chapter  7
20 Pages

Justice and Political Forms — Aristotle versus Rawls

WithPeter L. P. Simpson

Principles need to be realized, and the principles of politics need to be realized in concrete political forms. Nevertheless, because the tradition in question is so different in orientation as well as in results from contemporary theory and practice, there is some point in approaching it, so as to bring out the difference, by way of comparison and contrast with what is typically done nowadays instead. Aristotle's division is not merely numerical. Numbers drive it, but the division is of people with a certain feature: virtue or its lack. Aristotle's division now becomes empirical or sociological and appeals to actual facts about men in smaller and greater numbers. Structure and laws independent of men only arise for Aristotle when we descend from the heights of godlike virtue to the military virtue of polity and the non-virtue or positive vice of the deviant governments.