The Place of Slavery in the Aristotelian Framework of Law, Reason and Emotion

Peter Langford, Ian Bryan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter considers the Aristotelian examination of slavery in Book I of the Politics in order to question the relationship between slavery and the wider Aristotelian framework of law, reason and emotion. A detailed analysis of Book 1 reveals that it is orientated by an appropriation and transformation of the Platonic conception of virtue and rulership. The Aristotelian response defines the slave as the particular determination of the connection between nature and necessity which, in turn, shape the notions of law, reason and emotion. The relationship between the slave and notions of law, reason and emotion are conferred after the initial determination of, and justification for, the division between (natural) master and (natural) slave. The division is a form of rulership within the household. The slave’s subjection to the master determines that the relationship to law, reason and emotion is coextensive with household management. It is only the free population and, in particular, free men, who are capable of developing a political regime. The political regime is the sole form through which the relationship between law, reason and emotion is to be established in order to realize the ideal or good life. The further development of the Politics is predicated upon the simultaneous recognition and disappearance of a relationship of subjection.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAristotle on Emotions in Law and Politics
EditorsLiesbeth Huppes-Cluysenaer, Nuno M.M.S Coelho
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages473
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-66703-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-66702-7
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Feb 2018

Publication series

NameLaw and Philosophy Library book series


  • Rule of law Aristotle Judicial emotion Rationality Decision-making Judicial argumentation Morality Rousseau Kant Criminal justice legal positivism Dual Process Theory Adjudication Court decision Judicial decision Opinion of the court Reasons for the judgment Virtue ethics Nicomachean Ethics


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