Today, democracy is seen as the best or even the only legitimate form of government--hardly in need of defense. Delba Winthrop punctures this complacency and takes up the challenge of justifying democracy through Aristotle's political science. In Aristotle's time and in ours, democrats want inclusiveness; they want above all to include everyone a part of a whole. But what makes a whole? This is a question for both politics and philosophy, and Winthrop shows that Aristotle pursues the answer in the Politics. She uncovers in his political science the insights philosophy brings to politics and, especially, the insights politics brings to philosophy. Through her appreciation of this dual purpose and skilled execution of her argument, Winthrop's discoveries are profound. Central to politics, she maintains, is the quality of assertiveness--the kind of speech that demands to be heard. Aristotle, she shows for the first time, carries assertive speech into philosophy, when human reason claims its due as a contribution to the universe. Political science gets the high role of teacher to ordinary folk in democracy and to the few who want to understand what sustains it.
This posthumous publication is more than an honor to Delba Winthrop's memory. It is a gift to partisans of democracy, advocates of justice, and students of Aristotle.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 522 g
Dimensions: 231 x 160 x 25 mm
"Winthrop's original and provocative work is much more than a meditation on Aristotle's complex view of democracy. Because Winthrop reads Aristotle's Politics as much for its ontological implications as for its political lessons, she wrestles with questions concerning the status of forms and wholes for Aristotle, the possibility of human freedom in a natural world governed by necessity, and the relationship between political science and natural science. This fascinating study challenges readers to look at the Politics in a dramatically new way."--Devin Stauffer, University of Texas at Austin
"Winthrop's illuminating study of Aristotle's Politics follows the argument of the foundational Book III as it sets out from the democratic citizen's claim about political freedom and moves toward the question of its philosophic justification. Her insightful account, supported by her own translation, offers us, ultimately, a distinctive Aristotelian contribution to our own understanding of democracy and the complexity of human freedom--political, moral, and intellectual."--Ronna Burger, Tulane University