Friendship, rights, and community : Aristotle and John Locke on the family and political life.
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Cain, Patrick N.
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This dissertation develops an account of Aristotle's view of the family in contrast to the now more familiar and influential understanding derived from Locke's theory of rights and government. For Locke, the individual as an autonomous unit enters into associations such as the family and civil society on a contractual basis, for limited purposes and with limited obligations. In response to the Lockean approach, this dissertation explores Aristotle's view of the family, the relations between men and women, and the political and philosophic implications of his position. It argues that, for Aristotle, friendship in the family is the source and foundation of political life. The proper practice of politics aims at friendship, and depends upon the development of a family structure conducive to that goal. For Aristotle, this development means transforming a family dominated by the manliness of the father into a family that makes room for the rule of the woman—a rule that allows for and fosters friendship. When properly structured, the family affirms an important role for women, an influence that is crucial to the formation of political life and its proper practice. Aristotle's view of the family offers a richer and more comprehensive framework for our thinking about the relations within the family between husbands and wives, and parents and children, as well as relations between the family and the broader political communities.
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