POLSCI 3VV3 Lecture 3: LECTURE 3
Course CodePOLSCI 3VV3
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You understand everything in the context of its best form, the best potential that it can possibly
be. Apply this to politics > Aristotle to study democracy you look at the best possible realization
of the idea that a democracy can be.
^If you want to study how humans live you don’t study the worst humans, but the natural best
humans. That is the way to understand the discussion in the democracy readings.
Democracy is in a way a corrupt regime, nevertheless he says that the principle that the
multitude ought to be supreme (democracy is where the poor have the power) rather than the
few best is capable of a satisfactory explanation. It is not the truth or the best, but it is
possible/it can work.
Pg 149, Aristotle discusses a familiar argument from Plato. The popular form of government
involves certain difficulties, it may first be rejected, but he who can judge the healing of a sick
man can heal the sickness of the man as a whole. If you are sick you don’t go to a car mechanic
but a doctor, because they know about healing. Similarly, if you don’t know how to run a city
you go to a philosopher king.
^Aristotle has an argument against this > there are some artists whose work are judged by
those who do not possess the art. For example the knowledge of the house is not limited to the
builder, but the user. The guest judges better than the cook, the pilot better than the builder.
Aristotle says it should be the patient who is a better judge than the doctor. Do you want the
chef to have a say over how your dinner is cooked, the builder the say over how your house is
built? It is the user who determines who should have the say. Aristotle is responding to Plato’s
views on democracy.
page 215 first full para, democracy defined in the sense of freedom > the great end of
democracy is liberty. Freedom=rule. We understand freedom and equality as the key principles
of democracy, the principle of majority rule is only there because democracy is freedom and
equality together. If we are to be free and equal, the majority of us must have the say because
we have equal freedom in deciding what we are to do.
Rule > public/political. The freedom to decide what the community does. This is the key value
of a democray
Conduct > another kind of freedom. Individual freedom/private freedom.
To have a democracy we need both these kinds of freedom^ Democracy for Aristotle combines
both of these kinds of freedom.
From Aristotle you have a conditional defence of democracy, it is not the best. A good
democracy is defined by the law > the people are bound by their own rules and principles is
sufficient to make a democracy good.
Get started on the idea of a republic. A republic means the public thing. The state belongs to
the public > the people do the politics and run the affairs of the state.
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