The Aristotelian Criticism of the Liberal Foundations of Modern State

Author: Marcin Gajek
Institution: Collegium Civitas in Warsaw (Poland)
Year of publication: 2016
Source: Show
Pages: 272-287
DOI Address:
PDF: ppsy/45/ppsy2016021.pdf

The paper discusses some fundamental differences between Aristotelian and modern conceptions of the state. It focuses its attention on the early liberal thinkers, such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, and contrasts the theory of state developed by them with the classical republican ideal described by Aristotle. As I will demonstrate main differences come down to (1) distinct ideas concerning the state’s origins (and especially human motivations behind establishing the state), (2) divergent convictions about the role of the state and its ethical dimension; and finally (3) different beliefs concerning basic feelings and passions which sustain existence of political community. I argue that on the basis of Stagirite’s philosophy it is possible to question whether civic association described by the precursors of liberal political thought is actually the state. In conclusion, I signalize the problem of serious limitations of contemporary liberal democracies (or even their internal contradictions) resulting from their attempt to follow an ideal of an ideologically neutral state. 

Edukacja liberalna we współczesnej myśli politycznej

Author: Janusz Grygieńć
Institution: Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika w Toruniu
Year of publication: 2013
Source: Show
Pages: 7-27
DOI Address:
PDF: kie/96/kie9601.pdf

Liberal Education in the Contemporary Political Thought

The article is devoted to the problem of the place ascribed to liberal education (and most of all to humanities as constituting its essential part) in contemporary political thought. In times when many rightist as well as leftist thinkers diagnose a crisis of liberal democracy and its educational system, displaying much anxiety about the still-lowering level of citizens’ willingness to participate in a public sphere, some of them propose their diagnosis of such situation and postulates of reform aimed at raising the level of citizens’ engagement in democratic life. One of the means to achieving that goal is implementation of the idea of liberal education, which might work in favor of students’ character development, their acquisition of a holistic view of reality, and their consciousness of the fact of overlapping character of relations binding individual and communal wellbeing. The article aims at presenting theoretical ways of defending humanities in face of contemporary restatement of the role of liberal education in Western societies. The course of argument is following: firstly the transition made in XXth century from “liberal education” to “education to liberalism” (resulting in specialization and vocational character of science) will be traced. Then the opinions of critics to such model of education will be shown, focusing on the representatives of three political doctrines: republicanism, communitarianism and liberalism. In case of each of these group of thinkers their characteristic attitude towards humanities, will be displayed.

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