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Aristotle - Updated

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Rebecca Kingston

Political Theory: Week 7 - October 27 , 2010 ^Man is by nature a political animal:_ - Aristotle - Man by nature is best suited to live in the polis, the identification of the type of political community that was prevalent at the time of Aristotle`s writing - Aristotle begins Politics with focus on why we need to think of political relationships as qualitatively different from other types of social relationships that we have, for example in the household and the village - ``Every state is a community`` o Kononia can be translated in different ways o Basic point is that we can`t think of states as institutions that stand over and above society, have tendency to think of the state as a series of bureaucratic institutions, a combination of offices and personnel and formal duties that stands over society o The people are the state, state is not a bureaucratic institution, the state is a partnership among those who are citizens, established ultimately for the purpose of living well o He suggests that we need to understand this partnership with several qualities: 1. People from diverse interests and backgrounds coming together 2. People coming together because of some interdependent relationship 3. People share some common objectives and concerns o Aristotle likens the citizenship relation as a form of friendship relation, the type of friendship that you might have with your local butcher, people you interact with on an everyday basis A friendship based on utility, there for a common purpose, engaged in common project, providing the best policies, trying to devise the best ways in which to organise your community o Need to have understanding of why human beings are sociable in the first place Understanding assumption by Aristotle that human beings are individuals that cannot be on their own totally self-sufficing, need to live with other people Have material needs, social needs, cultural needs, ethical needs o Way in which we can view elements of polis are institutions who help to meet needs but in a limited ways Household and village are formed with view to meet limited needs Household: - Book I, Section II - One of main functions is to meet material needs that we all have as human beings, shelter, clothing - Book I, Section VIII o Art of household management calls for limited acquisition o Trade for profit was to be disregarded, morally wrong
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