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Aristotle’s thinking on democracy has more relevance than ever

The will of the people in its purest form leaves little room for the rule of law

By Julian Baggini  

Plato and Aristotle in Raphael's 1509 fresco, The School of Athens

For all Aristotle’s reputation as the greatest of the ancient philosophers, most today rightly bracket off his defence of slavery and his dim view of the intellectual capacities of women as unfortunate examples of how even the greatest minds are still products of their times.

Many would deal with his negative views of democracy in the same way. Aristotle’s favoured form of government was the rule by the best over the rest, an aristocracy based on merit rather…

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