Aristotle Atirtotle’s Politics Aristotle’s Politics is a timeless examination of government structure and human nature that explains his ideas on how a utopian state can be achieved. In this work, Aristotle examines ubiquitous issues such as government structure, education, crime, property ownership, the honesty of occupations, and population control. He states in Book IV, Chapter Eleven .. the best form of political association is one where power is vested in the middle class, and secondly, that good government is attainable in those cities where there is a large middle class .. The polis is a partnership of citizens in a system of government that serves to achieve the common good.

It is not just a place where people live together for defense against enemies and for the exchange of goods. It is rather a partnership between households, clans, and villages for the sake of a fully developed and self-sufficient life. The polis gives those who possess wisdom and moral intellect a chance to move up to high positions Justice is the political good in the polis, and it must promote the common interest of the people. What is perceived to be good has to be distributive and regulative.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

The law is the regulating mechanism that emerges from free and equal people in civic associations.It serves as the final arbiter of problems, and stands above individuals and binds their actions. Laws change habits and training, but are changeable through certain circumstances and procedures if it is believed to be unjust. The well-being of a society is contingent upon to what extent its citizens obey the law. A member of the polis can be defined as someone who can participate in judging (serve as a juror in the court system), and in governing (serve in public office).

A good citizen must possess moderation, prudence, and justice, and must be able and willing to rule and be ruled. Aristotle defines a constitution as an arrangement in regard to the offices of the city.By this arrangement the citizen body distributes office, either on the basis of the power of those who participate in it, or on the basis of some sort of general equality (i.

e. the equality of the poor, or of the rich, or an equality existing among both rich and poor.) There must therefore be as many constitutions as there are modes of arranging the distribution of office according to the superiorities and the differences of the parts of the city (Page 138).

He believes that the organization of a state’s constitution is directly related to the kinds of citizens that reside in the polis. The constitution has a direct root to the most powerful or most populated class. The middle class is where most of the power comes from because they are the majority, and therefore best reflect the common interest. The upper class is not fit to form the constitution because they, like the lower class, would base it on t heir own values and beliefs rather than the needs of the state.There are problems with the lower and upper classes creating laws. The lower class constantly feels that the government is cheating them out of something because they do not have the wealth, stature, and possibly education that the upper-class possesses, thereby making it difficult for them to work towards the common good. Aristotle thinks that the upper class has too much ambition, and would only create laws that would further their economic and social well-being with little or no regard to the rest of the population. These classes consist of self-interested individuals that want to further their own needs and concerns.

They create factions in order to go against the system. Factional conflict is the result of inequality, and the passion for equality is the root of faction (Class Notes). The middle class acts as the mean between the concerns of the rich and poor.Goodness itself consists in a mean; and in any city the middle class is a mean between the rich and the poor (Page 156). Th e middle class is free from the ambition of the rich and the pettiness of the poor, which helps to ensure political cohesion. We can conclude that a constitution based on this class (i.e. a ‘constitutional government’ or polity) is most likely to be generally beneficial.

It will be free from faction, and most likely be stable.People who know how to deliberate and give instruction should be eligible for positions in the government. The best form of constitution would have the power vested in the middle class. The golden mean is correlated with moderation which can only occur when there is a large middle class population. Freedom is the defining principle of democracy.

The main aspects of freedom are being ruled and ruling in turn, since every one is equal according to number, not merit, and to be able to live as one pleases.The majority should have authority rather than those who are best fit to rule, and groups few in number. Although everyone in the polis may not be a political scientist, they can work better together with peers. With each individual having qualities of excellence and intelligence, they join to form a single entity. The real difference between democracy and oligarchy is between poverty and wealth.

Oligarchy occurs when rulers owe their power to wealth whether or not they are the majority. Tyranny can be described as the worst of two potential evils. It is extreme oligarchy in its distrust of the masses and extreme democracy in its hostility to the noteables (Page 211).Aristotle says the best form is one based on merit. A combination between oligarchy and democracy is constitutional government. Although people can agree on what justice is, they often fail to reach it because they can not stop from pursuing their own goals and desires. A good government can moderate between what people think is just and what is best for the common good.

Aristotle’s theories are fundamentals of our current political system and earned him the title The Father of Political Science.English Essays.


Aristotle discusses the ideal state and citizens. In his ideal state, Aristotle states about the features of citizens and answers the question of who sould be citizen? . The concept of citizen is very important in his ideal state, because according to Aristotle citizens have the fullest sovereign power, and it would be ridiculous to deny their participation in the state management.Aristole’s inspiration is from biology. It depends on teleology.

