The Main Elements Of Society For Aristotle And Plato

1962 Words Oct 15th, 2016 8 Pages
Provence Barnouin 10/14/16
Prof. Hittinger

Contemporary Civilization: Idea Paper 1

Households (or families) are one of the key elements of society for both Aristotle and Plato. Family is the first form in society of association between men as it answers man’s natural needs, and instincts. As Aristotle explains, the coupling “which necessity gives rise [to] is that between those who are unable to exist without one another,” in other words man is a being that is, by nature, social and political. Association is a natural phenomenon, which declines in interdependent forms such as the family, the village, and finally the city. However, it would be an error to assume that each form is not fundamentally different from one another. In Politics, Aristotle criticizes Plato’s assumption that a city must strive to be a unit, because “beyond a certain point, city will be reduced to family and family to individual.” [Book II, 1261a] Indeed, if a city state were to strive towards unity it would resemble a household, since he holds the household to be of higher degree in unity, but by assumption, a city state is different that a household.
By uncovering and comparing the differences between the city and the household in Politics, Ethics and The Republic, we will first explain Aristotle’s criticism and Plato’s potential response to his student. This will lead us to understand the relationship between the city state and the household and explain whether the family is a natural…
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