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The parts and the whole, the few wise men and the multitude. Consent and collective decision making in two medieval commentaries on Aristotle’s Politics

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Peter of Auvergne, deliberation, multitude, few wise men, consent

In Chapters 11 and 15 of Book III of the Politics, Aristotle provides arguments in favour of the participation of the multitude in political power even though he assigns them only a role in elections and minor deliberative and judicial offices. This article examines the interpretation of those two chapters of the Politics contained in two early question-commentaries on that work, those of Peter of Auvergne and of the Anonymous of Milan, and attempts to demonstrate both the similarities and differences between these commentaries and Marsilius of Padua’s Defensor pacis. These two commentators rejected that the multitude might play a deliberative role, its function being principally one of consenting to deliberations made by the few wise men.

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