POL200Y1 Lecture Notes - Aporia
His style of writing is not acceptable for everyone. He wrote huge amount on tremendous topics.
His method entails like ( some people say this and some people say that) , and then he asks the reader
what one is thinking. He has the deepest and richest understanding of politics. Plato knows more about
what philosophy is . Compare to Aristotle, Plato doesn't have much knowledge of what politics is about.
Was born in Macedonia, and wrote and spoke in Greek. His father was a physician for king of
Macedonia. And he had a marine biology knowledge. And his most of earlier writings were about
biology. At 18-19 he was sent to Athens and studied the Plato for 20 years.
Aristotle criticized Plato on communitarians or communism.
Plato died. Aristotle is not named as the leader and he left Athens. And he was finally called Pila
the capital of Macedonia in order to become the tutor of the Alexander the Great.
Alexander the great wanted to be a great warrior and build empire. So not clear how much
philosophy he learned. And by 15 he was on the battle field.
Aristotle intention was to educated and inform political leaders.
He left Pilla, and he finally returned to Athens . And he started his own school. And that school
lived on after his death. And he had great reputation. In 323, Alexandra the great died. And the
empire of his went to Greece. Everything was uncertain. And people of Athens didn't like the
maccindonian. Aristotle was never citizen of Athens, he was always a form and a Macedonian.
I am not going to give Athens the opportunity to kill philosopher the second time.
His will, tells us about his life. And children and wife and distribution of his property and how to
Biology is one of the model used for classification and observation
Geometry vs. Biology
( aporia is a puzzle, sometimes people think is contradiction. And it is a problem that hasn't
been solved), and system philosophy is a principle that starts small and grows into parts that
is big and has form and fits all together in huge system. Aporatic starts with problems. There
is little attempt to put the answer to all these problems into one system. Aporatic
philosophy is not a process it is just an approach.
Systemic vs aporetic ( aporia) philosophy
Aristotle operates apporatically.
And it is difficult to put all his work into one system
However behind all his work, is a concept of nature, so it is unifying concept. Although it
doesn't dissolve in systematic
Plato gets higher and higher to get into the concept of good. And the good makes the
grasping of the form possible and the existence of it.
Aristotle rejects Plato form. There is no abstract entities we should be searching for. And we
have the world around us we should be observing it. And the world around is not arbitrary
and it is not chaotic and it is organized and as philosopher we should discover it. And we
have matter out there . And it could be anything and it could form itself into anything and
these things can give it a purpose. And it is force is in the world. And it is in everything. If
you want to know the world you have to look at things. Compare to Plato, who advised to
turn yourself away to know beyond the surface.
Nothing in the world is there by accident. It is a nature to lead itself into a system.
Good vs Nature
Issaih Berlin ( two kinds of philosopher, the hedgehog gets one idea and big ideas. And you
can understand their writing through one big idea. And it is systematic that their ideas that
run through ther life. And then we have fox, that they write all over, but they have no
connection. ) fox is in essence is all over the place. Aporetic Aristotle is the Fox. He is not
tight to his one idea. And he could be creative and figure out all sort of things. Or Aristotle is
is hedgehog who writes in detail with connection of nature to reason.
Hedgehog versus Fox ( ?)
Plato versus Aristotle:
Observation shows us. For Aristotle he was interested in observing the world. ( we see= Observation)
He used the idea of sights as metaphor for mind grasping thing.
Nature means there is no planning and it just happens.
According to Aristotle, Athens was perfect state ( women, men, children and slaves)
Second, his idea of nature is theological
Man is by nature a political animal ( zoon politikon)
The nature of ( pg. 12 of 53 1252B) when growth is completed
A corn, the nature of the a corn. The nature of A corn will be if it s developed fully.
When it comes to human beings, it becomes more complicated, when Aristotle says
that man is a political animal or zoon politiken, it means man reached his
What I are to do, what is the plan of my life, and how i am going to live the best
i can. And it we lived in isolation we wouldn't ask these questions and now we
He meant, if the nature of something is that fully developed and is at its best. What is
our end and goal and function in the world. In order to find it , what is different about
human being that makes different from others or things. And it is because we have
rationality. It turns out we can only practice it in political community through
reasoning. And there
Book one chapter one and two
Aristotle on Human Nature:
POL200 Page 1
i can. And it we lived in isolation we wouldn't ask these questions and now we
live in community we have to ask these questions. And if lived in isolation, we
could never achieve human flourishing , flourishing of humanity. And we
organize ourselves according to law and we exercise our highest capacity.
In order to understand nature of something we have to understand its end and
purpose. And nature of man is to live in a political community.
Perfectionism says there are objective goods. And we ought to pursue them and
Aristotle case tell us what they are. And some goods are clearly not .
