Wisdom, courage, moderation and justice are four essential virtues the ideal state must be built upon, as explained by Socrates in Plato’s Republic. Throughout the eight books of Socratic dialogue the ideal state and ideas of justice are debated, on both individual and state levels. The guidelines for a perfect state and how it will come about are thoroughly described. Socrates covers every aspect of political life and how it should work stating that “until power and philosophy entirely coincide… cities will have no rest form evils” . In Plato’s Republic Socrates emphasizes the superiority of the philosopher and their abilities to rule as kings above others. He believes that they are best suited to rule as a result of their pure souls and
In Aristotle's Politics, he focuses much on the regimes of an oligarchy and of a democracy. Democracies exists when the free and poor, being a majority, have authority to rule, and have an equal share in the city. Oligarchies exists when the few wealthy and better born have authority and grant benefits in proportion to a person's wealth (1280a:10-30;1290a:5-10).
Introduction Ancient Greece, not being able to settle on the best way to govern, instituted several vastly different political structures across ancient Greek city-states. They equally contributed to the cultural change in the overall region’s history as well as the history of governments across the world. In this paper, I will
“Those constitutions which consider the common interest are right constitutions…those constitutions which consider only the personal interest of the rulers are all wrong constitutions, or perversions of the right forms” (III.6). The kingship, however, does not appear at the top of Aristotle’s list of “good” constitutions—constitutions that best allow its citizens to achieve the good life—but rather on the bottom: constitutional government (polity), aristocracy, and then monarchy, in decreasing order of virtue. Aristotle explains this discrepancy by revealing that providing the citizens with a good life necessarily implies the need for stability. “It remains to treat of the methods for preserving constitutions in general” (V.8). A kingship may be the most virtuous constitutional type for any given generation, but it is extremely vulnerable to corruption from one generation to the next. “If the kingship is accepted as the best form of government for cities, what is to be the position of the king’s children? Are we to say that his descendants should also be kings? If they turn out as some of them have done, the result will be mischievous” (III.15). The virtue of a kingship is based on the virtue of the king—on one man. One man, who rules a single generation justly, in pursuit of the common interest, may pass his power on to a man who rules the next general with malice and greed, in pursuit of his
A democratic regime presents itself as a pure regime without despotic rulers. As such, equality is echoed throughout the city, with equality being bestowed upon both equals and unequals alike (558 c). The city is full of free speech and freedom, with the choice to do as one wishes, granting the private citizens to organize their lives as it suits them (557 b). With such a variety of dispositions found in the citizens, Socrates introduces the metaphor of a many-colored cloak, decorated in all hues, representing the most pleasant and fair looking object (557 c). The eclectic variety of the democratic city ensures a harmony unakin to any other regime.
Aristotle’s theory on ethics deviates from the attempts of prior theories to develop absolute and universal rules. Instead, he suggests that an individual’s character should be developed to help guide their actions. For Aristotle, the path to happiness, the one thing that is in itself good, involves the acquisition and
Aristotle: The master of those who know The Greek philosopher, scientist and student of Plato, Aristotle made significant and long-lasting contributions to nearly every aspect of human knowledge, from logic to biology to ethics, and aesthetics. Aristotle had a vast intellectual range covering most of the sciences and many of the arts, including biology, botany, chemistry, ethics, history, logic, metaphysics, rhetoric, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, physics, poetics, political theory, psychology, and zoology. (2) He was also the founder of formal logic. Aristotle wrote an estimated of 200 works in his lifetime. He was the Author of a philosophical and scientific system, which became the framework for Christian Scholasticism and medieval
Though we’ve discussed many kinds of governments, ideal cities and even ideal rulers over the course of the semester, from Aristotle’s Politics to the city described in the Melian dialogue, there is one that undoubtedly left a greater on me than the other- the city described in Plato’s Republic. From Plato’s remarkably feminist ideals and vague sense of barebones socialism, there’s a lot in this city that I hypothetically would throw my support behind. This is not to say that I think that this is the “best” option of the cities that we studied options, or even that it would even work if applied to real life. However, the ideas brought up about how to create this city and what would be required of all it’s citizens in order to make it work are undeniably fascinating and are never black or white. But what I love about the Republic, and why it so personally resonates with and has impacted me, is that it brings up interesting questions about morality and how far one should go in order to create a perceived “perfect society”. Questions that there is no easy answer to.
