Date of Thesis



While much of Aristotle's works are preserved in various volumes, two of his famous works are the Nichmachean Ethics and the Politics, both of which contain a rich compilation of ethical and political thought. In the Ethics, Aristotle describes a thorough understanding of ethical and intellectual virtue. By pursuing these virtues, Aristotle argues that a person can achieve a life of fulfilling happiness. The ideal polis as described in the Politics serves as a place where the virtuous life is attained in the best manner.Citizens who pursue virtue make the polis better, and the rulers that guide the polis ensure that the citizens have every opportunity to pursue the virtuous life. In this thesis, I see how relevant Aristotle's theory is by laying out the basic principles of the Ethics and the Politics and the connections between the two works. Indoing so, I found that Aristotle's ideal theory points out a significant flaw in our political system: the fact that we do not share a common moral conception such as the one concerned with the virtuous life as Aristotle proposes. This does not suggest thatAristotle's view was actualized during his time period, but that Aristotle conceives of an ideal life and an ideal polis that could be realized. Certainly there are issues with Aristotle's thesis concerning the inferiority of slaves and women. But what is morepoignant is the impracticality of instituting a shared common conception when today's political system permits various ideas about ethics and morality.


Aristotle, ethics, politics, virtue

Access Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Jeffrey S. Turner



Included in

Philosophy Commons