Teleology is about purposefullness.Everything has a purpose. So the form of the citizen is like that. Aristotle argues that citizens have a common purpose for the stability of association, because they are the most important part of society.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

According to Aristotle, a citizen is one who participates in giving judgement and holding office. For citizens membership on juries has no limitation or to be a member of an assembly. But there is no agreement as what constitutes a citizen generally.

The citizens will necessarily vary according to the constitution. In a democracy, the all poor people could be citizens; however in an oligarchy the rich people are going to be citizens. It means in an oligarchy only rich people will give judgement and hold office. Aristotle states that resident foreigners and slaves are not citizens.

Because citizens are a particular class of men, the others (slaves, foreigners, workers…

) don’t have the function of ruling and being ruled according to Aristotle. Therefore the occupations of others are different from the citizens.Aristotle makes discrimination in society. Many people couldn’t have right to be citizens because of their occupations or situations in society. Aristotle argues some virtues about the citizens and rulers. At first he states that the virtue of the citizen must be in relation with the constitution. There are many types of constitutions.

In each constitution there are different virtues. For instance in Aristocracy courage is the main virtue but in monarchy wisdom is the main virtue. So it is hard to explain certain virtues for citizens. With the consideration of circumstances we can say some virtues for citizens. But the most important and main virtue of the citizen is to contribute to the stability of association as it is mentioned. Aristotle states that the virtues of ruler and ruled person are different.

He states that the virtue of ruler is practical wisdom and the ruled person should have correct opinion. Of course, the concept of correct opinion should conform to the constitution.According to Aristotle citizens should have so much features ,which are seemed to be impracticable in society.

Aristotle argues that citizens should participate in judgement and hold office. That means the good citizen must have the knowledge and ability both to rule and to be ruled. It is very hard to find a citizen who fits these qualifications, because every person can not have the ability to ruling. Aristotle wants to explain the form of citizen with teleology. A citizen should have a purpose for the stability of the association.

But I think a citizen should not to be compelled to rule.BibliographyAristotle politicsPhilosophy


Aristotle was born in 384; he was a Greek philosopher, logician, and scientist. Along with his teacher Plato, Aristotle is generally regarded as one of the most Influential ancient thinkers in a number of philosophical fields, including political theory.

Aristotle’s’ writing reflects his time, background and beliefs. Aristotle was born at Stagira, in Macedonia. His father, Nichomacus, was the personal physician to the King of Macedonia, Amyntas. At the age of seventeen, Aristotle left for Athens to study at Plato’s Academy. He studied at the Academy for about twenty years, up until Plato’s death. Plato’s death sent Aristotle to a city in Asia Minor, called Assos, where his friend, Hermias was the ruler. It was in Assos where Aristotle met, Pythias, who is described as either a niece or daughter of Hermias, who Aristotle married after the murder of Hermias, by the Persians. Aristotle then went to Pella; the capitol of Macedonia, where he became the tutor for the king’s son, Alexander, who later became Alexander the Great.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

When Alexander became King, Aristotle went to Athens where he began to lecture at the Lyceum. He lectured while walking about in one of its covered walk ways, earning him the nickname Peripatetic”, which means walking about. Aristotle lectured and directed the Lyceum for twelve years, producing during this time the lecture notes which now form his works.

Only a small amount of Aristotle’s works has survived. The writings which did survive like “Metaphysics,” which were his writings on the nature, scope, and properties of being; and “Physics,” his writing on astronomy, meteorology, plants, and animals, these writings have changed the way we think and live. Aristotle’s works encompassed all the major areas of thought: logic, science, metaphysics, ethics, and politics. He developed a new, non-Platonic theory of form, created a system of deductive reasoning for universal and existential statements, produced a theory of the cosmos, matter, life, and mind, and theorized about the relationship between ethics and politics and the nature of the good life. His system rivals Plato’s for the next 2000 years.

Aristotle was a firm believer that philosophy came from wonder, and that knowledge came from experience. He had a wealth of knowledge, from much experience; if he were correct about philosophy coming from wonder, he would have had to wonder quite a bit. Aristotle was a genius; this is evident in his writings, because the ideas and concepts he proposed in his writing were ahead of his time. Aristotle learned from the best and taught the best so his ideas and thoughts were always being challenged, which made him thrive for knowledge. Aristotle is consider to be the one of best if not the best philosophers ever, his ideas reflect the title.Aristotle’s system of philosophy was never as influential in ancient times as Plato’s. Indeed, Aristotle’s works may not have been published for some centuries after his death. After the fall of Rome, his work was largely lost to Europe, while Plato’s were saved, Aristotle’s works still played a vital role in our society’s evolution.

