September 7, 2011
Politics are here to make us happy
For others, it is to make people better
Political society creates rights and obligations
Justice is a foundational concern in class
Wars/conquests were the norm
General accounts of political subjects and pre-modern realities
We require our state to be neutral in its treatment of diversity
Stays out of “the good life”
September 9, 2011
- Aristotle becomes one of Plato‟s famous students, and goes on to challenge
everything that was taught.
- Ancient Greece is truly ancitht.
o Dated back to the 8 century, BC.
o Shaped the way we live our lives today.
o Athens, the city-state.
Birthplace of modern democracy.
Founded around 1,000 BC.
Concentrates wealth and creates political instability.
Like many states, it could have slid into war, but didn‟t.
There is a political response to political instability.
Led to eventual rise of Athenian culture and democracy.
Implements regressive taxation so that the more you paid, the more
Created an assembly open to all citizens that allowed citizens to come
debate and argue about political issues of the day.
o Athens‟ golden age lasted for just 100 years.
Aristotle lives after the golden age (was student of Plato).
Two great democratic reformers in ancient Athens were aristocratic
leaders implementing democratic reforms with a view to their
importance and stability of the Athenian state.
Truly the first experiment in democracy.
First self-conscious democratic state.
Deep, deliberative form of democracy… but extremely narrow and
Citizens spent days/hours in the assembly.
In Athenian democracy, no political parties exist… but there were
factions. Oligarctic (rich) factions and democratic (poor) factions.
Democracy was seen as a type of class rule.
Citizenship was a full-time job in Athens.
Counterpoint to Athenian democracy is Spartan society.
o Spartan was ruled an oligarchy.
At the age of 7, children were handed over to the state, where they
would become state property until their 30 thbirthday.
Installs reign of 30 tyrants.
Democracy comes back to overthrow them.
o NOBODY knows what Plato‟s real views are.
o Socrates is an historic figure, even though he didn‟t write a word.
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Executed on basis of corrupting youth.
Only doctrine consists of scepticism.
Philosophy was not doctrine.
September 12, 2011
There‟s a lot of stuff about morality at the individual level. We‟ll see a wide range of topics
A natural morality or natural conception of justice dictates that there is a timeless and
universal and divine basis for morality. Plato sees that view giving way to understanding
morality as simply a human-made conception. The natural order of things is at strong rule.
We attempt to enrich ourselves at times at the expense of others. If justice is just a man-
made construction, we should go with natural law.
Sophists were paid educators. The rich would pay a sophist to teach their sons in the art of
rhetoric for a successful political career in the assembly. The view was that the desirable life
was a life of strength, dominance and luxury. Plato is against relativism and defines his view
as “a natural view.”
For Plato and Socrates, the law must be more than the view of human agreement. Justice
somehow gets in the way and limits the quest for power. It is considered a superior life in
comparison to unbridled pursuit of justice. In the republic, justice is not seen as a set of
rules. For the two losers, it‟s a way of life and largely an internal view.
The republic opens and Socrates is narrating the public. He is the star and narrator of the
show. Socrates claims that it is never right to harm. Harm is a form of injustice.
Justice is a type of skill/art, and serves a particular end. Justice is a particular human
excellence, according to Socrates. That functions by making people good and better. Justice
promotes human goodness.
A slave‟s function is basically slavery. To perform this, a slave must have some sort of
special function. Socrates views himself as some sort of moral expert. He sees his own view
as one as to promote the examined life and is on a mission to make people better.
September 14, 2011
- Teaches rhetoric
- Wants Plato charged
- Has no money and can only pay Thrasymachus‟ view with gratitude
- We need to know what justice is before pursuing it
- Thrasymachus views it not for the sheep‟s sake
- The state is nothing more than the most armed gang
September 16, 2011
Law is the basis of justice and there‟s no independent idea of justice that exists prior to
enactment of law. This contrasts to what is known as a natural conception of justice. As
universal conception of justice exists, whether or not human beings exist…
We have a conventional view of justice, essentially a result of legal institutions that are
often called a “positivist” view. There are no independent sources of justice outside legal
enactments. We also have a view that justice is based on interests.
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Fundamentally, there‟s no real distinction between a state and the “best-armed gang in
Thrasymachus has view that:
- Socrates wants to say that authority is dedicated outwards.
o He argues that the Sheppard doesn‟t walk around talking care of sheep for
the sheep‟s sake.
o Another skill is earning wages.
Two skills: the art of making cash and the art of a skill of a particular
o Since authority is accepted, it was accepted grudgingly, as it came with
Political leaders often wanted money to perform their functions.
o Question returns: does authority pay? No.
Does justice or injustice pay for the person? No.
Based on three key items:
If they wrong each other, it will breed hatred.
