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INTRODUCTION: UNSETTLING OTHERS

INTRODUCTION: UNSETTLING OTHERS INTRODUCTION: UNSETTLING OTHERS Aristotle’s doctrinal statements are sometimes followed by remarks implying that those who disagree with him are unintelligent. But his doctrine that humans are naturally social (“man is more of a political animal than bees”) is followed by an assertion that anyone to whom the statement does not apply is bad (or else, a god). “It is evident,” Aristotle professes, that the state is a creation of nature, and that man is by nature a political animal. And he who by nature and not by mere accident is without a state, is either a bad man or above humanity; he is like the “Tribeless, lawless, hearthless one,” whom Homer denounces — the natural outcast is forthwith a lover of war; he may be compared to an isolated piece at draughts. (Politics 1253a.1–6)1 1. As translated in Richard McKeon, ed., The Basic Works of Aristotle (New York: Random House, 1941). Common Knowledge 12:2 DOI 10.1215/0961754X-2005-003 © 2006 by Duke University Press irreproachable by adducing Homer in support of it. But in the Iliad Nestor does not say that an individual disengaged from tribe, law, and hearth—community, convention, and family—is potentially a warmonger; he says that warmongers, inciters http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Common Knowledge Duke University Press

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2006 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0961-754X
eISSN
1538-4578
DOI
10.1215/0961754X-2005-003
Publisher site
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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: UNSETTLING OTHERS Aristotle’s doctrinal statements are sometimes followed by remarks implying that those who disagree with him are unintelligent. But his doctrine that humans are naturally social (“man is more of a political animal than bees”) is followed by an assertion that anyone to whom the statement does not apply is bad (or else, a god). “It is evident,” Aristotle professes, that the state is a creation of nature, and that man is by nature a political animal. And he who by nature and not by mere accident is without a state, is either a bad man or above humanity; he is like the “Tribeless, lawless, hearthless one,” whom Homer denounces — the natural outcast is forthwith a lover of war; he may be compared to an isolated piece at draughts. (Politics 1253a.1–6)1 1. As translated in Richard McKeon, ed., The Basic Works of Aristotle (New York: Random House, 1941). Common Knowledge 12:2 DOI 10.1215/0961754X-2005-003 © 2006 by Duke University Press irreproachable by adducing Homer in support of it. But in the Iliad Nestor does not say that an individual disengaged from tribe, law, and hearth—community, convention, and family—is potentially a warmonger; he says that warmongers, inciters

Journal

Common KnowledgeDuke University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2006

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