In Plato’s The Republic, the theory of appointing a ruling class is a major aspect in his political theory of a just state. As communicated through Socrates, Plato believed in the appointment of only a few citizens of the just city that possess a soul that craves all truth, knowledge, wisdom, and through proper education are competent enough to rule the just state and to decide on legislative policies. In my paper, I will be arguing against Plato’s political theory of who is best fit to be chosen as leaders to rule the just state. I will argue that Plato places too much confidence in the morals of citizens and that the soul is naturally rational and those who are chosen to lead will not necessarily uphold justice and make the right decisions. Placing the powers of democracy in the hands of the masses is more secure rather than designating power to only a selected few because the masses know what they want and know more for what is best for themselves. Although Plato was correct in requiring that leaders must be knowledgeable, but the best way to approach this problem is to not exclude people but that all people should be given the right to decide what is the greater good for their own societies. Citizens should have the right to appoint their own rulers based on their own knowledge. I will also argue that Plato’s political theory of the just state is ideal and not practical because it has not yet existed.
Aristotle The primary concern of political theorists is to determine by what form of constitution the state will most likely succeed. According to Aristotle the definition of political success means the general happiness of the citizenry. Both Aristotle and James Q. Wilson share the belief that molding excellent character within the citizenry is the first and most important step towards solidifying the happiness of the state as a whole. The basic structure of Aristotle’s philosophies are derived by gathering as much information about the history of a subject as possible (in trying to develop the ultimate constitution Aristotle went through 150 constitution from historically great nations) taking from the good and removing the
In each form of government, the role of the citizen and the organization of the infrastructure varied (Somerville and Santoni 70). Depending on the type of government, there can be good citizens who are bad people (or vice versa) (Somerville and Santoni 69), but in the best form of government, which he calls the polity, the good man is also the good citizen (Somerville and Santoni 75). The “least desirable forms of government,” Aristotle suggests, were corrupted versions of the best governments because they act in their own interest as opposed to the interests of the many (Sterling).
‘Politics’ is understandably his transition from ’Nicomachean Ethics’. Between 335 and 323 B.C., Aristotle wrote, or at least worked on, some of his major treatises, including the Politics. In his book “Politics”, he presents a discussion of how he perceives the ‘polis’, the city as a political community.
Steven (2002) says: "The aristocratic man is better represented by Plato's brand of philosopher: In contrast to platonic aristocrats, timocrats are allowed by their constitution to own property and thus to both accumulate and waste money. Because of the pleasures derived from it, money eventually is valued over virtue, and the leaders of the state seek to alter the law to give way and accommodate to the materialistic lust of its citizens. As a result of this new found appreciation for money, the governors rework the constitution yet again to restrict political power to the rich only. That is how a timocracy becomes an
This answer will be divided as follows, first I am going to define Aristotle’s view on polity. Next, I postulate that for Aristotle, polity is the ideal form of government out of the forms of government mentioned in Book IV. The structure of this answer will then shift to a discussion on Aristotle’s view of natural equality and inequality—specifically the discussion of the master-slave distinction (Book II) and the notion of proportional equality (Book III and IV). The intention of including a discussion on these two concepts provides evidence to support both the claim on Aristotle’s endorsement of polity, but also shed light on why components of an oligarchy—a form of government often subjected to stark criticism—are included in Aristotle’s mixture of an ideal government.
Elitist Theory: Elitist theory is the oldest conception of power. It shows the power as a tool in the hands of a limited person or a group. We see the beginning of elitist theory and its justification in the thoughts of Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli and Hobbes. It was the Plato who put forward the rule of ‘Philosopher King’ who has the wisdom over the mass who failed to control their appetite. Aristotle who was mostly concerned about the stability of the politics suggests the rule of the minority over the majority. “The Prince’ written by Machiavelli describes how the ruler control the forces of human nature as a part of his statecraft. For Hobbes the sovereign and omnipotent Leviathan is the synonym of the power. The elitist theory which emerged as a critique to Marxist notion questions the possibility of an egalitarian society. Unlike class theory they argue that people differ in their natural attributes and hence the social stratification is never negligible. While early theorists like Pareto and Mosca talk on the personal attributes of elites, later theorists focus on the institutional framework. The term ‘elite’ was used by Pareto to indicate superior social group 6. He proves that ‘the history of mankind is a graveyard of aristocracy. Mosca tried to conceptualize the