We get the image of a type of unity and type of internal
We don‟t know how justice functions quite yet.
The function of the mind essentially is life.
In order to bring liberation to our minds, we must pursue justice, and
we will therefore be happy.
Justice is a type of knowledge.
It doesn‟t regulate our relationships and is an internal and
Justice is not just a matter of rules.
Wants to know what kind of good justice will be.
One good (357B) is a good is one that is entrancingly good (for
good or pleasure).
Conventionally, justice is seen as good rather than bad.
September 19, 2011
Glaucon reformulates the theory of justice and wants to know what good is justice.
- According to him, there are three kinds of good:
o Intrinsic value: pleasure.
o Instrumental value: valued for the things they bring.
o No intrinsic value: valued for outputs
- Wanted to know what Socrates thinks good is
o Both intrinsically and instrumentally for the ends it brings.
o Most people view justice this way.
Being inherently a burden.
Wants Socrates a case for justice as having both inherent and external
In restating the popular or conventionally thesis, he gives a three part
telling in which he wants Socrates to respond:
Where justice comes from.
Motivation or practice of justice.
The value of justice.
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o Is it valued for itself or valued more than injustice?
Origins of justice, according to Glaucon.
According to nature, it is good to do wrong. To wrong others, it
is good if you can injure or do wrong to others.
It‟s bad to suffer wrong.
After tasting both worlds, we agree not to invoke harm on
Equality of vulnerability underpins his theory of justice.
The fact that justice requires a third coercive party to hold us to our
agreement suggests that justice is done only reluctantly and must be
enforced by a coercion.
Once the threat of coercion is lifted, we will resort to unjust
It is in our best interests to agree to some type of moral code.
When we are figuratively invisible, we will resort to injustice.
There is strong evidence that no person is just of their own free will.
o Previously unjust person has the benefit of appearing “just.”
September 21, 2011
Plato: The Republic
- Socrates has been given his challenge.
- Glaucon says Socrates is asked to praise the reality.
- For Glaucon, there is a three-part telling of a convention view:
o The originals of justice rest on idea of self-interest.
o At some point, we realize it‟s in our own interest to set up some sort of rules
and agree to mutual restraint on our actions.
- Needs ultimately drive us towards cooperation.
- Origins of society are ultimately are basically our basic needs.
- We have different natural aptitudes which make us better for certain jobs.
- We move from a simple community to a luxurious and healthy communities.
o War is apparently not our purpose.
o Luxury involves expansion.
- Many more people were killed by their own state globally.
- Glaucon says that it would be wise to have a philosophical definition.
o Socrates believes we need our guardians to have a dual nature.
o This exists and is possible, and we can create a defensive system without
worrying that it will be turned against us at some point in time.
September 23, 2011
Customs is a feature of both communities and individuals.
Socrates wants to address and solve a paradox of politics.
- His response to the problem is to focus on the characters of the guardian class itself.
- If we want to protect ourselves from politics, we need to create good people.
- It will differ from an institutional type of answer.
- If people were angels, we wouldn‟t need politics.
- Socrates focuses on developing the right kind of character.
The upbringing and education of the guardian class.
- Plato is defending a state-provided educational system and will differ from
contemporary practice in Athens, where education was largely a private matter.
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- Socrates is quite concerned that Athenians are getting the wrong message regarding
political, educational and literary life.
- Education in the early years is prime importance (377B).
o First step is what matters most.
o This is the time when they are easily molded.
o Any impression we choose to make leaves a permanent mark.
o We must supervise the production of stories, choose the most suitable, and
reject the remaining stories.
- Problems with current legends Athenians are receiving.
o The way the gods are portrayed by the poets.
Portrayed as vengeful, warmaking… bad.
Socrates says God should only be portrayed as responsible for good.
Anything else must be treated as responsible for evil.
o The view that the gods should not be seen as shape shifting, using deceit or
engaging in falsehoods (380-383)
If gods are perfect, there is no need to change their attributes.
o Images of the after-life need to be revamped.
Socrates says that if we want brave guardians… ones that aren‟t afraid
of death, we‟ll fight bravely and willingly.
So do images of mortal heroes.
Heroes engaged in “pitiful lament.”
We need to have a stoic account of heroism and we can‟t have
families and friends mourning the death of their friend.
We can‟t see our heroes laughing either.
We can‟t have people reading poetry either.
o Generally critical of contemporary medicine focusing on curing rather than the
prevention of disease.
Says (406) that we must live on simple food and with luxuries that
come with a more exotic diet.
For those with poor health, we get the harsh view that they don‟t get
At 412, he turns to the question of selecting the guardian class those
who will rule.
To be a governor, self-interest should be with community
If we see any signs of self-interest, the persons accused would
be stripped of right to govern.
A close watch must be kept on them at all ages.
