Note on Maimonides’ Treatise on the Art of Logic

"Note on Maimonides' Treatise on the Art of Logic," Studies in Platonic Political Philosophy, University of Chicago Press, 1983.


Toward the end of chapter 11 and in chapter 13, Maimonides begins to refer again to the Arabic grammarian.  In chapter 14, the concluding chapter, he speaks above all of the division of the sciences and at greatest length of political science.  According tohim, political science consists of four parts: self-government of the individual, government of the household, government of the city, government of the great nation or of the nations.  The silence on government of a nation remains strange; perhaps Maimonides wished to exclude the government of a small nation.  The expression “the great nation or the nations,” as distinguished from the “the great nation or all nations,” may indicate that there cannot be a great nation comprising all nations.  This “Averroist” view is best known to us from Marsilius of Padua’s Defensor Pacis.

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