Political Theory Class 2
Athenian Democracy: Where political philosophy was born. Plato and Aristotle
assume you know Athenian democracy.
How Athens worked: How closely is the meaning of democracy tied to the specific
institutions and practices in Athens. 30 000 – 60 000; citizens same amount of
citizens as slaves. Women live in private; Citizens highly active. No Judges, lawyers.
It was illegal to pay someone to help you in court. They wanted/assumed the people
to be their own legal experts. Didn’t want anyone to get a monopoly. People’s court
heavily involved in law making. Role of 6000 people to contribute to assembly;
assembly democracy. Everyone participated in all of the ranges on government 1
out of every 2 days was taken up by some public activity, paid for participating. Pay
for your jury service. Material benefits only citizens could own land / not become a
slave etc. Constantly made war. Always on the brink of civil war, everyone had an
opinion and had many class conflict issues.
*Look at institutions of Athens online.
Everyone matters regardless of wealth.
Bases of democracy is communism.
Demo – people kratos – power. Power is in the hands of the people.
Ambiguity on what the people means. Some, everyone regardless. Poor will
rule because there is more of them. Capacity of people to do things. Therefore
is should be classless
Monarchy – archy = rule.
What is the essence of politics? Rule (domination) or Power (collective for
shared purposes) The closer to power = democracy. Categorizing.
Associated with freedom, free state condition and the community is free.
Under no one else’s law (Autonomous law). Condition of states. Democracy’s
think they are the best because they fight for themselves, could slip into
imperialism. Drunk with power and superiority, make foolish decisions,
which cause downfalls.
(41) Each citizen must be free to make whatever decision for his own life.
If each individual is personally free, he who minds his own business has no
business here at all. – Self interest means a lack of activism in politics, no
point in a democracy. Take an active part of public life. Privatizing should
only be about the home (passive appropriate for women and slaves.
Key institutional principles: Isonomia- everyone is equal before the law;