Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 1
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Scott, K. A. 2012. Macrolevel Consent: A Defense of Federalism. Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Vol. 42, Issue. 4, p. 592.


Deliberation, Democracy, and the Rule of Reason in Aristotle's Politics

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 28 April 2011

Deliberative democratic theorists argue that important moral questions turn on whether regimes are sufficiently deliberative. To attribute “deliberativeness” to a regime, we need an account of “deliberative integration” that connects such a holistic assessment to the acts or qualities of individuals and smaller groups. I turn to Aristotle's Politics for instruction in developing such accounts, arguing that he judges regimes according to how reliably they act pursuant to excellent common deliberation—a manner of excellent rule that I call the “rule of reason.” I then interpret Aristotle's metaphorical argument for the “wisdom of the multitude” to establish the claim that democracies may best integrate citizens’ deliberations. This interpretation illuminates Aristotle's complex evaluation of regimes, including his ambivalent views on the rule of the many. It also suggests a structure for contemporary accounts of deliberative integration helpful even for those who differ from Aristotle in their basic moral concerns.

Corresponding author
James Lindley Wilson is a Ph.D. candidate, Department of Politics, Princeton University, 130 Corwin Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544-1012 (
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Aristotle. 1984. The Politics. Trans. Carnes Lord . Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Robert Audi . 1995. “Acting from Virtue.Mind 104 (415): 449–71.

Daniel R Blickman . 1987. “Styx and the Justice of Zeus in Hesiod's ‘Theogony.’Phoenix 41 (4): 341–55.

Simone Chambers . 2009. “Rhetoric and the Public Sphere: Has Deliberative Democracy Abandoned Mass Democracy?Political Theory 37 (3): 323–50.

Jenny Strauss Clay . 1993. “The Generation of Monsters in Hesiod.” Classical Philology 88 (2): 105–16.

Patrick Coby . 1988. “Aristotle's Three Cities and the Problem of Faction.” Journal of Politics 50 (4): 896919.

John S Dryzek . 2001. “Legitimacy and Economy in Deliberative Democracy.” Political Theory 29 (5): 651–69.

Jill Frank . 1998. “Democracy and Distribution: Aristotle on Just Desert.” Political Theory 26 (6): 784802.

Robert E. Goodin , and John S. Dryzek . 2006. “Deliberative Impacts: The Macro-political Uptake of Mini-publics.” Politics and Society 34 (2): 219–44.

Paula Gottlieb . 1994. “Aristotle on Dividing the Soul and Uniting the Virtues.” Phronesis 39 (3): 275–90.

Amy Gutmann , and Dennis Thompson . 2004. Why Deliberative Democracy? Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Jürgen Habermas . 2006. “Political Communication in Media Society: Does Democracy Still Enjoy an Epistemic Dimension? The Impact of Normative Theory on Empirical Research.” Communication Theory 16 (4): 411–26.

Carolyn M Hendriks . 2006. “Integrated Deliberation: Reconciling Civil Society's Dual Role in Deliberative Democracy.” Political Studies 54 (3): 486508.

John T Kirby . 1997. “Aristotle on Metaphor.” American Journal of Philology 118 (4): 517–54.

Thomas Lindsay . 1992a. “Aristotle's Qualified Defense of Democracy through ‘Political Mixing.’Journal of Politics 54 (1): 101–19.

Thomas K Lindsay . 1992b. “Liberty, Equality, Power: Aristotle's Critique of the Democratic ‘Presupposition.’American Journal of Political Science 36 (3): 743–61.

Gerald M Mara . 1998. “Interrogating the Identities of Excellence: Liberal Education and Democratic Culture in Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics.” Polity 31 (2): 301–29.

Robert Mondi . 1986. “Tradition and Innovation in the Hesiodic Titanomachy.” Transactions of the American Philological Association 116: 2548.

R.G. Mulgan 1977. Aristotle's Political Theory. New York: Clarendon Press.

W.R. Newell 1987. “Superlative Virtue: The Problem of Monarchy in Aristotle's ‘Politics.’Western Political Quarterly 40 (1): 159–78.

Dennis F Thompson . 2008. “Deliberative Democratic Theory and Empirical Political Science.” Annual Review of Political Science 11: 497520.

Jeremy Waldron . 1995. “The Wisdom of the Multitude: Some Reflections on Book 3, Chapter 11 of Aristotle's Politics.” Political Theory 23 (4): 563–84.

Delba Winthrop . 1978. “Aristotle on Participatory Democracy.” Polity 11 (2): 151–71.

Bernard Yack . 2006. “Rhetoric and Public Reasoning: An Aristotelian Understanding of Political Deliberation.” Political Theory 34 (4): 417–38.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *