The Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy Newsletter

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Critique of David Keyt. 1987. "Three Fundamental Theorems in Aristotle's Politics." Phronesis, 32.1:54-79. Keyt claims that Aristotle is committed to these three propositions: 1. The polis is a natural entity, coming to be and existing by nature. 2. A polis comes to be when a legislator imposes constitutional form on social matter by political art. 3. Nothin can come to be both as a natural entity and as a product of rational art. This paper surveys previous attempts to resolve the dilemma, then argues that Keyt relies too much on the idea that the polis is the consequence of an individual constitutive act; rather, intentional actions are woven into the process throughout its existence. The natural end of the polis is the good life, and bringing this about is a natural process.


David DePew presented “Does Aristotle’s Philosophy rest on a Contradiction?” to the meeting of the Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy with the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association in Oakland, March 1989. It has not been previously published.

David J. Depew is Emeritus Professor of Communication Studies and POROI (Project on the Rhetoric of Inquiry) at the University of Iowa. He was previously Professor of Philosophy at California State University, Fullerton. Much of his work is in the philosophy, history, and rhetoric of evolutionary biology, writing often with Bruce H. Weber. He also writes on ancient biology and its relation to modern; and on how rhetoric, philosophy, and science have interacted since antiquity. His CV and other references are available at :