Our choosing of things doesn't make them good....they are objectively good.
Aristotle says there are other moral goods. Like developing your inner
intellectuality. Aristolian says you have the choice to live however they want,
but it is objectively wrong. And developing intellectual objectivity is good.
Participating in a community in a certain way is part of our
Participation in politics is an activity that is appropriate for all human beings.
All education is directed toward politics.
participating in politics is part of human nature.
Idea of someone who lives outside the politics. ( the man not participating in
politics is either Beast or God). And to be human being requires participation to
He makes strong case, relationship of politics is quite different than the
relationship between a master and slave. He is trying to elevate the idea of
politics above the notion of master and slave.
Good in the material< CULTURAL SENSE
Good in the moral sense
Politics and the good life
Form of family, agriculture and enterprise, and in it there are natural parts that rules above
others. Nature teach is superior over inferior. And teaching of children. Cause children are
unable to make decision or rule themselves. Children are helpless and they require all the
nurturing and caring. And biology tell us. And after that when children develop, we are
under obligation to teach them. And if parents fail that, it is unnatural. So we have a case we
observe the principle that seem to work. Our mind governs our appetite. If you want to
reach a goal, one use their brain. And that is totally natural that human being is governed by
their mind. And it is General principle that superior should rule over the inferior for the
benefit of both.
Problem in principle
Problem in practice
Defends natural slavery, but these are very puzzling passages. And interpretation is
widely different. Some say :putting a radical critique on ( there is no such thing as
natural slavery) . ( there is something in their nature that they are slave, people who
are slaves, that there must be something in one`s nature). Ruling should involve your
judgement. Natural slaves are those who don't have rational capacity ( pg 16) , the
different between master and slave ( has to be so big as the difference between soul
and body) or people who are naturally incapable of making decision. It is beneficial
for the slave to participate in the household and that the slave living alone will starve
and will not be productive and make decision on their own. How they we know ( if
natural works the way it should, big build people are slave and skinny ones are not) .
In his distinction of master and slave , it is the distinction of the soul. They have moral
defects in their character who can have no decision with help of others. Then the next
way we can look at people who are slaves today. And people are slaved by
convention. because of military conquest. (Two ways of being slave is either born
slaves or captured. ) Aristotle cannot give justification because his justification is
based on natural slavery. Aristotle hence and say that there might not be any actual
natural slave. In his will he freed his slaves. Another way to define slavery is the
relationship has to benefit both ( pg 19) there are some cases that distinction exist.
When both of them naturally merit the position they stand ( master and slave).
Principle of natural slavery is not natural for us ( prof opinion and conclusion) . We can
draw the line that the idea of any human being under no circumstances to be the
property of any other human being. But Aristotle had no problem with the principle.
And his idea of property was participation in households, in sub community not
Is Aristotle as a misogynist
Husband - wife: the element which is superior is deliberate element. In case of a child
is undeveloped and in the case of non-existence , and in the case of wife they have it,
it is inoperative. Means women are emotional. So it is natural husband rule wife. Here
is the Sparta, men leave women home and leave them to be in charge of everything.
Aristotle is talking about condition of a soul ( in master and slave he quite welling to
knowledge that soul aspect doesn't correspond to biological aspect) , biological
difference is a lot between men and women but the soul aspect is not always . Up
till 15 years ago who was writing about this was ( women are subordinate) , he is
simply articulating the prejudice of time he lived. Describe political
relationship ,( participants are equal. But their relationship is as of equal citizen. The
societies ( barbarian societies) which considered women to be like slaves, are wrong.
And women are equal to men in some steps.
POL200 Page 2
Is Aristotle as a misogynist
Does it matter if Aristotle is a misogynist
Both presented challenges for individuals lived in community, they don't think that
individual is prior to community but our community as the whole is
Aristotle accuses Plato for not creating a community but unity that everyone should be the
For Aristotle , there should be a connection with the city and also you have to be
independent. We should come as autonomous, rational being. And it should leave you to
make the choice yourself. For Aristotle we have to be ourselves and participate in
Family is important.
Holding things in common cause strive as opposed to unity.
Plato said ( private property creates greed) but Aristotle rejects that and said it is
human nature that some people are greedy. And it doesn't matter how many times
you change your property, you are greedy.
You cannot be generous.
Aristotle is interested in Economic , and said that political system is based on
Economics. And without middle class , you cannot have a stable political system.
Who is going to the house work ( coordination of women)
Community is not sum of its part, but you cannot have a happy community that
According to Aristotle, plato had no knowledge of human nature.
Plurality versus unity ( pg 39)
Realism, human ( nature, moral education)
Happiness of the whole and the parts
Book two: Aristotle versus Plato ( take two)
POL200 Page 3