Plato vs. Aristotle

1952 Words Oct 25th, 1999 8 Pages
Plato vs. Aristotle

Plato and Aristotle, two philosophers in the 4th century, hold polar views on politics and philosophy in general. This fact is very cleverly illustrated by Raphael's "School of Athens" (1510-11; Stanza della Segnatura,
Vatican), where Plato is portrayed looking up to the higher forms; and Aristotle is pointing down because he supports the natural sciences. In a discussion of politics, the stand point of each philosopher becomes an essential factor. It is not coincidental that Plato states in The Republic that Philosopher Rulers who possess knowledge of the good should be the governors in a city state. His strong interest in metaphysics is demonstrated in The Republic various times: for example, the similes of the
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It is a separation of power amongst three classes--Rulers, Auxiliaries, Commoners--that makes the most of each person's natural abilities and strives for the good of the community. The point is to create a harmonious unity amongst the three classes which will lead to the greater good of the community and, consequently, each individual. The three classes are a product of different aptitude levels for certain tasks amid various individuals. Plato assigns different political roles to different members of each class. It appears that the only classes that are allowed to participate in government are the Auxiliaries and, of course, the
Philosopher Rulers. The lower class does not partake in politics because they are not mentally able. In other words, they do not understand the concept of the forms. Thus, it is better to allow the Philosophers, who do have this knowledge, to lead them. Providing food and abode for the Guardians is the only governmental responsibility the lower class has. The Auxiliaries are in charge of the military, police, and executive duties. Ruling and making laws is reserved for the Philosopher Rulers whose actions are all intended for the good of the state. To ensure that public good continues to be foremost on each
Ruler's agenda, the Rulers live in community housing, hold wives/children in common, and do not own private property. The separation of classes is understood by everybody Self-interest, which could be a negative

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