We get a reconfiguration of the class structure of the ideal
Guardians and everyone else are now dividing the guardian
class in two.
We now have a three-part class structure:
o Ruling, soldiering and working classes.
We are now assigning class positions based on merit-based set
We have an unequal society.
Not everyone will be happy with their role in life.
o We lie to people to keep from getting angry… known as
Plato‟s “noble lie.”
o He is reluctant to tell the lie.
o Gold, silver and bronze citizens
Socrates defends a consequentialist society.
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A stratified society needs some sort of founding myth or lie to justify
and legitimize a divided society.
September 26, 2011
We were confronted with the risk of war/invasion that came with our greed and ambitions
for territorial expansion.
- Creates a new risk of internal political oppression.
- Paradox of politics creates a danger of political authority.
- Informs a lot of political theory.
- Focus is on making people good people.
o To protect ourselves against politics.
- In 416D, Plato announces that guardians do not have private property.
o They eat together, live together and do not acquire health.
o They love the community more than they love themselves.
- At 417A and 417B, the way the rule and wealth will make men become
businessmean instead of tyrants.
- The destructive tendencies of wealth will create a private interest that may be offset
against the public interest.
o At 421D, too much destruction promotes idleness.
o Glaucon raises another objection.
- Socrates says we have finished the construction of our ideal state.
- Four elements that perfect:
- There‟s lots of wisdom in the state.
o This is the wisdom of the guardian class itself.
- The discipline of the ideal state is the agreement that the better part of the state rule
the worst parts of the state. It‟s that part of natural agreement that characterizes
o 433A: the principal of justice is laid out at the beginning as a universal
o Is a just state
o Has different roles that constitute a state in proper order.
o The goal was to find justice in the state and then see if we could find it in the
Working class, ruling class and soldiering class.
o Justice is in the individual is the same thing as justice in the state.
o We get a range of this at 444B.
- Glaucon and Adeimantus wanted a better explanation of the perfect society.
o Raises the question of the role of women and the ideal state.
o Should they have the same upbringing and social training as men?
o At 461D
- At 452A, Glaucon says that we should treat women the same way as males.
- At 452C, we will ask our critics to drop the usual practices.
o Natural capacities are similar distributed for each sex.
September 28, 2011
Definition of justice?
- Justice is the part of the order of society.
Page 6 of 37 POLS 236
- Justice for the community is the same as justice for the state.
Justice is still possible even for those who find themselves as soldiers or part of the working
- Minding your own business means a soldier shouldn‟t be making shoes, and a doctor
shouldn‟t be training horses. Stick to your role in society.
- Justice is the excellence of the mind.
- Controversial points of view threaten to wash over them:
o Role of women
o Guardian class are denied property and families.
o Rules should/would be philosophers.
- Socrates generally thinks that women (female guardians) should participate in the
function of gardens.
- When it comes to feasibility, can women perform these roles based on natural
differences? Socrates says YES.
- A much bigger wave and the elimination of the family as a requirement of justice?
- Step 1 involves mating festivals.
- Mating festival ends nine months later.
He claims guardians will be happy as a class because their victory is the sweetest of all.
- Glaucon questions if this is at all possible.
September 30, 2011
In the living class, they are denied property, income, etc.
Adimentus raises question of practicality in feasibility in an ideal state.
- Socrates suggests that consideration of fact should not affect our consideration of
- Using the ideal of justice that Socrates has created, Wave 3 becomes mainstream
and is “the biggest wave yet.”
- When political power and philosophy are held in the same hand.
- Glaucon (474A) believes most likely reaction
A philosopher is defined as someone who loves wisdom.
- Everything we see is a second-best reflection or an imprint.
- Opinion exists below knowledge.
- Better than ignorance, which concerns what isn‟t.
At 485B, a philosopher loves truth.
- Philosophers do not care about money and therefore cannot be corrupted or bought
off as a political leader.
- Sophists have a good reputation and Socrates believe they don‟t.
- Apparently, sophists give them what they want.
At 499B, we‟re waiting for some sort of miracle.
- There would never be a perfect state or society.
At 506C, Socrates is asked to give his opinion of what “the good” is.
- Claims it‟s not right to talk about what he doesn‟t know.
- Can talk about the child/children of the good.
- Without the sun, we can‟t have knowledge in the particular or sensory realm.
- The sun, as to our senses, is our sight while the good is our knowledge.
- The good promotes our very existence.
- The cave is an analogy of the current state of ignorance in our human condition.
Page 7 of 37 POLS 236
- The rule of opinion and the degraded nature of knowledge.
We move from looking at the shadows, to looking at the objects in which we used to see the
Ideal ruler does not want to rule.
