Aims and Methods in Aristotle’s Politics

Rowe, Christopher J. “Aims and Methods in Aristotle’s Politics.” Classical Quarterly 27: 159-72, 1977.


” This originated in an attempt to come to terms with the problems which arise from the structure of the politics. It is no news to anyone who has the slightest familiarity with the politics that the work reads, to borrow a phrase of Barker’s,  not as a composition but as composite.

Broadly speaking, it falls into three parts: Books I-III, Books IV-VI, and Books VII-VIII. Books I-III and VII-VIII seem to belong fairly closely together; IV-VI have  Traditionally been regarded, with no little justification, as interlopers, raking the initial continuity of the argument between III and VII. Hence the tendency among earlier scholars to place IV-VI after VIII.  The main justification for this procedure is that at the end of III, Aristotle clearly promises and immediate treatment of  a certain subject and that this promised treatment seems to occur only in VII and VIII; IV-VI  are not only on that subject, but deliberately and explicitly covered aside the exclusive reactivation with that subject which seems to characterize both of the other two blocks of books.  There are other considerations, too,  which support the view that IV  does not long after III:  her example the absence of a connecting particle at the beginning of IV;  the manner of the opening of IV;  and the mutilated sentence at the end of III.”

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