If one believes "certain" scholars of Classical political philosophy, who write about Aristotle and his Politics, one would think that Aristotle, like Plato, has high praise for founders--i.e., lawgivers or legislators--of cities. In fact, one would think that the whole science of politics centers on regime (politeia) legislation or as one scholar has put it, his "science of the best regime."(1) This, on first glance, would agree with the role that the regime plays in Aristotle's political science (cf. Politics 3.4-7). Aristotle argues in the Politics that regimes are of the utmost and central importance in any understanding of the political activity of human beings (3.1.1274b30-38 and 3.7.1279a22-31). Yet, if we go back to the text would we find such a view, holding regime legislation so central and important, plausible? The answer that I tentatively give is no, in that such a reading is not supported by the Politics text.

Instead of a view of politics that stresses the importance of regime legislation, Aristotle favors a view of politics that stress preservation and hence favors statesmanship over legislation.(2) This is supported by the famous statement made by Aristotle that "to reform a regime is no small task than to institute one from the beginning" (4.1.1289a4). The ironic tone of "[it] is no small task" gives the opposite impression, that to preserve a regime is a greater and thus more important task than founding one. Thus, it is a task that requires far more skill and wisdom.(3) In so much as, the preservation of a regime--understood for our purposes as statesmanship or the activity of the politikos--appears to require a higher capacity of wisdom and political expertise than does merely legislating a regime, therefore regime preservation must also be more important than the legislation of a regime.(4)

On the other hand, Plato, in his Laws and Republic, addresses his political philosophy mostly towards the founding of regimes, not their preservation. A Platonic view of philosophic politics appears merely to rest upon theorizing about the best regime or planning to establish the second best regime, rather than preserving and thus reforming existing regimes. Such a policy is wise only if one takes seriously the account of regime change presented at Republic 8, which argues that regime preservation is most unlikely or said more correctly, perversion is inevitable. But Aristotle rejects this teaching. Rather, he stresses the importance of preservation over founding in his political science (Politics 5.12). To strengthen this claim, we will examine Politics 2, but before we do that, we need to examine the scholarship on Aristotle's view of legislation.

The Prospect of the Legislator in Aristotle

It is suggested that Aristotle at Nicomachean Ethics 10.9 argues for the supremacy or central role in his political science of a legislative science.(5) Although in Nicomachean Ethics 10.9, Aristotle appears to lay down the intellectual ground work for a legislative science, in that the Nicomachean Ethics ends on a proposal to address the issue of legislation, yet the issue of legislation implied there is about laws (nomoi)--especially laws that address the education of citizens of a regime--and not about the establishment of regimes, per se.

Thus, the assumed project of the end of the Nicomachean Ethics, the advocacy of a legislative science, is not to be continued in the Politics. The focus of the Politics is the regime and not laws. This is because, as Politics 3 makes clear, laws are derivative of and thus dependant upon regimes. Therefore the science of legislation advocated at Nicomachean Ethics 10.9 seems, from the point of view of the Politics, to be radically regime dependant and therefore not really central to Aristotle's political science.

However, if one does not read the proposal for a legislative science at Nicomachean Ethics 10.9 in its narrow sense--dealing with laws--rather than its wider sense--dealing with the establishment or the founding of regimes, then maybe one can argue that the proposal of a legislative science is in fact a transitional link between the Nicomachean Ethics and the Politics. But the actual context of Nicomachean Ethics 10.9 does not support this view of legislation, in that the text discusses the issue of laws and legislation in the narrow sense and not about the establishment of regimes--or legislation in the broader sense.

H. H. Joachim in his commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics only briefly covers this issue of the legislator, where he addresses the transition from the Nicomachean Ethics to the Politics. Yet in doing so, Joachim unknowingly points to the strong dependence of the advocacy of the legislative science to the necessity for the city to educate through a system of compulsive education via. a system of laws.(6) To make men better through educating through the laws is the reason stated why one is to become a legislator. Thus, in one sense, Joachim and Richard Bodeus agree that this is the thrust of Aristotle's case for legislation. But again, this is advocating legislation in its much narrower sense of craftsman of laws and not in its larger sense of craftsman of regimes.

Therefore, if we examine the distinction between the two different role of legislation in Aristotle we see that Richard Bodeus' account of Aristotle's legislator seems to blur the distinction Aristotle himself makes between the legislator who is the craftsman of a regime (politeia) and the one who is the craftsman of laws (nomoi).(7) Thus he appears to ignore the distinction between the two types of legislators and treat them as though they were the same. Therefore, his account of the legislator presented at Nicomachean Ethics 10.9 presupposes an account of the legislator as regime creator which is not presented there.