October 3, 2011
Notes were provided by Steven Istifo:
- To describe a loving and honor state, we don’t really have this in our day
and is more of Sparta. Timocracy
Political decay. The division of labor one person for one job and roads have
an influence to this.
Even the best Regime will decline and he says all things that are made will
eventually decay. A lack of unity in the ruling class and the differences in it will
make it decline.
The difference in the metals should matter also.
We are ruled down to the second role of soul. The money will be the cause of
the fall of his system.
The Timocracy person: are competitive and are a losing culture and don’t
care about other authority and love there own only. They are only ruled by there
spirit. Eventually it will go to Oragiacley were the rich will rule over time. Later the
workers will own there own land and take over the political areas.
There are 2 different parts, ruling and money making. If they pick rulers on
there finically area than they are picking the wrong one. You cant pick your
political rulers by wealth.
The worst effect of all the emergence of the underclass. (the outcast of the
society, they don’t have a function. They start to role and change they normal
557A democracy starts when the poor wins, democracy means freedom,
individual rights and freedom and every person becomes a citizen in the state.
557D this is pleasant but this is only short lived and this will eventually
change and cant have this order, it will move from Individual rights to mass
Page 8 of 37 POLS 236
groups and group matters. Eventually an anarchy will rise and a awful leader will
emerge and take us out of this anarchy.
There is no consitisincy in this. The democratic lives day to day, he does
many different things and doesn’t know exactly what he is doing. There is not
order or restrain to his life.
The corrupting of democracy will be the shift to mass number rules, 556E
freedom has private life and it even wrecks domestic animals.
578D a slave owner is as much as a slave. If a rich person has many slave
than he doesn’t live in fear because the society helps him and protects him.
He points out that there are 3 different states of mind. Pleasure, pain and
there is a neutral state between them. They are stuck between pain and neutral
state and they confuse Pleasure with it and they thin they are in Pleasure but
while they are just away from pain and are in the Neutral state.
Only true happiness is from the objects of the beauty of Justice in itself, and
are things that don’t change.
Socrates concludes after this that a philosopher is 958 times happier.
588C we get the image of the human and soul as a three headed monster,
first head is the human head, the reason. The second is the lion the spirit bravery,
and the third head is a many headed beast. No happiness can slaved to the other
heads. Justice is the most profitable way of life and it maximize.
The inner conflict is the big problem. 589B this legitimizes the rule of positive
law. This objects the beast that lies in all of us. 590D political is necessary to have
order in the civil law. The punishment of civil law tames the beast. Political is
there because it is just and it makes us happy.
He ends with one last Myth the Myth of ER. Justice allows us to be free and self
governing and has internal rewards and it serves us well in this after life. ER dies
and comes back and tells us what happens in his tale of going to the after life. The
Image we are given by ER is that even after death we still have a justice after
world. The things we choose in life will matter and it project out next life and
choose things and happiness for our afterlife.
October 5, 2011
Socrates is charged by three private citizens and there are about 500 jurors.
- He faced charges:
- Certain he has infinite knowledge of holiness.
- First definition Eutrhyphro gives is:
o Prosecuting wrongdoing.
Socrates disagrees with this notion.
Believes it is an instance of holiness, but not holy itself.
- Holiness is that is agreeable to the gods?
- Socrates says it is something holy because the gods love it
o Asks what service/futnction is being performed
Page 9 of 37 POLS 236
- Eurythro is presented as a fundamentalist character.
- The accusers who have spread rumours about such fellow Athenians are the
- Has no knowledge of human excellence.
- Gained reputation on certain sort of wisdom… a human kind?
- Found that most people were just as ignorant as the first person
- Corrupting the youth
o It would be irrational for him to corrupt the youth
- The fear of dying is greater than the fear of death itself.
- Athens would acquire a reputation where emotions matter more than justice
- It has been Socrates‟ life long mission/duty to make the case for justice, basing our
actions on rational consideration of justice.
October 7, 2011
Accuser wants death, Socrates wants fine, but has no money.
- Not obsessed with survival and concerned with the good life.
- For Socrates, the good life is the philosophical life.
- Unexamined life is not worth living?
- 48A: sentence is a blessing.
- Spiritual signal that has guided Socrates has gone silent.
- Takes this to be a sign that death sentence is good.
- Death must be a magnificent journey.
- Ends defence as restatement of founding principles.
- Socrates does not to escape, but Crito thinks he should and helps him escape
- At 45C, it would be unjust for you to go through trial, as it is a farce.
o You are adding to injustice by going through with the process
- Socrates addresses reputation arguments first.
o Who cares about masses think?!
o Who cares about popular opinion?
o Why should we allow this to define our actions?
- AT 44D, Socrates says that that populous cannot inflict worst of evils.
- We should care about some opinions, and disregard others.
