“Like Ants in a Colony We Do Our Share” : Political Animals in Medieval Philosophy
Toivanen, J. (2021). “Like Ants in a Colony We Do Our Share” : Political Animals in Medieval Philosophy. In P. Adamson, & C. Rapp (Eds.), State and Nature : Studies in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy (pp. 365-392). De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110730944-017
© De Gruyter, 2021
This chapter discusses the reception of the Aristotelian concept of ‘political animal’ in thirteenth and fourteenth century Latin philosophy. Aristotle thought that there are other political animals besides human beings, and his idea of what it means to be a political animal was partially based on biological needs and desires that lead animals to live together. By analysing what medieval philosophers thought of other political animals - such as ants, bees, and cranes - and of the biological basis of the political nature of humans, the chapter elaborates on the precise meaning of the concept of political animal. It is argued that biological aspects play a significant role in medieval views, but at the same time medieval authors tend to distance human beings from other political animals by emphasising rationality, choice, and language as central factors for the social and political life.
Parent publication ISBN978-3-11-073543-7
Is part of publicationState and Nature : Studies in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
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Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Academy Research Fellow, AoF
Additional information about fundingThis research has been funded by the Academy of Finland and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.
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