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Political Theory aristotle jan 22.docx

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McMaster University
Political Science
James Ingram

Political Theory Aristotle (384-322) January 22, 13  Keep in mind the he spent years in the academy of Plato  The way you set up Aristotle is that he is the anti-Plato on just about everything o He disagrees with him on almost everything  Plato thinks that you can usually get that the use of sheer reason you can get all the way out of that cave  arrive at the one best answer to the question o Aristotle thinks you need to look around the cave and figure out what people are saying about the cave there will be some truth in all of them and you should figure out the nature of the cave o You don’t need to be the one smart guy o He thinks that common opinion is usually right o You know that Plato think he knows the right answer -> this is what makes him complicated o Aristotle is always citing people  he is not ever going to tell you this is that and this is the best and only truth he give you whole bunch of perspectives  He tries to synthesize what everyone thought and figure out the best one  trying to get the fullest account of  He is the first political scientist  He starts with very philosophical approach  Book: “every state is a community of some kind and every community is established with some view of good” o He is defining what this book is about  it is about politics o How does he find the political domain he is dealing with o How does he define cities?  defines is by a purpose Understand what it is aiming at o Telos (greek word)  teleology (doing things in a certain way with an end goal in sight)  all human action in teleological (end/goal/aim)  Aristotle looks at everything this way, if you want to understand something you understand what is trying to be o If you want to understand an acorn you need to understand the oak tree that is meant to produce  To understand states you need to understand what politics aims to achieve and that is the only way to understand cities  We need to take into account that there is a range of states  What is politics? o “.. the state or political community which is the highest of all…” o Somehow politics is that good that encompasses all the others o First argument “when several villages are united in a single community…” o The state is not just the means of the way we live its necessary to live a good life o Why is the state the highest community? 1. Necessary for living the good life 2. It is the smallest thing that can be self-sufficient o “Evident that the state is the creation of nature…” The state is natural o “Beast and god”  It is human nature to have to live with other people and the only way to do that is in a city that is natural o “Nature as we understand is nothing in vain… man only has the gift of speech” To realize our highest good we need to speak o “Social instinct..” o States are natural because we need states in order to communicate with each other then to live justly  Pg. 143: restates what he is saying “let us consider what is the state..” o All states are all designed for us to live in this way (socially, justly, self- sufficiently) It is for the life for living well  answer to this question  Pg. 146: “for the sake of the good life and not the sake of…” o You have to b
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