- If we have a problem with our body or health, we just don‟t ask any person. We seek
out medical experts. We regard some opinions and disregard others based on their
knowledge and expertise.
- The most important consideration of all is: would escaping be just?!
- It is harder to avoid wickedness than death.
- At 58A, Socrates wants to know if it‟s just for him to escape.
- Idea of political obligation is connected to the idea of political legitimacy.
- State demands obedience through obligation
- Our obligations pre-empts other considerations
- We don‟t ask for what the law is looking in us. We don‟t ask if it‟s just. We just obey
it. The state has the right to issue law, and we have the obligation to obey.
- First is a type of pre-modern type of reason, and the state and its subject.
- Socrates eventually gives us this at 50B.
- At 52E, what does your actions combine?
- Agreed to obey states, and the state‟s right to rule comes from our consent.
- Tacit consent
o We have tacitly consented to obey the state.
o How can we relate to laws?
- One final argument for Socrates
o The Laws of Athens:
o He believes he has a prominent role in justice
Page 10 of 37 POLS 236
o Justice is drowning out all other concerns
o At 53D, fleeing would be pathetic.
October 12, 2011
Can use secondary sources as a supportive role, but use the text itself for the most part.
They are permitted but not required
- Aristotle was a contemporary of Plato, and a student of Plato
- Born in 384BC and dies in 322BC
- He was a Macedonian by birth, but moved to Athens at the age of 17 where he would
stay for 20 years
- Aristotle left Platos academy after Plato died
- 342-342 became the tutor to the king of Macedonia, aka Alexander the Great
- After he left Alexanders tutoring he started his own Athenian academy
- He was forced to live in exile after Alexander the Great was defeated
- He did not want to let Athens “sin twice” against philosophy
- He dabbled in every area of learning, including politics
- His approach to philosophy
o He was more of a scientist than a philosopher
o He applies the scientific empirical biological method to politics and philosophy
- He rejects Plato‟s metaphysics
- He wants to bring philosophy “down to the ground”
- Aristotle rejects platos conception of the forms as true reality
- Each thing will be good but it will be a good thing in accordance to the essence of the
thing that it is
o Some squirrels can become perfect squirrels, some cannot be
- A teleological situation
o We define things by their ends
o Each thing has an end and that‟s how we understand these things
The end of a paper cutter is to cut paper
- We understand things by their essence which in a way pre possesses them
- Things having essences that we continually strive towards
- Existential view of things
o Existence precedes essence, rather than the opposite we get with a
- We define things by their ends or their essence and we have a view of a world that is
ordered and purposeful, and everything that is here is here for some particular end
- Hierarchical view of the world
o He believes in slavery
- Hierarchy of nature
o Top of the list are humans
Humans have the potential for rationality. This is the human essence,
it is the form of reality. But not everyone will live this essence
o Bottom are plants
October 14, 2011
Chapters 10-13 of the third book are the relevant chapters for today‟s notes.
Aristotle can be considered a “communitarian.”
- The good of the community is a precondition for the good of the individual.
Page 11 of 37 POLS 236
- The individual finds his or her good in the social role and social functions that him or
her is suited for.
- The good of the community will trump the individual right.
Man is a political animal.
- Humans are naturally political.
- Natural and more fully human condition.
- We are naturally political “all the way down, through and through.”
- There is a notion of perfectionism.
o Some ways of life are objectively better than others.
o In some ways, we become more human.
o We become more human as we continue to appreciate the good human life.
Aristotle is anti-egalitarian.
- Pinned on his view of natural differences.
o Some of us are just born to rule, and some of are born to be ruled, based on
certain things we‟re lacking, mainly national deliberation.
o There is inequality between men and women.
o These are largely based on natural differences.
- Within that spear of equality, we get that robust image of democracy we get some
compelling claims of political right.
- Justice contains both conventional and natural dimensions.
- Thoughts between ethics and politics: there are extremely close connections between
- One way to think about the differences is to think of morality of how we should live
- If morality concerns how we should live together, ethics answers the question of how
one should live as a person, an individual and individualized sense of ethics.
- Politics in Aristotle relates to us in two different ways.
o Individual life as an enabling condition and provides us with resources and
relationships that allow us to live an ethical life.
o On the other hand, politics is a part of the ethical life itself.
o For Aristotle, politics is part of the ethical life itself.
o The good life is an active life of civic participation.
- Political science is the highest sort of science for Aristotle.
- Both ethics and politics aim towards some end and that end is going to be good.
o Those are tightly intertwined.
o Each way of life will have some form of expertise.
- There are many ends and means to life, so we pursue products.
o The problem is that we now only worry about acquiring products.
- When we produce products, it is the wrong life unless we also participate within the
- Politics makes us good and happy, and also enables the good life.