Also, since legislation is to be tied to making men better by helping them attain happiness through educating them in the best way of life, we must again remember that the best way of life varies from one regime to another--as does law. Thus any discussion of legislation, as strictly presented at Nicomachean Ethics 10.9, is inferior to a science of the legislation in its larger sense, one which creates a regime. This is so, in that regimes are that which gives shape and specific definition to laws. This is to say that regimes particularize laws. Thus one may call the science of legislation in its wider sense, a science of regimes--which does accurately describe the project of the Politics. But given the narrow focus of the account of legislation presented at Nicomachean Ethics 10.9, we are forced to look elsewhere for the treatment of legislation understood to focus on its wider definition. Again, that place is Politics 2.

Examples of the Legislative Art

Politics 2 is Aristotle's presentation of the legislative art, in the context of regime creation. Here, Aristotle presents 1) several theoretical examples of founding the best regime (Plato, Phaleas, and Hippodamus), 2) existing regimes that are said to be well managed (Sparta, Crete, and Carthage), and 3) A brief history of legislators.(8) Of these three accounts found in Politics 2, let us focus on the latter two. The purpose of focusing on the latter two, is to stress the connection of the problem of legislation and the view of politics as a practical and not theoretical problem. This is done because it is in practice where we clearly see Aristotle's reason for stressing the greater importance of statesmanship over regime legislation.(9)

Of the regimes that are held to be finely (kalos) administered, one important Greek regime is conspicuous by its absence--Athens. Although not treated directly with the other regimes, it is discussed later in connection with its legislator, Solon. We are forced to wonder why Athens is not discussed with the other regimes? Could the answer really be that it is not considered to be finely administered? Let us keep this in mind. Another interesting point is that of the three regimes which are said to be finely administered, one, Carthage, city seems to have no legislator that is responsible for its regime. First, let us look at these three finely administered cities.

Of the three cities, which Aristotle says are held to be finely administered, Sparta and Crete are said to have legislators, whereas Carthage has no mention of a specific legislator.(10) Of Sparta, it is commonly reported that Lycurgus was its legislator. Lycurgus was a student of Thales, a philosopher (2.12.1274a29). Of Crete, it is said that Minos, who is of divine origins, was their legislator (2.10.1271b31).(11) Now, of the three regimes, Aristotle discusses Lycurgus's Sparta the most. In fact, his discussion of Sparta is twice as long as either his discussion of Carthage or Crete, which are of equal length.(12) Another important point is that of the three regimes, Aristotle is the most critical of Sparta and the less critical of Cartage. Thus there is a correspondence to length of discussion and severity of criticism that is made of these three cities.

The key flaw of the Spartan regime is the laxness of the women (2.9.1269a39-40). Aristotle says that Lycurgus tried to lead the women toward the regime but they resisted and he gave up (2.9.1270a5-7). Thus one of the critical flaws of the Spartans seems to lie with the failure of the legislator to make an element of the city to conform to the new regime.

Now, concerning Carthage, Aristotle says, "the Carthaginians are also held to govern themselves in a way that is fine and in many respects extraordinary [when] compared to [the] others; but in certain respects they are particularly similar to the Spartans" (2.11.1272b24-27). He then goes on to show how the Carthaginians are similar to the Spartans and yet superior to them in how they handel similar political institutions.

Aristotle notes that all the defects that occur in the Carthaginian regime "happen to be common to all the regime mentioned" (2.11.1273a2-3). If this is true, then it appears that this regime must be superior to the Spartan regime. But this would cause an interesting problem for the science of legislation, in that Carthage appears to be a regime without a legislator--at least there is no mention made of one in the text by Aristotle at Politics 2.11.(13) Now this regime without a legislator is said to be superior to the regime created by Sparta's legislator, Lycurgus, who is generally held up to be the most philosophic of legislators.(14)

The absence of a legislator begs a question concerning how the Carthaginian regime came to be. The answer to this question is found in what Aristotle says keeps the Carthaginian regime from the consequences of its defects. It is through chance and not through planning or legislation that this regime either comes into existence or is preserved (2.11.1273b23). Let us now examine the defect of the Carthaginian regime and come to understand what it teaches us about the limits of legislation.

