Aristotle on Hierarchy and Reciprocity

11 February 2020 (Tue), 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
At Cendana Private Dining Room

“Aristotle on Hierarchy and Reciprocity”

Kazutaka INAMURA

Associate Professor of Political Science

Waseda University

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Cendana Private Dining Room

Sponsored by Yale-NUS Philosophy and Global Antiquity


Abstract: I show how the notions of reciprocity are used in Aristotle’s Politics [Pol.] and Nicomachean Ethics [NE]. In particular, I will explore how he applies his reciprocity-based theory of friendship (philia) to unequal, hierarchical relationships, such as parent-child, older-younger, erotic lover-beloved boy, and ruler-ruled. I will also examine his psychological and metaphysical bases for explaining these hierarchical relationships. This analysis will serve to clarify how and why hierarchical relationships are created among humans who provide goods and services to each other. The texts I am going to examine are Pol. 1.5. 1254a21–b2; 2.2. 1261a30–37; 3.4. 1277b9–16; 7.14. 1332b35–1333a11; NE8.2. 1155b27–1156a5; 8.7. 1158b23–28; and 9.7. 1167b31–1168a11, which will illuminate the origin of a reciprocity-based political philosophy.


About the speaker: Kazutaka INAMURA is the author of Justice and Reciprocity in Aristotle’s Political Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2015), and has published on the political thought of Mill and Rawls.