chapter  4
29 Pages

Aristotle's Polis: The Soil of Eudaimonia

Stories are made to be told. Narratives require an audience as well as a storyteller. Aristotle tells that man is both a social and a political animal, with a unique capability to express that nature through organized life in a koinonia and a polis. Aristotle begins the Politics by making it clear that the polis is only one type of community or koinonia; there are many more. Aristotle does not only say that man is a social animal. Much better known are his repeated descriptions of man as a more specifically political animal. The state exists in order to help its members better attain their own eudaimonia, primarily by inculcating virtue as a guide to the Good Life, but also by helping them develop the capabilities that will allow them to truly flourish as human beings. Aristotelian perfectionism seems irreconcilable with the fundamental values of any kind of liberal political system which places worth on individual freedom and autonomy.