The Titus-Hepp Lecture Series welcomes Thornton Lockwood, associate professor of philosophy at Quinnipiac University, presenting “What did the Spartans teach Aristotle about Liberal Education?”
In the last two books of the Politics, Aristotle articulates an education program for his best regime in contrast to what he takes to be the goal and practices of Sparta’s educational system. Although Aristotle never refers to his program as liberal education, clearly he takes its goal to be the production of free male and female citizens. By contrast, he characterizes the results of the Spartan system as crude, slavish and servile.
Lockwood argues that Aristotle’s criticisms of Spartan education elucidate his general understanding of Sparta and provide an interpretative key to understanding Politics 7-8. But although Aristotle contrasts the goals and methods of Spartan education with that of his own best regime, the citizens of his best regime are more like Spartan citizen-soldiers than Athenian participatory-citizens