“The Principle that the multitude ought to be in power rather than the few best … For the many (hoi poloi), of whom each individual is not a good (spoudaios) man, when they meet together may be better than the few good, if regarded not individually but collectively, just as a feast to which many contribute is better than a dinner provided out of a single purse. For each individual among the many has a share of excellence (arete) and practical wisdom (phronesis), and when they meet together, just as they become in a manner one man, who has many feet, and hands, and senses, so too with regard to their character and thought. Hence the many are better judges than a single man of music and poetry; for some understand one part and some another, and among them they understand the whole. There is a similar combination of qualities in good (spoudaioi) men, who differ from any individual of the many, as the beautiful are said to differ from those who are not beautiful, and works of art from realities, because in them the scattered elements are combined, although, if taken separately, the eye of one person or some other feature in another person would be fairer than in the picture. Whether this principle can apply to every democracy, and to all bodies of men, is not clear.” (Aristotle, Politics, Book 3.11, 1281a39-b17, quoted in Rebecca Goldstein, Plato at the Googleplex, n101)
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