Date of Thesis

Spring 2020


The nature of this project is to have a clearer understanding of Aristotle’s views on women and their role in the polis. To do this, this paper will discuss various texts written by Aristotle — mainly the Politics and Nicomachean Ethics — as a way of understanding the core of what Aristotle wrote regarding virtue, reason, morality and the political structure of a well functioning city-state. After showing Aristotle’s core conceptions of how all of these faculties work together to form the polis, this project will move into an analysis of how Book I of Aristotle’s Politics — primarily the capacities of women in the polis as set by what I will call the Authority Claim — can be interpreted. The next chapter will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each viewpoint in an effort to show that although valid under some criteria, each fails to fully explain Aristotle’s view of women’s status within the polis. Once these interpretations have been shown to be incomplete in nature, this paper will argue that although Aristotle creates a narrative that seems to degrade women as being inferior to men, he does not exclude them from being a part of the political life of the polis. This is an important distinction because women make up half of the free citizenry of the polis. With women being able to engage in politics through the alternate interpretation of the Authority Claim given in this paper, the overall structure, and very nature, of Aristotle’s political theory takes on a new meaning.


Aristotle, Authority, Household, Women

Access Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts



Second Major

Political Science

First Advisor

Jeffrey Turner

Second Advisor

Adam Burgos