POL200Y5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Oligarchy, Aristocracy, Distributive Justice

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16 Nov 2016
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POL200 Lecture 9 Aristotle; Politics Book II & III
There is NOTHING beyond the Government/Polis. It is the IT.
Aristotle critiques and investigates with an eye towards reforming the
Poleis
o Aristotle says he will examine the Poleis which may be good
o As well he goes on to look at different theories Plato; Republic
It uses theories to devise the best Poleis
o Aristotle finds difficulty to understand the purpose of the City of
Words
Plato was big on division of labor which Aristotle does
not fully understand
1. First Major Concern too uh UNITY i Plato’s Repuli
a. The ed that Plato’s Repuli ais fo is the uity of the Polis
b. This unity is not worth achieving even if it were achieved it
would destroy the essence of the polis
c. For Aristotle the Polis is made up of specific associations which
have a role to play these associations are brought together to
form the entire Polis. These associations are natural
d. Plato according to Aristotle creates one big household and not a
Polis
e. Polis achieves its end when the different associations are
allowed to achieve their respective ends
f. Plato creates so much unity that these different associations
gets lost
g. Polis has a division of labor each part has a particular end and
function, Aristotle is concerned about striving for too much unity
and forgetting the separate parts that form the WHOLE.
2. Second Major Concern Community of Family
a. There must be a community of family that binds the guardians
togethe i Plato’s Repuli
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2
b. Aristotle says abolishing the family will do the opposite the
emotions family has towards one another will be gone
i. Creates a watered down intensity of a family bond when
there is one big family instead of natural family bonds
c. Regadless of Plato’s itetios Aistotle says thee is soethig
unnatural to eliminate family unit
d. Aristotle says it is natural for children to love their parents and
vice versa this gives meaning to life. Without children there is
no truly successful life
i. For Plato the possibility to have children for the ruling
class is not possible
e. For Aristotle there cannot be one big family, different parts play
a role. Also, it is too extreme to get rid of natural family unit.
3. Last Major Concern Communal Property
a. Aristotle has two basic objections to this:
i. It will be inefficient people care only about what is their
own and will work hard only to profit from it [motivation]
ii. It will cause unhappiness people invest themselves in
what they own, it defines them, people care about
property, homes, clothes etc., people care about
hospitality inviting people over to homes to entertain.
Simply taking property from someone makes them
unhappy.
iii. Plato would argue that land ownership is privately owned
by farmers and crafters not guardians.
b. Aristotle says sharing wealth is part of the good life only
possible if people have private property
Plato says that all these things that must happen in the City of Words,
Aristotle has a general remark Aristotle fears the Polis itself will be
destoyed y Plato’s efo
o Plato’s efos ae too adial – do not conform to the natural
order of things.
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