The major defect of the Carthaginians is their regime is extremely oligarchic in both character and make up. This is seen in that it is possible for someone to buy or purchase the high political offices. This, Aristotle says, leads the people, and the city as a whole, to be extremely greedy (2.11.1273a39). But Carthage escapes the consequences of being an oligarchic regime by the fact that "a part of the people is always becoming wealthy" through trade and commerce and this heals the regime by allowing it to last (2.11.1273b18-21). But this occurs not due to the intention of the legislator of the Carthaginians, in that no legislator is mentioned, rather it occurred through chance (2.11.1273b23). Thus, it is not through the legislator intent that they escape factional conflict but through chance. Therefore, Aristotle says that how they avoid factional conflict is no way to reasonable way to deal with the problem if the multitude (who are not ruling) some day choose to revolt (2.11.1273b23-24).

What does this says about legislator and legislating regimes? Does it not hint that regimes can come into being and succeed without legislators or legislation? I believe that the example of Carthage is intended to make us wonder about how important regime legislation really is for the future success or perpetuation of a regime. Because in the case of Carthage, we have a regime that has no legislator (or at least none mentioned), and that not only exists but is said to be better than the regime with the most philosophic of legislators, Lycurgus's Sparta. It is also superior to the regime established by the most divine of legislators, Minos' Crete. Given this, we have at least one example how legislation is not as important as one would at first think.

The Example of Solon

The next example, which will also challenge the importance of legislation in Aristotle's political science, will be the example of Solon at Politics 2.12. The discussion of Solon and the regime he establishes takes over one third of the whole chapter, which topic is lawgivers or legislators.(15) Now, at this point in the text, Aristotle specifies two types of legislators: 1) craftsmen of laws or 2) craftsmen of regimes (2.12.1273b32-33). In opening the discussion of legislators, Aristotle notes that of legislators, who were both makers of regimes and laws, Lycurgus and Solon are examples (2.12.1273b33). He says that Lycurgus and his regime had been discussed earlier (see Politics 2.9) and because of this he will not discuss Lycurgus here; instead, Aristotle discusses the example of Solon and his regime, the Athenian democracy.

Aristotle goes on to say that there are some who consider Solon to have been "an excellent legislator" (2.12.1273b35-74a2), and there are others who blame him for the current depravity of the Athens, in that his regime paved the way for the current radical democracy (2.12.1274a3-11). But Aristotle implies that Solon is innocent of the charges of the latter group, in that it is wrong to blame Solon because the changes that caused the current regime "appears to have happened coincidentally rather than in accordance with" his intention (2.12.74a12-13).

Aristotle states that the change to the radical democracy occurred because of the "naval supremacy during the Persian wars," which gave weight to the many's demand for greater political authority (3.12.1274a14-15). He argues that, Solon only gave to the people "the most necessary powers," so they would not be "enslaved and thus an enemy [to the regime]." Also, Solon made room for both the well-off and the respectable to play important roles in the regime, where the current regime seeks to punish and eliminate any authority they may have left in the city (2.12.1274a15-20). Thus Solon is not guilty of paving the way for this regime. The situation Athens finds itself in, having a radical democracy, occurred because of the necessity of establishing the strong navy. Without a strong navy, Athens would have been defeated by the Persians and the Athenian democracy established by Solon would have been replaced by Persian tyranny, which one would think is far worse than defective democracy.

Although Solon is innocent of the current status of Athenian radical democracy, but this again point to the fundamental defect of legislators and the dependency on a legislative science for the understanding of politics.(16) The problem is that legislators, who found regimes, only set up the regime, but from that point on circumstance, environment, and necessity lead to changes or regime deviations which the founder did not intend. Again, the rise of the navy and the resulting increasing of the many's power in the city is a good example of this problem. This leads us to question the limits of legislation in Aristotle's understanding of politics.

Founding and the Problem of Natural Right

The principles used in the founding of regimes by the legislator are to be derived from an apprehension of human nature and the given circumstances--in terms of history and environment--of a given people.(17) Thus a founder relies upon Natural Right in his act of founding a regime. Yet given the nature of Natural Right--dependent upon circumstance, environment, and condition--the premise that a regime was founded upon may be no longer. Thus the intention of the lawgiver may also no longer the right or proper course of action. Therefore, the mere intention of the legislator is not sufficient for either a sound policy nor a sound politics.

Another difficulty with preserving the legislator's intent is that the legislator's understanding of the nature of his subjects may originally been faulty in a minor but critical way.(18) One which may not have been disastrous originally, but over time leads to excesses which allows the regime to go down the path of inequity and the perversion of human nature (i.e., become tyrannical in character). Such a fatal flaw in apprehending the proper nature of the subject, if not corrected--if correction is possible--will lead to the demise of the regime.

