Justice, prudence, and foreign relations in Aristotle’s political thought.


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This dissertation examines how the political thought of Aristotle addresses foreign relations and the nature of international politics. I argue that for Aristotle the practice of justice and prudence occurs only in relation to the common good of particular and separate political communities. Thus, the possibility of human happiness, understood to be the life of virtue, depends on the existence of separate and free political communities. Aristotle nevertheless understands natural justice and natural friendship as a sign of a fundamental human community, which helps explain his concern for just foreign relations. Thus, although human happiness depends on participation in a self-sufficient political community, it does not prescind from human relationships that cross the boundaries of political communities. I conclude by showing how Aristotle’s political thought combines strengths of contemporary theories, such as realism, liberalism, or cosmopolitanism, while at the same time avoiding their weaknesses.



Political philosophy. International relations.