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Lecture 6

Lecture 6 - The Politics I & II

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University of Ottawa
Political Science
Sophie Bourgault

Nov. 7, 2013 I. Plato vs. Aristotle; how different?  Plato is not popular in terms of social contexts  Aristotle is much more broadly accepted  1- People like Aristotle because he seems to have a political theory that celebrates social diversity (pluralism)  2- Aristotle has a political knowledge that’s more favorable of practical knowledge  3- he has a conception of liberal education which aims high without going to the extremes of Plato  4- Aristotle is said to be much more relevant to us today because he is more empirical and democratic  Both Plato and Aristotle are concerned with what’s the good life, virtue, justice.  Ideal regime according to Aristotle - Utopian politics (Book 7)  Aristotle conceives of political science quite differently than Plato did in terms of purpose and method  Aristotle – 3 types of sciences: theoretical sciences (good actions and happiness), practical sciences (politics and ethics), productive sciences (rhetoric, carpentry)  For Plato, political science belongs in the theoretical sciences  For Aristotle, democracy is a deviant regime  Aristotle was born in a very wealthy family in Macedonia  Unlike Plato, Aristotle was not born in Athens, so he would never be a citizen of Athens, he would always be a metic (foreigner)  He spent most of his life in Athens, but never had the opportunity to participate in politics, but he is a prominent activist of citizenship  Book 1; all. Book 2; chap. 1-5 II. Book I: the polis *purposes of the household  Every polis (city-state) is a community. The state is defined by the people. Every community is constituted for the sake of some good.  While every community aims at some good, the community that has the most authority of all and encompasses all other has the most good and the most authority – POLIS  Because it aims the highest, it should be granted the most authority  Which method to use – the easiest way to look at something is to break it down to its smallest parts. The most basic relationship – man/woman  Man/woman – for the sake of procreation; leave a little piece of us behind “immortality”; people want children  Master/slave – for the sake of survival; comes about naturally; he makes a distinction between woman/slave.  Parent/child  These relationships constitute the household – more than just the individuals who live together. Property, land, temple, animals, etc.  Unlike Plato, Aristotle thinks the private household serves important functions  PURPOSES OF THE HOUSEHOLD  1- the household addresses basic material needs (everyday needs – fed, clothed, washed) MERE LIFE – what is required to merely live/survive  2- Basic needs for socialization and learning; moral (we learn the distinction between mine and not mine) unlike Plato – everything not mine  3- provides a certain moral guidance to some individuals who need it desperately (children, slaves, and women) pedagogical  We move from these small units to larger units of association – many families come together to create villages, villages come together to form the polis  Plato – we come together for self-sufficiency (why humans congregate)  Aristotle – self-sufficiency is 1 reason, but people also create the polis (1252b) (not only for living) for the sake of living well  Only in the polis can we secure the conditions which are necessary for a happy and complete existence (not just within the household)  Living comfortably is not sufficient, we have needs for science, justice, and deliberation – these things can only be satisfied within the polis  1253A – “Man is by nature a political animal”  We’re not just social creatures, the polis meet the higher need for politics and the intellectual pursuits made possible by the polis  4 – human beings are naturally suited for this form of association (polis)  The polis answers a natural drive to gather and deliberate over what’s just and unjust  Aristotle want to persuade us that you cannot become fully human unless you live in a polis and participate in politics  Therefore, people who are within cities are either beasts or gods (1253A) – people who are asocial; people who are too smart and pose a problem to politics  Neither are desirable – you should not want to be a beast or a such a divine human being that you must live outside the city  P. 4 – man is more political than any other gregarious animals – many animals congregate and are social – but we are more political because we use speech (logos) – rational speech  We have language and reason, which makes us truly political creatures – no animal has speech except man – there must be a reason why  We alone can fully recognize and discuss whether something is just or unjust – we not only voice objections, we also engage in discussion  This is what politics are about – deliberation about the just, unjust, right, wrong, good and ungood  Man is by nature a deliberative animal  The painful and the pleasant are not political topics (poverty, wages, etc)  Foreign policy, “real political matters”  From procreation (household) to deliberation (polis)  553A – the city-state is prior to in nature to the household and to each one of us individually. The whole is necessary prior to the parts.  Every living thing has a nature, and each nature is to be identified with its end or final cause (TELOS)  Teleology - The tree exists prior to the acorn  Nature does not make anything in vain – nature gives to each thing a particular potentially that exists for good reason, everything serves a purpose  The fact that human beings have rational speech means they are meant to serve on juries, councils, deliberate, discuss foreign policy, to write and argue philosophy, etc  The polis is prior to the household and the individual – none of us can be fully self-sufficient or do more than just survive without the polis III. Aristotle’s defense of natural slavery (natural ruler ship)  A piece
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