After civility as a lost faculty: brief aristotelian-contractualist theoretical debate

Maximiliano Reyes Lobos


We propose to discuss about the possession and expression of a capacity that empowers individuals to act as citizens. First, elements of Aristotelian politics are presented as arguments for civility as a capacity inherent in the social nature of human beings. Then, according a contractualist interpretations, the individual becomes a citizen to the extent that he forms an agreement with the other members of society. A first finding refers to the fact that with contractualism, the individual has lost the inherence of his civic action and must define himself as a citizen if he meets the extrinsically given requirements Likewise, it is indicated that the expression of civility has been interfered with by an idea of individual freedom understood in negative terms. However, before returning to Aristotelian perspective, it is necessary to redefine the idea of freedom that guides civic interaction, advocating for a social and intrinsically motivated citizenship.


Keywords: Civility - Citizenship - Aristotle - Contractualism - Freedom

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