In one sense, the lesson of Politics 2 is that all regimes, that are held to be well managed, change or fall apart because either the regime founder erred or circumstance changed the originating conditions, from which the founder apprehended in creating the regime. Given this, legislation is not and cannot be more important that statesmanship in Aristotle's political science.

This returns us to the praise of statesmanship implicit in Aristotle's remark--that to preserve and thus reform a regime is no small task as founding one (4.1.1289a4). The preservation or reforming of regime is the act of statesmen not legislators, understood as craftsman of regimes. If one compares the space in the Politics devoted to the foundation of regime (Books 2 and 7) versus the space devoted to preserving and reforming regimes (Books 4, 5, and 6), the weight of Aristotelian political science appears to be on the side of statesmanship against regime legislation.

Limits on the Legislative Art

Chance or circumstance plays a large role in human political activity. Thus the fate of a particular regime's foundation rests ultimately upon circumstance than on the planning of its legislator. Is this not what the account of Crete, Carthage, Sparta, and Athens, persented in Politics 2, intends to indicate? Now to avoid the fate, regime change that occurs because of circumstance, the creation of a science (epistime) of legislation would be called for. This science of legislation would have to be able to over come both necessity and circumstance.(19) But Aristotle holds such an exact science of legislation as impossible. He does so because human wisdom concerning practical affairs is temporally and circumstantially limited (See NE 6). However, he does admit the possibility of regime legislation, the founding of regimes. But such activity is dependant upon both the ability of human wisdom to grasp the nature of things and shape that understanding to the given circumstances and environment one is forced to deal with.

Even if a science of legislation was possible, it would be extremely limited by its necessitative reliance upon keeping the intention of the regime's founder alive in succeeding generations. But this is the political problem. Circumstance interferes with maintaining the founder's intentions, because the circumstance of the human environment changes. Again one is reminded of the growth of Athenian naval power and the corresponding growth of the many's power in Athens, making the Athenian regime for democratic that the founder, Solon, intended (See 2.12.1274a14-20). Thus political necessity requires certain courses of action to be taken, which are dependant upon changed circumstances or conditions, for the survival of the polis. These actions will fundamentally change the character of the city, taking it afield of the founder's intent.

The problem of maintaining the founder's intent is akin to the problem of bringing about human justice, understood to be bringing forth the intent of nature. The attempt to bring forth nature's intent is called Natural Right (phusis dike). In this light, successful statesmanship relies upon an attempt to come to bring about the intention of the regime's founder, as Natural Right attempts to bring about the intention of nature. The following diagram is helpful:

Another way to understand this relationship is to view it in this manner:

Given these two examples, one is forced to realize that although the legislator appeals directly Natural Right in creating a regime, the statesman must not only be able to appeal to Natural Right but also to the given laws of a regime, established by the legislator. Thus the task of statesmanship is further complicated than legislation and thus requires far more wisdom than the mere creation of a regime does. Hence, its "no small task."


It has been my attempt throughout this paper to challenge the assumptions about the significance regime legislation has within Aristotle's political science. The claim that it plays a central role in Aristotle's political science is one which, although not at this moment authoritative in the scholarship, is nevertheless growing in acceptance.(20) Yet it is my belief that this view is to be understood as part of these scholars greater attempt to make Aristotle more like Plato or at least their Plato.(21) They want to make Aristotle hold regime legislation as central, because Plato does.(22) Thus, in the end, they end up distorting both Plato and Aristotle.

Also, in one fundamental sense these scholars who stress regime creation over regime preservation seem to make their arguments appear more Modern than Ancient.(23) Although Modern political philosophers, Machiavelli and Rousseau seem to side with Plato against Aristotle, in that they stress the importance of founders or lawgivers, this understanding of founding is a founding that is wholly artifice--a product of human will divorced and meant to conquer both circumstance and nature. But in one sense this would agree with a certain reading of Plato, especially of his Republic and Laws.(24) Yet this view is not Aristotle's, who holds that the polis (i.e., the political community) is a fundamental part of human nature. Aristotle argues that human beings are political animals and therefore belong in and must participate, in some form, within a political community (see Politics 1.2 and 3.9).

