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POLC70H3 (38)
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Lecture 4


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Political Science
Daniel Lee

Week 4: Aristotle PART I: who is Aristotle? - 1. Student of Plato, founded the lyceum. Followers of aristotle;s teachings were called ‘peripatetic; (from Gr.Periapsis-walking around) because they walked around when they taught. - 2.foreigner in Athens - 3.Tutor to the young alexander the great - 4.The first political scientist-but not just a political thinker. Why read Aristotle's politics today? - 1.enormous influence on political theory-ancient, medieval, modern - 2.Contributions to legal theory-‘natural law’ - 3.‘constitutional engineering’ - of the different parts of the state - 5.the idea of the ‘mixed’ constitution - 6.Examples of Aristotelian political analysis - How is Aristotle different from plato? Some basic observations: 1. Aristotle’s style of writing is very different-not dialogues. What we have are essentially lecture notes in outline form. 2. Plato likes grand theorizing; Aristotle favors particular details of each specific case he studies 3. Aristotle is deeply concerned with proper method of analysis-causation. Substance, classification-in all sciences, including ‘political science’. PART 2: Politics as a subset of Ethics - ethics is generally described as the philosopher of human nature-concerning human values and moral conduct - In aristotles system, politis is a part of theirs. So, to understand politics, he suggests eel must must first get a better understanding of what humans value and why we value them. - This is the aium of aristotles major work on the topicof ethics, the nicomachean ethics (sons nameO policis cannot be sperated Aristotles doctrine of the good - thinks one of the waus humans are discitnice is in the way we live out lives according to a plan-unlie animal, hmans can deliberate about out actions and desired goals. - All human actions are purposive - evey action has some purpse or end (gr. Telos ) connected to it. - NE. 1.1 every art and every inquiry and similary every action and persuit, is thought to aim at some good, and for ths reason the goos has rightly been ….. - But not everything is valued- some things are more valuable than others: - NE 1.1 Th. End of the master arts are to be preferred to all the subordinate ends….. - Aristotle speculates that there must, in theory, be some ultimate good which every per- son desires for its own sake-not because it leads to some other good (otherwise, the process would go on to infinity) - whatt is this supreme good? (latin summum bonum) - The supreme good is callec in greek eudaimonia - Difficult to translate- happiness, living good, one whi us fully human, fully flourishing and lving wholly complete and good life. - It is valuable in itself - NE 1.7 eudaimonia then us smoothie final and self sufficient and the end in all acion - It is an activity of the coul in accordance with virtue whrn we do thigs with purpose and achieve our deliberate goals we achieve this end. Why is this important for politics? - Aristotle thinks eudaimonia cannot be achieved in isolation. You can only achieve this when you live and do things together with others in a community. - Example of friendship- friendship is an essentially social good-you cant enjoy the ben- efits of friendship by yourself - the supreme good is impossible without politics - NE 1.2 “et supreme good would seem to belong to the most authoritative art….. - ...politics legislates as to what we are to do and what we are to obstain from…. - That is why we must study politics-the cartft or art of producing good laws practiced by the statesman (gr.. Politikos) - What is the unique skil of the statesman? Aristotle calls it ‘practical wisdom‘- in greek phronesis. It is the ability to calcite and deliberate well about actions that can best bring ow the good and happy life. - NE 6.5- it is a true and reasonded… household or states. - NE 6.8 practical wisdome is essential to governing well. - Practical wisdom is not the same as contemplative pr philosophical reason. V. Different from plato PART 3: The basics of Aristotle's political theory (politics I) - in the last paragraph of the ethics aristotle points out that political scien has never been studied. So he turns to study politics. - BOOK IV of the polticis gives good statement about what he thinkis political science should be - In all the skills and sciences which do not operate piecemeal but give complete coverage….would be like if it were constructed exactly as one would wish” - politics tries to do thi right from the start of book I with several foundational claims: - Pol 1.1 ‘every state (polis) os am association (koinomia) - Pol .1 every os formed with a view to some good purpose (telos) - Pol 1.1 that association which is sovereign….the association which is po- litical” - Pol I.I it is an error to suppose….that the role of a stateman ...nbetwwem a large household and a small state” - remember ethics 6: house hold managers and statesmen both exercise poltical wis- dom, but what is distinctive abiut the stateman, that is different from a household-man- ager? - Aristotle suggests we ought to look to the origins of political association. - His most important clain is that the poli exists by nature-meaning that it is not by volun- tary choicr, but by a natural focr o urge that the state is created - Natural sequence in aristotle: - We cant survive on our own, so we naturally form associations with others: - 1. Union of male and female for reproduction - 2. The relationship of ruler and ruled. - note that aristotle thinks these types of relationships are ogvernemd by ‘nature’ (phas- es) they are not governed by any social convention (gr.. Nomos) - There is an increasing com,plenty in aristotles theory - Private household-villages-polis(formed by many villages) - This is what is called a ‘teleological’ argument in aristotles thery. It explains a phenom- enon in terns of its ultimate end, or telos, here the end id all associated lufe is the polis - Only in the polis is it possible or live the good life of eudaimonia - Pol 3.9 a state must concern itself with virtue otherwise the association is a mere military alliance...a state is an association intended to enable its mem- bers...ti live well; its purpose is a perfect and se
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