Aristotle on Natural Slavery: The Race Question, by Erick Raphael Jiménez

Jiménez discusses Aristotle’s strange views of and arguments for natural slavery in the Politics. He distinguishes two strands of interpretation: one seeing those arguments as simply ideological and as bad political philosophy, another arguing that Aristotle was presenting a coherent attack on naturalist views. Jiménez develops a competing view contending that Aristotle’s arguments for slavery only go through on the assumption of prejudicial, proto-racist suppositions. He argues that Aristotle’s arguments are either coherent in virtue of being ideological and racially prejudicial, or logically empty. The essay contributes to a broader debate about political naturalism and the question of how much legitimacy claims as to what is natural as opposed to historically contingent might have.

Article available through Philosophy Documentation Center, here.


Erick Raphael Jiménez received his PhD from The New School for Social Research in 2012 and was a Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society at the University of Navarra. He is the author of “Mind in Body in Aristotle,” in The Bloomsbury Companion to Aristotle, ed. Claudia Baracchi (Continuum, 2014) and the editor of Nature and Law (Ohlms, 2015), which includes his essay “Hobbes on Natural Equality.” He is also author of a forthcoming book, Foundations of Hobbes’ Political Theory (Ohlms, forthcoming 2015). His research at present is focused on foundational issues in political and legal philosophy, in particular debates between positivism and naturalism, and he is at work on a manuscript project tentatively titled Against Naturalism.

Erick Raphael Jiménez, “Aristotle on Natural Slavery: The Race Question,” in “Philosophy and Race,” ed. Alexis Dianda and Robin M. Muller, special issue, Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 35:1–2 (2014), pp. 53–79.

, , ,