Do only modern thinkers like Machiavelli and Hobbes accept that conflict plays a significant role in the origin and maintenance of political community? In this book, Steven Skultety argues that Aristotle not only took conflict to be an inevitable aspect of political life, but further recognized ways in which conflict promotes the common good. While many scholars treat Aristotelian conflict as an absence of substantive communal ideals, Skultety argues that Aristotle articulated a view of politics that theorizes profoundly different kinds of conflict. Aristotle comprehended the subtle factors that can lead otherwise peaceful citizens to contemplate outright civil war, grasped the unique conditions that create hopelessly implacable partisans, and systematized tactics rulers could use to control regrettable, but still manageable, levels of civic distrust. Moreover, Aristotle conceived of debate, enduring disagreement, social rivalries, and competitions for leadership as an indispensable part of how human beings live well together in successful political life. By exploring the ways in which citizens can be at odds with one another, Conflict in Aristotle’s Political Philosophy presents a dimension of ancient Greek thought that is startlingly relevant to contemporary concerns about social divisions, constitutional crises, and the range of acceptable conflict in healthy democracies.
“Through debate with other scholars, this book clarifies the meaning of stasis, a central term in Aristotle’s Politics; speculates about the limits of Aristotle’s notion of practical wisdom; and puts in dialogue Aristotle’s historical thought with contemporary debates about the nature of political conflict.” — Thornton Lockwood, Quinnipiac University
Steven Skultety is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Mississippi.
“Its theme is political fanaticism, with which it deals severely and brilliantly.” —New Yorker
A stevedore on the San Francisco docks in the 1940s, Eric Hoffer wrote philosophical treatises in his spare time while living in the railroad yards. The True Believer—the first and most famous of his books—was made into a bestseller when President Eisenhower cited it during one of the earliest television press conferences.
Called a “brilliant and original inquiry” and “a genuine contribution to our social thought” by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., this landmark in the field of social psychology is completely relevant and essential for understanding the world today as it delivers a visionary, highly provocative look into the mind of the fanatic and a penetrating study of how an individual becomes one.