Since the human condition as essentially political in a given situation of humans already living in a political community of some form, Aristotle's political science addresses the conditions human beings find themselves in and is not concerned with establishing new and "so-called" perfect forms of human community. As opposed to Plato and his Socrates who appears to do just that, create cities in speech that are ideal or perfectly just.

The fact is that human beings are faced with existing political systems that frame both one's understanding of the world and one's understanding of the probable, or even possible, political possibilities. Thus Aristotle stresses the centrality of statesmanship, because in the scope of the political experience of human beings rarely does one found new cities. Legislation is a rarity or extreme situation, one which political actors usually do not find themselves dealing with. Now, this does not mean that Aristotle rejects the idea of the best regime in theory, but rather he does not allow the best regime in theory to ignore the practical limitation of human nature. Unlike Plato, who's best regime tend to forget he is dealing with flesh and blood human beings and thus his best regime either becomes a practically impossible or becomes unjust to implement.

Finally, it is Aristotle's fundamental respect for the limits that human nature imposes on politics that he limits the importance of regime legislation. As I have argued, regime legislation cannot be central to human political experience in that it is an extreme human situation. On the other hand, statesmanship is central, in that it deals with the daily activity of the political life. It stresses the importance of wisdom, or what Aristotle calls phronesis, in human political activity, which helps human beings to avoid either disaster or injustice. It deals not only with preserving the regime but bettering it by making it more just. In doing this, statesmanship is more likely that regime legislation, to eventually make possible the coming into be the actuality of the best regime.


1. Robert Bartlett, "Aristotle's Science of the Best Regime," APSR 88, 1 (March 1994), pp. 143-155 and "The 'Realism' of Classical Political Science," AJPS 38, 2 (May 1994) pp. 381-402.

2. Founder, lawgiver, legislator are all used for the Greek nomothetes. Since, in English, these words are equally related, it will not detrimentally alter the meaning of the Greek to interchange them in reference to nomothetes.

3. By wisdom, I do not mean wisdom as understood as sophia presented at NE 6, but phronesis which is also presented there. Although prudence is the more technically precise word, wisdom is however more generic and more applicable in responding to some critics who equate phronesis to closely with statesmanship and wisdom with founding or legislating a regime (contrast to Bartlett, "Aristotle's Science of the Best Regime," p. 154).

4. For the best account of the importance or more correctly the centrality of statesmanship in Aristotle's political science, see Mary Nichols, Citizen and Statesmen, (Savage, Md: Roman and Littlefield, 1991).

5. Richard Bodeus, The Political Dimensions of Aristotle's Ethics, (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1993), pp. 57-59 and 63-68.

6. H. H. Joachim, Aristotle's The Nicomachean Ethics: A Commentary, ed. D. A. Rees, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951), p. 298.

7. Richard Bodeus, The Political Dimension of Aristotle's Ethics, pp. 47-68.

8. See Mary Nichols, Socrates and the Political Community, (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1987), pp. 169-175 and Citizens and Statesmen, pp. 44-48.

9. The only serious defect in Nichols' overall understanding of Aristotle's Politics, found in her Citizens and Statesmen, is that she does not distinguish between legislation, in either sense, and statesmanship. In not distinguishing between the two she cannot adequately defend her argument about the centrality of statesmanship in Aristotle's political science against Bartlett's view of the centrality of philosophic regime legislation.

Also, where she does discuss the role of legislation in Aristotle's Politics in Citizens and Statesmen, she again does not distinguish between legislation and statesmanship (p. 48). Because she does not do so, she ends up, in her discussion there, muddling together the two together and missing the important contrast Aristotle is pointing toward, which supports her view for the centrality of statesmanship.

It could be argued that Nichols inherits this blurring of statesmanship and legislation from Leo Strauss, who also seems not to fundamentally distinguish between the two. See Strauss, "On Classical Political Philosophy," in What is Political Philosophy: And Other Studies, (New York: Basic Books, 1959).

10. There is a reference to a legislator (2.11.1273a31-32), but one wonders if this is only a figurative legislator in order for Aristotle's discussion of this regime to be consistent with the other two accounts?

11. Most of Bartlett's argument concerning "Aristotle's Science of the Best Regime" centers about Aristotle's criticism of the Cretian regime which is suppose to show his supposed rejection of divinely based legislation in favor of a rational or philosophically based legislation (see Bartlett, "Aristotle' Science of the Best Regime"). Yet Bartlett's account is problematic in that he fails to notice that Aristotle is less critical of Crete, a regime with a divine legislator, that Sparta, a regime with a philosophic or rationalistic legislator. One would think Bartlett would be required to address this fact, but he never does.

