Aristotle’s Politics - The Good Man Should Not Rule the City

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Aristotle’s Politics - The Good Man Should Not Rule the City

Aristotle contends that the good man is dissimilar to the good citizen in ways he goes a great length to illustrate. He distinguishes the two for the purpose of facilitating his later arguments concerning the appropriate allocation of sovereignty to the rightful ruler, who he subsequently claims is the good man who excels all others in each and every aspect. Aristotle's distinction further prompts the notion that he advocates a monarchial form of constitution, for the rule of a single good man is equivalent to a constitution of kingship. This can be derived through the following reasoning. Aristotle is convinced that the good citizen can so be defined only in relation to
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Such men will be permanent kings in their cities (1284b22).' This passage gives rise to several deductions. Aristotle assumes the existence of the good man in the best constitution which would implicate the fact that the city in context is composed entirely or mainly, of good citizens. Drawing from the earlier conclusion that according to Aristotle's logic, there should be no preference for rule to be designated to either a good man or a good citizen, there is no explanation for Aristotle to award rule to the good man over countless good citizens. The flow of logic would therefore imply that Aristotle prefers the rule of the good man despite his earlier arguments and since the rule of a single good man is the same as the constitution of kingship, he advocates the monarchy as the best form of government. This fact is reiterated in the last sentence of the passage: 'Such men will be permanent kings in their cities.'

Before arriving at the illation that the good man should rule in a city with a monarchial constitution, Aristotle lists the claims of various parts of the city that claim to merit ruling, and one by one states their faults and dismisses them. Through this process, he arrives at the rule of the good man as being the best form of rule, but he fails to consider in certain (not all) claims, various circumstances which would make
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