Aristotle’s Political Justice and the Golden Ratio between the Three Opposing Criteria for the Distribution of Public Goods among Citizens: Freedom, Wealth and Virtue

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MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
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In this article, I interpret Book V of the Nicomachean Ethics in which Aristotle presents a geometrical problem to explain which is the Best Criterion for the Distribution of Political and Economic Rights and Duties among Citizens, starting from the empirical evidence that there are three opposing opinions on which is the fairest distribution criterion: for some it is Freedom (Democrats), for others Wealth (Oligarchs), and for others Virtue (Aristocrats). Against the almost unique and most quoted interpretation of the geometrical problem, I present my mathematical solution, which I arrived at thanks to the Doctrine of the Four Causes and the Theory of the Mean. My thesis is that the Mean Term of Distributive Justice is the Golden Ratio between the opposite criteria of distribution, and the unjust distribution is the one that violates this ratio. This solution allows us to understand what is the Rational Principle at the basis of just distribution: that is, Geometrical Equality as opposed to Arithmetical Equality. Indeed, by applying the geometric figure of the Golden Triangle to the different political constitutions, I show, in line with Politics, that the Best Form of Government is the Aristocratic Politeia, i.e., a mixture of Democracy, Oligarchy and Aristocracy.