Aristotelianism and politics

The differences between contemporary Aristotelian appropriations of Aristotle's Politics are even greater than those over his Nicomachean Ethics. An elemental issue concerns the applicability of what Aristotle said of politics to the modern, bureaucratic state. Until recent decades, most self-identified Aristotelians simply assumed that the sovereign state should be regarded as the guardian of the common good. In some countries, Aristotelian arguments justified and motivated welfare reforms. Although this view is retained by, for example, those taking 'the capabilities approach', it is now increasingly contested. Libertarians argue that human potentiality is best cultivated independently from the state, whilst Alasdair MacIntyre argues that we are nonetheless able - as dependent, rational and therefore potentially political animals - to cooperatively pursue common goods.