Francesco M. De Sanctis

From Hierarchy to Inequality. Summary of a Seminary Work

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Keywords: hierarchy, inequality, political order, individuals

The Author discusses the concept of inequality in ancient and modern political thought. As Plato and Aristotle show, according to ancient thought the generic unity-man precedes the articulation of that unity in different and unequal singularities, which are meaningful insofar as they are necessary to the functioning of the Whole. The latter, therefore, is structured as a hierarchical order. On the contrary, moving from Hobbes, modern political thought refuses both this hierarchical vision, and the possibility of thinking man as a unequal member of the natural and of the political order. The hierarchical conception of order is therefore substituted by its articulation through opposing concepts (equality/inequality, command/obedience, ius/lex). Appealing to the natural right to liberty, this articulation establishes the social inequality of the individuals.

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