Thornton Lockwood
Quinnipiac University
Current events force upon Americans not only the duties of a citizen of a nation at war but also the conceptual challenge of understanding the nature of citizenship. In Aristotle and the Rediscovery of Citizenship Susan Collins argues that contemporary liberal political theory, based on presuppositions about the priority of the individual to the state, is incapable of responding to such an intellectual challenge. At least since the publication of John Rawls’ Political Liberalism (1993), contemporary liberal political theory has struggled to articulate an account of liberal citizenship which captures the obligations inherent in citizenship consistent with the individual freedom inherent in liberalism. But Collins argues that it is only through a return to Aristotle, who does not share liberal presuppositions, that we can understand the limitations of the liberal notion of citizenship adequately. To understand two crucial issues—the relationship of the right to the good and the nature of civic education—Collins claims we “must begin from Aristotle’s treatment of law and the education to moral virtue in his Nicomachean Ethics. This treatment opens the way to his direct investigation of the meaning and limits of citizenship in the Politics” (3).
Keywords Aristotle  Politics  citizenship
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ISBN(s) 0019-0365
DOI 10.5840/ipq200747166
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