Aristotle’s writing was so ahead of his time, they made people question his sanity. Though, during that period of time he could have been labeled as a nut he is now labeled as one of the most influential philosophers of all time.Art is defined by Aristotle as the realization in external form of a true idea, and is traced back to that natural love ofimitation which characterizes humans, and to the pleasure, which we feel in recognizing likenesses. Art however is not limited to mere copying. It idealizes nature and completes its deficiencies: it seeks to grasp the universal type in the individual phenomenon. The distinction therefore between poetic art and history is not that the one use meter, and the other does not. The distinction is that while history is limited to what has actually happened, poetry depicts things in their universal character.

And, therefore, “poetry is more philosophical and more elevated than history.” Such imitation may represent people either as better or as worse than people usually are, or it may neither go beyond nor fall below the average standard. Comedy is the imitation of the worse examples of humanity, understood however not in the sense of absolute badness, but only in so far as what is low and ignoble enters into what is laughable and comic. Tragedy, on the other hand, is the representation of a serious or meaningful, rounded or finished, and more or less extended or far-reaching action – a representation that is effected by action and not mere narration. It is fitted by portraying events, which excite fear and pity in the mind of the observer to purify or purge these feelings and extend and regulate their sympathy. It is thus a homeopathic curing of the passions. Insofar as art in general universalizes particular events, tragedy, in depicting passionate and critical situations, takes the observer outside the selfish and individual standpoint, and views them in connection with the general lot of human beings.

This is similar to Aristotle’s explanation of the use of orgiastic music in the worship of Bacchas and other deities: it affords an outlet for religious fervor and thus steadies one’s religious sentiments.Work SitedEncarta Encyclopedia. 1999 edition.


Aristotle Let us again return to the good we are seeking, and ask what it can be. It seems different in different actions and arts; it is different in medicine, in strategy, and in the other arts likewise. What then is the good of each? Surely that for whose sake everything else is done. In medicine this is health, in strategy victory, in architecture a house, in any other sphere something else, and in every action and pursuit the end; for it is for the sake of this that all men do whatever else they do.

Therefore, if there is an end for all that we do, this will be the good achievable by action, and if there are more than one, these will be the goods achievable by action.So the argument has by a different course reached the same point; but we must try to state this even more clearly. Since there are evidently more than one end, and we choose some of these (e.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

g. wealth, flutes, and in general instruments) for the sake of something else, clearly not all ends are final ends; but the chief good is evidently something final. Therefore, if there is only one final end, this will be what we are seeking, and if there are more than one, the most final of these will be what we are seeking. Now we call that which is in itself worthy of pursuit more final than that which is worthy of pursuit for the sake of something else, and that which is never desirable for the sake of something else more final than the things that are desirable both in themselves and for the sake of that other thing, and therefore we call final without qualification that which is always desirable in itself and never for the sake of something else. Now such a thing happiness, above all else, is held to be; for this we choose always for self and never for the sake of something else, but honour, pleasure, reason, and every virtue we choose indeed for themselves (for if nothing resulted from them we should still choose each of them), but we choose them also for the sake of happiness, judging that by means of them we shall be happy.

Happiness, on the other hand, no one chooses for the sake of these, nor, in general, for anything other than itself. From the point of view of self-sufficiency the same result seems to follow; for the final good is thought to be self-sufficient.Now by self-sufficient we do not mean that which is sufficient for a man by himself, for one who lives a solitary life, but also for parents, children, wife, and in general for his friends and fellow citizens, since man is born for citizenship. But some limit must be set to this; for if we extend our requirement to ancestors and descendants and friends’ friends we are in for an infinite series. Let us examine this question, however, on another occasion; the self-sufficient we now define as that which when isolated makes life desirable and lacking in nothing; and such we think happiness to be; and further we think it most desirable of all things, without being counted as one good thing among others- if it were so counted it would clearly be made more desirable by the addition of even the least of goods; for that which is added becomes an excess of goods, and of goods the greater is always more desirable. Happiness, then, is something final and self-sufficient, and is the end of action. Presumably, however, to say that happiness is the chief good seems a platitude, and a clearer account of what it is still desired.

