Essay on Analysis of Aristotle's The Politics

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An Analysis of Aristotle's The Politics

In "The Politics", Aristotle would have us believe that man by nature is a political animal. In other words, Aristotle seems to feel that the most natural thing for men to do is to come together in some form of political association. He then contends that this political association is essential to the pursuit of the good life. Finally he attempts to distinguish what forms of political association are most suitable to the pursuit of this good life. In formulating a critique of "The Politics", we shall first examine his claims as to what is natural to man and whether the criterion of the natural is sufficient to demonstrate virtue. We shall then examine what it is about political association that
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How self-sufficiency is natural is not something the man seems to want to delve into. The analysis of politics as something natural however seems to clash with his idea that the legislator is a craftsman of the law. If politics is indeed a craft and of the domain of technique, then how is it natural?

What is more natural to man than politics is reason. All men possess some capacity of reason through which they order their lives and make sense of their natural inclinations. As Aristotle does point out, men can have all kinds of natural inclinations and most men are gregarious creatures. Does this mean that politics is reason applied to relationships among men? Unfortunately, as we have seen, there are many kinds of human relationships that involve reason without necessarily involving politics. So we come to the conclusion that either politics are not natural or something else along with reason is natural among humans and necessitates political activity.

So which is it? Politics is the institutional framework where mankind's capacity to reason reconciles itself with its desires. This process that naturally goes on inside man's head is also a dialogue between men as soon as the capacity to communicate ideas is explored. Admitting that politics is natural however is merely a descriptive statement. The question I would bring up as I do in "Enchiridion" is what we should make of this nature. Saying that man is naturally political does not tell us whether
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