12. Again, given that Sparta represents philosophical or rationalistic regime legislation, one would think Bartlett would be somehow required to address Aristotle's massive critique of the Spartan regime and the Spartan Legislator, Lycurgus, but Bartlett does not do so. Rather he either ignores it or neglects to bring it up. Thus Sparta is conspicuous by it absence (See Bartlett, "Aristotle's Science of the Best Regime").

13. Mary Nichols argues that Aristotle does hold that Carthage has a legislator, but gives no name, as he does to the Spartan and Cretian legislator. Yet, Nichols argues, Aristotle then criticizes this unnamed legislator "for neglecting an expedient that would have discouraged the city's oligarchic tendencies." She says that Aristotle implies that Carthage "in effect, has not had the care of a lawgiver" (Citizens and Statesmen, p. 47.).

I argue that the unnamed legislator is only done as a hypothesis to point out the fact that the regime of Carthage is founded upon chance and not the planing of a legislator. Thus Nichols point does not contradict the point I am making but rather takes a long way to basically agree with the view of Carthage as a regime without the intention of a legislator behind it.

14. Mary Nichols support this point in Citizens and Statesmen, p. 47.

15. See John J. Keaney, "Aristotle, Politics 2.12.1274a22-b28," American Journal of Ancient History 6, 2 (1981), pp. 97-100.

16. Nichols does have a brief account of Solon in her Socrates and the Political Community. However in discussing Solon and his regime, she again shows her blurring the important distinction between statesmanship and legislation. Although Nichols almost notices the distinction, when she discusses the differences between a change in laws versus a change of regimes. Yet she fails to draw out the implications of this distinction on her discussion on legislators and statesmanship (pp. 172-73). Thus legislation deals specifically with the establishing of a regime, therefore it is limited in scope by chance, circumstance, and the duration of time. Whereas statesmanship deals with the political implications of immediate experience, taking into account both the particulars of the given regime and the dictates of Natural Right.

17. Natural Right is what is right or just by nature. Or what is intended by human nature to be just for human beings. Thus Natural Right is the use of human reason to apprehend the design of nature for human beings. See NE 5.7.1134b9-35a5. Also see Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History, (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1953) and Eric Voegelin, "What is Right by Nature?", in Anamnesis, trans and ed by Gerhart Niemeyer, (Columbia: University of Missouri Press), pp. 55-70.

18. Nichols argues that Lycurgus's failures, 1) to bring women under the regime and 2) his merely emphasizing courage over the other virtues, show a defect in his understanding of both human nature and the nature of politics, because Lycurgus left too much outside the regime scope and therefore made his regime fail to be "sufficiently comprehensive." Thus, he allowed his regime to be "prey to chance" (Citizens and Statesmen, p. 47).

19. Is this not the "new modes and orders" promised by Machiavelli? Is not the modern project of Machiavelli an attempt to conquer fortune and hence also conquer both circumstance (understood as necessity) and chance? See Strauss Thoughts on Machiavelli (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1958) and "What is Political Philosophy?" in What is Political Philosophy: And Other Studies.

20. See Bartlett, "Aristotle's Science of the Best Regime."

21. Is it not interesting that Strauss on his essay "On Aristotle's Politics" spends a quarter of the whole essay on Plato rather on the Politics text. And when he does spend discussing issues in Aristotle's political thought, it is more on issues which arise in the NE rather than the Politics. See Strauss, The City and Man, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), pp. 13-49.

22. Strauss speaks of Classical political philosophy and its view of the legislator as though Plato and Aristotle speaks with one voice. I argue that this is not the case and the position Strauss takes here is disingenuous, in that it would not admit the radical limitations on legislation that Aristotle suggests against the limitlessness value of legislation that Plato plainly argues. See Strauss, "On Classical Political Philosophy" in What is Political Philosophy: And Other Studies. Cf. Bartlett, "The 'Realism' of Classical Political Science." Bartlett inherits this view of the legislator from Strauss's position.

23. Bartlett justifies the importance of regime legislation as a way to defend modern liberalism, which is founded upon modern rationalism likewise rejection of Revelation (See Bartlett, "Aristotle's Science of the Best Regime," p. 143-44). In this light, it is interesting that Stanley Rosen argue in Hermeneutics as Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987) that Plato is a modern.

24. See Allan Bloom, "Aristophanes and Socrates: A Response to Hall," Giants and Dwarfs, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990), pp. 162-63, 164.

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