- Politics itself is theorized instrumentally as the pursuit of private ends.
- Modern critics who find contemporary liberalism someway impoverished is someway
- Aristotle is writing for a small and homogenous community.
o Politics can‟t appeal to small doctrines.
o Politics has to come up with a way to accommodate people who disagree.
o Essentially, he tells us how to live we often have different understandings
as to how we should live fact remains that politics is about the good life.
o Since happiness is an activity of soul and based on virtue, we should study
virtue in attempt to understand happiness.
o The point of law is to make us good.
o Virtue itself is always going to be a “mean.”
Page 12 of 37 POLS 236
A “mean” between cowardice and foolhardiness (not enough fear).
- Is justice conventional or natural?
o His answer is that it is both.
o There are two ways we tend intuitively.
On the one hand, we have the idea of political justice. This can be
understood to political justice. Justice understood in obedience to law.
Whatever is lawful is in some way just.
o This is what we‟ve been treating as a natural conception of justice.
o In some way, justice is universal and is also considered „fairness.‟
o We appeal to a principal of fairness in distributing social resources and
o This idea of fairness includes an idea of equality.
o We have circumcised spheres of equality.
o Perhaps with this minor defeat, the content of justice will always link to the
constitution of actual states.
We have a vague understanding of justice, but it will always relate to
law and constitutions.
o He ends his ethics with an explicit statement about human life and the good
o We get the sense that we are moving towards a plutonic view of expertise
o Politics is a certain view of human life and if you‟d like to know who should be
involved in politics, you should look for people with expertise in a certain
subject/area, and that is justice.
Example: who should have authority in a kitchen?!
- We need to now turn to the question of politics.
- Aristotle begins study by asking “What is politics? What is a political community and
how does it relate to other political associations?”
- Family and small clans have the same “ends” and the end of the family and the
“end” of the village is life.
- Aristotle will tell us that citizenship is a two-sided story.
- Citizenship is both the capacity to rule and to be able to hold office.
- Starts with evolution of family village clan state.
- The household is brought up because it defines the difference of ruling over a
slave/family and the state/citizen.
- Just because it‟s an inferior art of type of expertise, doesn‟t mean it can‟t be done
- Four constitutive elements.
o Three of the four are relationships and other is expertise.
o Relations between:
Head of household and wife.
Female head of household and children.
Head of household, female head of household and slaves.
o Acquiring needed products for household.
o Head of household rules over slaves, women and children, but does so in
- Eventually, the household evolves into the village, which Aristotle says is ruled like a
- Villages eventually evolve into states.
October 17, 2011
Page 13 of 37 POLS 236
Two reasons to think about nature in politics:
- First reason:
o Family and village.
- Second reason:
o Self-sufficiency is the end.
o The lower societies exist for this reason.
- This natural understanding of the state combine
o The end is the good life…
- One way to think of it is to think of the state as a natural phenomenon
o It involves human agents.
o It is by nature
o Justice itself is a unique trait for the community.
- The idea of the state is a neutral form of association.
- Village is essentially ruled as a monarchy and so is the household.
- He begins the tour with four constitutive elements of the household:
Aristotle thinks is by nature just.
He of course draws on the age-old argumentative strategy from
moving from observations from natural differences straight to a
defence of social equality.
o A property can be animate or inanimate…
o Instruments for the purpose of life…
o There are arguments against slavery…
Is slavery just by nature? He says yes, it is.
In nature, ruling and ruled elements are natural and necessary we
see men ruling animals and men ruling women.
Begins by seeing needs and functions (or functions that need to
performed within society)
Nature is purposeful
If there is a need, nature will provide the means to meet this need.
Lots of unpleasant things need doing.
Slave is someone whose strengths is a mere physicality and not their
Has physical strength and lacks intellectual capacity
Slaves can participate in reason
Can listen to and follow the reasons of others.
Has no reason of his own and needs direction from those with
reason to direct physical labour.
That is the natural ruling and rule of elements in nature.
Slavery is not exploitive for Aristotle.
A community of friendship.
It is a mutually advantageous situation.
- Art of acquisition?
October 19, 2011
- Argument for the justice of slavery appeals to the natural difference of social equality
o Some are born to rule
- Conventional slavery
o In the case of slavery, conventional justice can conflict with natural or
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o Justice requires that equals are treated equally proportional equality
o In cases of equality
o Aristotle has the view of justice as requiring proportional equality.
o If someone is born to rule, but the law forces them into an institutional
relationship of slavery, that rule violates equality and is therefore unjust.
o The good have legitimate right to rule over what is called the “weak.”
- We get tries to understand Aristotle‟s version of justice.