This might perhaps be given, if we could first ascertain the function of man.For just as for a flute-player, a sculptor, or an artist, and, in general, for all things that have a function or activity, the good and the ‘well’ is thought to reside in the function, so would it seem to be for man, if he has a function. Have the carpenter, then, and the tanner certain functions or activities, and has man none? Is he born without a function? Or as eye, hand, foot, and in general each of the parts evidently has a function, may one lay it down that man similarly has a function apart from all these? What then can this be? Life seems to be common even to plants, but we are seeking what is peculiar to man.

Let us exclude, therefore, the life of nutrition and growth. Next there would be a life of perception, but it also seems to be common even to the horse, the ox, and every animal. There remains, then, an active life of the element that has a rational principle; of this, one part has such a principle in the sense of being obedient to one, the other in the sense of possessing one and exercising thought.And, as ‘life of the rational element’ also has two meanings, we must state that life in the sense of activity is what we mean; for this seems to be the more proper sense of the term. Now if the function of man is an activity of soul which follows or implies a rational principle, and if we say ‘so-and-so-and ‘a good so-and-so’ have a function which is the same in kind, e.g.

a lyre, and a good lyre-player, and so without qualification in all cases, eminence in respect of goodness being idded to the name of the function (for the function of a lyre-player is to play the lyre, and that of a good lyre-player is to do so well): if this is the case, and we state the function of man to be a certain kind of life, and this to be an activity or actions of the soul implying a rational principle, and the function of a good man to be the good and noble performance of these, and if any action is well performed when it is performed in accordance with the appropriate excellence: if this is the case, human good turns out to be activity of soul in accordance with virtue, and if there are more than one virtue, in accordance with the best and most complete. But we must add ‘in a complete life.’ For one swallow does not make a summer, nor does one day; and so too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and happy. Let this serve as an outline of the good; for we must presumably first sketch it roughly, and then later fill in the details. But it would seem that any one is capable of carrying on and articulating what has once been well outlined, and that time is a good discoverer or partner in such a work; to which facts the advances of the arts are due; for any one can add what is lacking.

And we must also remember what has been said before, and not look for precision in all things alike, but in each class of things such precision as accords with the subject-matter, and so much as is appropriate to the inquiry. For a carpenter and a geometer investigate the right angle in different ways; the former does so in so far as the right angle is useful for his work, while the latter inquires what it is or what sort of thing it is; for he is a spectator of the truth. We must act in the same way, then, in all other matters as well, that our main task may not be subordinated to minor questions. Nor must we demand the cause in all matters alike; it is enough in some cases that the fact be well established, as in the case of the first principles; the fact is the primary thing or first principle. Now of first principles we see some by induction, some by perception, some by a certain habituation, and others too in other ways. But each set of principles we must try to investigate in the natural way, and we must take pains to state them definitely, since they have a great influence on what follows.For the beginning is thought to be more than half of the whole, and many of the questions we ask are cleared up by it. The excellence of humans is linked to their growth towards to some realization of his best nature.

Once he has established the notion that all human activities are directed by some final goal, Aristotle proceeds to define the final goal in human life should be. He searches for the most important activity that we pursue for its own sake, something above all other goods. This final goal is happiness. He gives a sense that happiness is derived from success. A full happy life will include success no only and necessarily for oneself, but for all of one’s family as well.We do not achieve happiness by actively seeking it, but rather by following the pursuit of all the other goods. Aristotle then proceeds to explain that every object, living or dead has a specific function for which it is designed. The excellence of a person will be derived by how well he fulfills his function.

Sine a human being is designed above all to be a social and political being, then excellence in humans should be measured by how well they can carry out their political or social roles. By putting together all of the above notions, Aristotle offers his listeners a fundamental moral principal.A good man is one whose life, which should consist of trying to achieve set goals, is in conformity with excellence or virtue. It is understandable that there is a difference between being successful and being morally good. But the truth is that success must be evaluated in how well it is carried out in a social environment.

Since human beings are social beings, their excellence must be rated in social terms. Human excellence is a measure of how well one can contribute to their society.Personal pleasure, honor, or money cannot be the final end to human life. Although happiness is achieved by striving for these goals, human beings would not be carrying out their function correctly if they were to seek these goals for no one else but themselves. It is in striving to attain these goals for one’s society that humans achieve excellence. I am a firm supporter of putting other people’s needs before my own when making an important decision. Yet this is not a completely unselfish action.

My own happiness is derived from instilling happiness in the lives others. Bibliography none Philosophy Essays.


I'm Adrienne!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out