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The Political Animal
Special Issue of SubStance, Issue 117, 37:3 (2008)
Edited by Chris Danta and Dimitris Vardoulakis


In the variegated history of the philosophical definitions of “man,” one has survived since it has been given the status of the self-evident. The definition in question comes from Aristotle’s Politics: “the human is a political animal” (1253a3). There is something indisputable about this characterization: humans are, indeed, the most social of animals—they are denizens of the polis with its institutions and laws, its rulers, judges, and generals. It would be difficult to contend that any other animal has recourse to the political as much as the human. Each article in this issue responds—in its own way and by establishing its own protocols—to the exigency of the animal as it was formulated in Aristotle’s Politics. Each article is an act of response, a moment of interruption.


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