- Sometimes, conventional slavery is going to trick onto natural slavery
o Will enslave those who are natural rulers.
o Slave acquisition is a distinct part.
o Distinguishes between what he calls arts management/property management
o The art of acquisition deals with providing the household with things which
o Property is given by nature.
o All animals must have been my nature for the sake of man.
o There is finite limit to nature.
o Property begins with a use function.
o Trade or exchange first begins as a form of a bargaining.
o It is the business of nature to furnish nature?
- Plato and conception of goodness
o A slave has a goodness beyond merely discharging his functions as a walking
o They will involve humanity and reasoning.
o Citizens of a state share a constitution and own the sovereignty of a state.
o If they have nothing else in common, they have their shared institution in
o Some things are held in common and some things are held privately.
- The Polis is based on a mutually advantageous goal.
o Whole point of state is achieving self-sufficiency.
o Each state will care for their children‟s well-being.
- Plato says:
o If a bronze child shows exceeding promise, parents should move child into
o True cause of public speardedness and fraternity or unity is going to be a
well-ordered civic education.
October 21, 2011
- Chapters 10-13 are what the assignment is based on.
- He distinguishes between the constitutions of a political institution.
- The state of the government.
- Starting small and working one‟s way up
- We should start with the citizen
o First conception is the idea of territorial residence
- The idea of holding of basic set of civil rights
o Right is shared by aliens and non-residents.
o Settles at preferred definition: man who shares in the administration of
justice and then holding office.
This is a thorough going democratic view of citizenship.
o There can be citizens despite the very few office holders.
- The democratic conception he defines doubles as citizens and those able to rule.
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o Each citizen possesses both of these capacities.
- Aristotle distinguished between the constitution on one hand and the state on
- Respective responsibility for past crimes would behold.
o Says constitution is the organization of state in respect to sovereignty.
o Sovereignty is the civic body composed of citizens.
o If we have a corrupted form of the rule of the many, we are left with a
- Oligarchy and democracy contain a little sliver of justice.
The 10 th chapter
- We get a democratic answer about rule.
- The rule of the many seems to be consistent about Aristotle‟s view of justice.
- He works through a few possibilities, and rejects them.
- No means a universal doctrine.
- The initial impression is that it wasn‟t a real argument.
- Aesthetic judgment
o The many are better to judge art, poetry and music than the experts for each
of those things
o Wisdom of many is a utilitarian form of wisdom.
o Politics is about the good life and not just the mere life.
o We are political because we have speech.
o Our passion is based on the capacity of speech.
o Argues based on diversity itself?
o Seems to underpin importance of conversation and debate.
October 24, 2011
There are technically three types of regimes. The state is for and by property owners.
- Money soils all claims of sovereignty.
All three considerations are important, but the type of states that lean too heavily to one at
the expense of others have only an incomplete conception of justice.
There are three types of corrupted regimes:
- There is an economic class understanding of interest. Democracy is directed towards
the interest of the rich, rather than the poor.
- They are not all equally corrupt. They are all better or worse.
- The best of the worse is democracy.
Consideration of political ideals
- Actual considerations
- The best form of democracy follows the idea of equality the closest.
- For Aristotle, equality is always going to require some level of inequality, which is
- The best form of democracy follows the principle of equality and the poor don‟t count
for more than the rich.
- The first variety of democracy in which the variety in which war declares that the
poor are to count no more to the rich and neither is to be sovereign.
- We can approve of this law because it is a beneficial type of law.
- The people and not the law, is final democracy.
- A democracy where there are no constitutional limits is a good form of democracy.
a. Not all democratic measures are in the interest of democracy.
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b. The long term of stable democracy requires certain anti-democratic
- Briefly goes through a few types of oligarchies.
a. Says a true aristocracy only has citizens that are good in absolute sense.
b. That is the only true Aristocracy.
c. Aristocracy can be ascribed to regimes that ascribe citizenship on more
- Preferred form of actual types of regimes (realistic regimes), which he calls a polity.
o The polity is a form of regime that is ruled by the many.
o Numerical superiority grounds claims.
o It is the pure form and is directed towards the common good.
o He says to achieve this, the polity combines oligarchic elements.
o Combined with oligarchy and democracy as well as combination of numerical
superiority as well as property and money considerations.
o The claims of sovereignty are based either on money or numerical superiority.
o He describes the polity as a type of mixture it mixes the oligarchy and
o Adheres to some fuller notion of justice than democratic or oligarchic states.
o Mix occurs in three main ways:
We should in polity find the rich if they fail to perform civic service.
We should pay the poor for providing civic function. That combines
democratic and oligarchic elements.
We should find a means between oligarchic and democratic functions.
We should set them as low as possible, but shouldn‟t get rid of it the
same way a democracy does.
o Continues long after Aristotle‟s time.
The regimes of polity could be indifferently described as either, but we should look at
it like it includes either.
