Review of Metaphysics 55 (2):269 - 295 (2001)

RECENT DEBATES HAVE EXAMINED AGAIN whether the concept of individual natural “rights” is significant for Aristotle’s political philosophy and ethics. Fred D. Miller’s Nature, Justice, and Rights in Aristotle’s Politics is the most sustained recent attempt to argue that Aristotle’s Politics is centrally concerned with the issue of individual rights based on nature and that no anachronism is involved in arguing this. Aristotle’s Politics, it is argued, should thus be seen as the precursor of later theories of individual rights, although it would be a mistake to infer from this that Aristotle employed a specifically liberal understanding of rights even though his work is foundational for those later theories. In a symposium in this Review devoted to discussing Miller’s arguments, a number of both supporting and critical responses were published. One result to emerge from this symposium was the fundamental lack of agreement on how to translate key Greek terms such as to dikaion/ta dikaia which Miller argues should sometimes be translated as “just-claim right.” This lack of agreement among the most authoritative classical scholars raises important methodological issues concerning the kind of criteria that may be appropriate in such a dispute.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph2001552126
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