First published in 1998, this volume compares the political ideals and ideas of Plato and Aristotle to examine whether they are relevant in that era of American constitutional crisis. The author, Raymond Polin, felt that debate had been hampered by focusing too strongly on America’s existing constitutional system, and hoped that exploring the roots of Western political tradition and alternative conceptions of constitutionalism might increase the kind of understanding humanity should seek. He considers concepts of constitutionalism, gives summary accounts of the philosophers’ lives and times, identify their key political ideas and reproduces some of their work verbatim, with the aim being to serve as a textbook for constitutional education. It will be of interest to teachers and students of the American system of government.
Table of Contents
1. The Idea of Constitutionalism. 2. Athenian Constitutional Background. 3. Biographical Note on Plato. 4. Plato’s Ideal Political Theory: The Republic. 5. Plat’s More Realistic Political Theory: The Statesman. 6. Plato’s More Sophisticated Political Theory: The Laws. 7. Biographical Note on Aristotle. 8. Concepts Aristotle Explicated: The Athenian Constitution. 9. Concepts Aristotle Advocated: The Politics. 10. Comparisons and Conclusions.