Aristotles view on the polis

Later he says that "Whoever is entitled to participate in an office involving deliberation or decision is, we can now say, a citizen in this city; and the city is the multitude of such persons that is adequate with a view to a self-sufficient life, to speak simply" b And it is a characteristic of man that he alone has any sense of good and evil, of just and unjust, and the like, and the association of living beings who have this sense makes a family and a state.

Contribution of aristotle in politics

The perfection of the household is the city. This, for most contemporary readers is one of the two most offensive portions of Aristotle's moral and political thought the other is his treatment of women, about which more will be said below. There is also a Eudemian Ethics which is almost certainly by Aristotle and which shares three of the ten books of the Nicomachean Ethics and a work on ethics titled Magna Moralia which has been attributed to him but which most scholars now believe is not his work. If you wanted to describe a knife, you would talk about its size, and its shape, and what it is made out of, among other things. And the most natural form of the village appears to be that of a colony from the family, composed of the children and grandchildren, who are said to be suckled 'with the same milk. Some in Aristotle's time and since have suggested that holding property in common will lead to an end to conflict in the city. Here he asks the question of "whether the virtue of the good man and the excellent citizen is to be regarded as the same or as not the same" b The argument that those who are captured in war are inferior in virtue cannot, as far as Aristotle is concerned, be sustained, and the idea that the children of slaves are meant to be slaves is also wrong: "[T]hey claim that from the good should come someone good, just as from a human being comes from a human being and a beast from beasts. Cooper, John M. This was the political problem that was of most concern to the authors of the United States Constitution: given that people are self-interested and ambitious, who can be trusted with power? Chapter 5 "Non-Polis Households" examines two kinds of households not connected to poleis: the households characteristic of authoritarian regimes like Persia, which is not a polis , and the solitary, pre-political households characteristic of the Cyclopes discussed by Homer in Odyssey 9 -- neither of which allows for proper human development. In addition, although nowadays it is unacceptable to modify someone else's work without clearly denoting the changes, this is a relatively recent development and there are portions of Aristotle's texts which scholars believe were added by later writers. It will reflect the bias of the regime, as it must, because the law reinforces the principles of the regime and helps educate the citizens in those principles so that they will support the regime. The citizens of a particular city clearly share something, because it is sharing that makes a partnership.

Schroeder, Donald N. These opinions the Greek word isendoxahowever, are not completely true. Smith, Nicholas D. We have yet to talk about what a democracy is, but when we do, this point will be important to defining it properly.

aristotle politics pdf

In the course of discussing the various ways of life open to human beings, Aristotle notes that "If, then, nature makes nothing that is incomplete or purposeless, nature must necessarily have made all of these [i. This article will not attempt to organize all of Aristotle's work into a coherent whole, but will draw on different texts as they are necessary to complete one version of Aristotle's view of politics.

Aristotle politics summary

He used two criteria to sort the regimes into six categories. But this is wrong: "For in the case of persons similar by nature, justice and merit must necessarily be the same according to nature; and so if it is harmful for their bodies if unequal persons have equal sustenance and clothing, it is so also [for their souls if they are equal] in what pertains to honors, and similarly therefore if equal persons have what is unequal" a There is a page conclusion, a bibliography, and an index but alas, no index locorum. Because there are several different types of regime six, to be specific, which will be considered in more detail shortly , there are several different types of good citizen. Finally, and not least important, he was the first person in history to build up a research library, a systematic collection of works to be used by his colleagues and to be handed on to posterity. This is the case because both women and children "must necessarily be educated looking to the regime, at least if it makes any difference with a view to the city's being excellent that both its children and its women are excellent. So the residents of a village will live more comfortable lives, with access to more goods and services, than those who only live in families.

Spelman, E. Someone who places primary importance on money and the bodily satisfactions that it can buy is not engaged in developing their virtue and has chosen a life which, however it may seem from the outside or to the person living it, is not a life of true happiness.

This, for most contemporary readers is one of the two most offensive portions of Aristotle's moral and political thought the other is his treatment of women, about which more will be said below.

Someone who is not living a life that is virtuous, or morally good, is also not living a happy life, no matter what they might think. Aristotle says that "It is clear that all partnerships aim at some good, and that the partnership that is most authoritative of all and embraces all the others does so particularly, and aims at the most authoritative good of all.

Aristotle constitution

At any rate, each of these claims to rule, Aristotle says, is partially correct but partially wrong. Holding property in common, Aristotle notes, will not remove the desire for honor as a source of conflict. It reaches a level of full self-sufficiency, so to speak; and while coming into being for the sake of living, it exists for the sake of living well" b This text is part of the Internet Ancient History Sourcebook. There is another element to determining who the good citizen is, and it is one that we today would not support. What then is the best form of government, and what makes it the best, is evident; and of other constitutions, since we say that there are many kinds of democracy and many of oligarchy, it is not difficult to see which has the first and which the second or any other place in the order of excellence, now that we have determined which is the best. On the other hand, the very poor, who are in the opposite extreme, are too degraded. Aristotle also includes here the clam that the citizens making up the elite engage in conflict because of inequality of honors b A group of people that has done this is a city: "[The virtue of] justice is a thing belonging to the city. Indeed, it is the shared pursuit of virtue that makes a city a city. It leads some people to "proceed on the supposition that they should either preserve or increase without limit their property in money. And therefore, if the earlier forms of society are natural, so is the state, for it is the end of them, and the nature of a thing is its end. Instead he defines it as a partnership. The second chapter -- "The Polis as Community and Polity" -- is a brief and preliminary sketch of the nature of the polis or city and Aristotle's views on the relationship between the household and the polis. For example, the ruler over a few is called a master; over more, the manager of a household; over a still larger number, a statesman or king, as if there were no difference between a great household and a small state.

But such a case is very rare, and the risk of miscarriage is great, for monarchy corrupts into tyrannywhich is the worst constitution of all.

We must therefore look at the elements of which the state is composed, in order that we may see in what the different kinds of rule differ from one another, and whether any scientific result can be attained about each one of them.

Aristotles view on the polis

Aristotle says that "It is clear that all partnerships aim at some good, and that the partnership that is most authoritative of all and embraces all the others does so particularly, and aims at the most authoritative good of all. Aristotle also includes here the clam that the citizens making up the elite engage in conflict because of inequality of honors b But this is not what Aristotle means by "living well". This is the horse's telos, or purpose. Without the city and its justice, human beings are the worst of animals, just as we are the best when we are completed by the right kind of life in the city. Boudouris ed. However, the definition of something like justice can only be known generally; there is no fixed and unchanging definition that will always be correct.
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Aristotle’s Political Theory (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)