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POLSCI 3VV3 Lecture Notes - Smart Guy, Potluck

Political Science
Course Code
James Ingram

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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
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…”
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