The Foundations of Aristotle's Functionalist Approach to Political Theory




Welle, Nathan

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Aristotle’s articulation of a correct state is inherently socially hierarchical. This has led many scholars to view the functionalist approach as being at odds with the inherent equality of persons that is taken for granted in contemporary political theory. My thesis therefore aims to offer a defence of functionalist theory, demonstrating that it can be formulated to respect the functioning of every individual. In Chapter 1, I examine the key Aristotelian concept of natural justice. In order to draw out the subtleties of natural justice, I compare it with Cicero’s articulation of natural law. In Chapter 2, I compare and contrast Martha Nussbaum’s and Aristotle’s articulations of political philosophy. In Chapter 3, I examine the Aristotelian notion of friendship by considering the work of Cooper and Bentley. I argue against most contemporary theorists that Aristotle’s basic understanding of human relationships is altruistic.



Aristotle, Functionalist Theory, Natural Justice, Cicero, Martha Nussbaum