
be saidthatcitizenship
contributes
to theabilityto do wellandthatthe
citizennecessarily
has thisability,
thatcitizens
are equal as
establishing
Aristotle
on
thedemofreemen?Thisargument
is attempted
behalf
of
by
cratinthecontext
ofhisstatement
onkingship.
Aristotle
writesin a democracy,
butholdsthatdemocracy
is notinevitable.
is
conscious
the
of
of
would-be
antidemocratic
He, too,
problem
"democratic
elites."Theirpresence
is indicated
earlyin Book III in the
correction
of thefirst
definition
of a citizen,
fortheyprovokethestatementthata citizenis one whohas thepowerto judgeand deliberate
withskill.Powerand skilldo notalways,butmight
coincide.Aristotle
thegoodcitizenship
demonstrates
ofthepoliticalphilosopher.
Whilehe
to
make
and
the
defends
their
morecapable
attempts
powerful
power
he reconciles
themoreskilledto their
onlyinsofaras it is defensible,
relativepowerlessness.211
in a certainwaythat
Thishe does by arguing
is just.His waymakesdemocracy
morejustandat thesame
democracy
timeprovides
an explanation
of alternatives
to democratic
citisuperior
shouldbe
zenship.It showswhenand whydemocratic
participation
chosen.
Whatwe are shownis "thataccording
to whichthekingwhodoes
rules" (1287a8-10). That
everything
accordingto his own intention
to whicha kingrulesis an "each" (an individual)whorules
according
and theking'sownruleis constituted
We offer
by judging,
byjudging.
thefollowing
ofthemeaning
ofAristotle's
absolutekingship.
explanation
20. ContrastAristotle'sdefenseof democracywithhis immoderateattackon
immoderate
democracyin Book Iv, at 1292a4-38.

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Delba Winthrop169
to a
contributes
thatcitizenship
The democrat's
necessaryargument,
made
this
is
best
man'sabilityto do welland thata citizenhas
ability,
in whicha judgeor jurormakesjudgments
to themanner
withreference
(1287a25-27, 1287a41-b3,1287b15-17,1287b23-24,1287b25-29).
Whenone judgesin a courtof law,he supposesthathe judgesin acofthelaw and of thegovcordancewithlaw and acceptstheauthority
thathasmadeit.In thewordsofonesuchjudge:
ernment
an established
Judicialpowerpresupposes
capableof
government
of
and
and
their
laws
execution,
appointing
enforcing
enacting
them.The acceptanceof the
judgesto expoundand administer
of theauthority
of thegovernment
is a recognition
judicialoffice
from
whichitis derived.21
The judgeor jurordoes not supposethathe makeslaws. Rather,in
thelaw and
eitherbetween
he is confronted
witha contradiction
judging
someonewhohas brokenit,as did Socrates,forexample,or between
citizenswhohavesomeclaimsagainsteachother.Yet in thefaceofan
orrejectit,andinapplying
toreaffirm
tothelaw,oneis forced
objection
notcoveredbyit,to expandthelaw. In fact,then,
itto a case presently
us of
he doeslegislate
whenhejudges.He doesso in a waythatreminds
of a scientist
whoexamineshisownworking
theprocedure
hypothesis,
his laws as he teststhemin thefaceof manifest
revising
deliberately
andomissions.
exceptions
and equalities
In a democracy,
democrats
takeapparentsimilarities
servestheinterest
tooseriously.
Thisdefective
coincidentally
perception
democratic
whois thereby
enabledtoperceive
ofeachdemocrat,
equality
makegeneralrulesforthemanylike
as right.In legislating,
democrats
himbetter
In judging,
a democrat
themselves.
however,
might
disregard
is between
eitherbecausethejudgment
selfand themanylikehimself,
ofothersor becausetheinterest
theinterests
opposedto thelawis given
moreable
makesdemocrats
equal weightin court.This participation
becausetheparticiis madebetter
andparticipatory
citizens,
democracy
is bestjustified
forbothdemocrats
Participation
pantsare madebetter.
in thisway,and forthisreasonAristotle
and democracies
emphasizes
participation
by judging.Ratherthangivinga speciousdefenseof deor denying
moticjudgment
itssufficiency
despitetheobvious
altogether,
with
if
force
Aristotle
to
assert
itself
states
of
the
demos
necessary,
ability
The
in sucha wayas to facilitate
itssolution.
ofdemocracy
theproblem
is onlythe
withhisopinionthatdemocracy
is notinconsistent
statement
forto say thatdemocratic
can
leastbad of defective
judgment
regimes,
21. ChiefJustice
Taney,Lutherv. Borden,7 Howard2, 40 (1849).

