Aristotle and the judgment of the many: Equality, not collective quality

Melissa Schwartzberg

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Aristotle's doctrine of the wisdom of the multitude (DWM) has become a canonical reference for political theorists, particularly supporters of epistemic approaches to democracy. Yet the excessive focus on the collective capacity of the many has obscured a more promising defense of democracy within Aristotle's work. Despite Aristotle's infamous arguments defending unequal merit and hierarchical relationships, his account of citizenship is strikingly egalitarian: he argues that citizenship, properly distributed, reflects an equal capacity for judgment. On this basis, an Aristotelian justification of democracy emerges, one quite distinct from the DWM-inflected defense of collective judgments.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)733-745
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Politics
    Volume78
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jul 2016

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science

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