Aristotle’s Democratic Polis: Explanation or Warning?
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A democratic polis requires a citizenry that is capable of choice, that is, a decision informed by reason and facts. Tyranny requires obedient subjects. Democratic citizens normally pursue happiness, a life of virtuous activity, a way of living that requires fami-ly and friendship. Periclean Athens demonstrates the perils of democracy when the polis assumes the prerogatives of the family and friendship, substituting patriotism. The Funeral Oration illustrates how a seductive charismatic leader undermines Aristotelian conditions of ideal citizenship by subordinating the citizen to the polis.
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