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170 Aristotle
on Participatory
Democracy
be improved
is notto saythatit is sufficient
or thatthereareno better
judges.
Whenone participates
aboutthesolutionof
by makinga judgment
thepractical
of
also
comes
he
tojustify
philosophy.
problem democracy,
all
freemen,articulates
for
the
benefit
of
The political
who,
philosopher
is madeintelligible
the premises
must
by whichpoliticalparticipation
in
it.
In
order
to
the
and
man's
about whole
speakauthoritatively
place
do so,he mustsupposethatthewholeis intelligible
whole.
likea political
Ifscienceis tobe morethanhypotoo,judgelikejudges.22
Philosophers,
Yet
man'sintellect
mustfindlaws,notmakethemarbitrarily.
thetical,
hisjudgment,
thelaw. The
onlythejudge,in pronouncing
pronounces
is sovereign
lawmaker
in theory,
in practice,
butthejudgeis sovereign
and onlyhe appearsto participate.
If thereis a first
cause,itsbeingis
articulated
can demononlyby man,whospeaks.Politicalphilosophy
stratethatphilosophy
is possibleand necessary
if thewholeis ruled
learnsthisdefensefromphilosophizing
about
politically.
Philosophy
theparticipation
of freemen,ultimately
politics.But politics,
requires
to establish
thedefense
fromtheattempt
thereasonableness
of
emerging
forintellectual
thephilosopher's
concern
perfection.
first
Thusthenecessary
or end,ofpoliticsis completed
wisprinciple,
forthesake of man'sperfection.
It is thisend
dom,or contemplation,
thatmenwho worryaboutparticipation
and makeclaimsabouttheir
Forevenifthisendis notseenbypolitical
freedom
mustintend.
men,it
and makesintelligible
alone justifies
man'sefforts
to demonstrate
his
ortodistinguish
Thisfirst
himself.
freedom
Aristotle
sometimes
principle
calls"thegod."Despitethefactthattheendis humanperfection,
Aristhatmostmenneedto conceiveof a humanexceltotleacknowledges
as suprahuman
or divine.He
lence,whichtheywillneverexperience,
can consistently
manofhisfreespeakofsucha godwithout
depriving
forhisvirtueinsofar
as he can demonstrate
domand his responsibility
thatthiscausedoes notmakepolitics,
thehumandetermination
oflaw,
orunimportant.
unnecessary
Hobbestellsus ofAristotle's
about"Entities
and Essences"
teaching
thathe mayhaveknownit "tobe falsePhilosophy;
butwrititas a thing
consonant
of theirReligion;and fearing
thefate
to, and corraborative
23 This is said in thecontextof his criticism
of Socrates."
of theuse
madeofAristotle
Church.To modern
bytheChristian
political
philosowas in
phy,it no longerseemedpossibleto assertthatman'sfreedom
accordance
witha divinenature.Therecouldbe no natureaccording
to
22. Metaphysics,
995b3-5.The metaphysician
is likenedto a judge.
23. Hobbes,Leviathan,Chap. 46, p. 373.

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Delba Winthrop171
aboutthehuman
whichman'spolitics,
hisdeliberations
and judgments
was
The
he
befriended. moderndefense
good,werefreeand by which
in form.If manis free,he
of politicsis eithertyrannical
or democratic
or
a greatertyrant,
mustrebelagainsta willfulGod, provinghimself
prince.Or, ifthereis to be justiceand rulebylaw insteadof tyranny,
to themeasureofdivinebeasts.Instead,
politicsis no longerassimilated
ofanykindofbeingotherthanbodyis denied,andthelaw
theexistence
mixedregimeis reconof bodilynaturemadethemeasure.Aristotle's
and politicsbecomestheworkof
on a democratic
stituted
foundation,
an immanifest
and unjustified
elite.Sciencebecomesphysicsor like
the
ofthehumansoul,losesitsplace
Political
science
science,
physics.
aredeposedas kings.
as queenof thesciences,24
and politicalscientists
intended
Thedefense
ofparticipatory
democracy
originally
bymodern
it
no
than
was
was
less
But
Aristotle's.
qualified
politicaltheory
thought
thatthequalifications
couldnotbe madeexplicitbecausethestandard
was intelligible
in thelightof whichthequalification
had cometo be
and the standard
confusedwiththe Christian
God. The qualification
havecometobe publicly
whichcouldnotbe publicly
defended
forgotten.
So has a sensibleanswerto thequestion:"Whyparticipatory
democracy?"
24. FriedrichNietzsche,BeyondGood and Evil, trans.WalterKaufmann(New
York: RandomHouse, 1966), Chap. 1, #23,pp. 31-32.

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