Polity: when different classes are combined, shall owes its stability to its own
intrinsic strength and not to external support.
Issue of stability is key in this point in Aristotle‟s consideration in actual states. Polity
is the best realistic state.
The good life is ultimately going to be a mean.
o The middle class has the highest capacity to follow reason.
o The middle class does not suffer from ambition.
o Finally, he says, the middle class is a community of equals.
o Community depends on friendship.
o The state aims to be as far as it can be.
o The middle class is a community of peers and friendship.
Ultimately, everything will end with the rich minority.
Policies are inevitably going to be rare.
o Small middle class, disputes between the rich and poor.
Blames foreign policy of Sparta and Athens for taking democratic and oligarchic sides
in the reign of Greek city-states.
Both democracies and oligarchies are prone to instability because they contain only a
small portion of justice. Inequality in one respect is wealth, spills inequality over to
Inequality itself is the problem with all behaviours. Passion of inequality leads to
o Largely inequitable and creates the causes of political change.
o Both oligarchic and democratic states, which he believes are the majority of
states, can sustain themselves to prolong their existence if they proceed on
the basis of moderation.
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o Democrats should not do everything that deepens democracy.
o Essentially, freedom has licence.
October 26, 2011
Policy is the best kind of possible regime.
- Republicanism and the defence of the mixed constitution.
The true political expert is not the individual that possesses civic excellence, but rather it is
a group of many operating together.
- Employing non-professionals is a good idea.
Leaving ancient Athens behind and blasting forward in time to Renaissance Italy, which is a
2,000 year jump.
- The western world is characterized by the growing influence of Christianity.
- Rome is at the height of a Hellenistic culture.
- Augustine from the 4 century was a neo-Platonist
- Operated in the 13 century and was a neo-Aristotelian.
- Reconcile Aristotle, the pagan with Christian theology.
- Doctrine of natural right: view that there is divine law written into the universe by
god and one created by man (human law).
- When these two things conflict, we should go with divine law over human law.
- He also believes we have an obligation to go with divine law instead of human law,
based on our own consciences.
Political theory of Machiavelli
- Florence is a city-state in the Tuscany region of Italy.
- Renaissance Italy starts here.
- City-states were still popular in Europe, but not quite as nation-states.
- One of Machiavelli‟s biggest concerns was Italian unity so that it could become
stronger and not be vulnerable to foreign powers.
- Machiavelli was a politician, a teacher, wrote plays and he was a philosopher.
- Highly-regarded diplomat stationed around Europe.
- Becomes head of Florentine militia.
- Public is dissolved and principality is restored.
- The Prince
o A short book written as a gift to the prince as a way to carry favour and
regain his political career.
o Both are concerned with political unity and political independence.
o Humans are wicked for the most part and essentially self-interested, petty
and in no way at the centre of the universe. They are victims of the universe
- He focuses on statecraft
o The art of the state
o A set of the virtue that political leaders can acquire
- Machiavelli is a political realist and suggests the separation of politics and morality.
- A statesman needs to be able to go to the dark side once in a while.
- Best way to understand political change and development is to understand the
attitudes and effective political leaders and their elite.
October 28, 2011
Page 18 of 37 POLS 236
- Structure on one hand and agency do the other.
- The idea of a structural explanation of change and social development points to
broad social demographic patterns.
- Idea of agency puts human beings more in the centre of history.
- Prince deals with agency side of life
o Role of individual leader is saving his/her principality from ruin
o Emphasis eventually moves to institutions and less on individuals and
o Explicitly deals with concept of fortune.
o In thinking about history, how much can be attributed to human actions?
o It is not unknown to me that many have held
o Well-prepared humans can manage, but not completely control fortune.
- Fortune is a powerful river.
o From time to time, without much warning, swells up and destroys all in its
o Fortune is potentially destructive, but can be guarded against.
o Unification of Italy is becoming overarching political goal.
o Leaving it up to mere fortune is disastrous… we need to be proactive and
o We need to be impetuous in our treatment of “old lady fortune.”
o We‟ll see this idea of fortune and through a virtuous leader.
- Was a high-ranking civil servant in the Florentine republic (democratic form of
- In the 18 century, when republicanism was back in the air, Rousseau thought it was
a satire or ironic critique.
o Seems to clearly address problem of legitimacy.
- Aristotle has many more kinds of states (six, of course) and throws in an oligarchy.
- The new principality lacks the principalities and lacks the habits of mind in the
o Leadership is much more important itself.
o With a new regime and new leader, there are greater expectations.
- Within the new principality, there are two types:
o Appendage, where we have our own principalities and we take over or add as
an appendage, known as a new or mixed territory.
o Completely new principalities (those we just design from nothing).
- In the case of mixed appendages, it is easier to rule with similar principalit