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ARISTOTLE & Augustine.docx

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Department
Political Science
Course
POLS 2900
Professor
Adam Hilton
Semester
Fall

Description
POLS 2900: Lecture #? (missed last week) October 18, 2012 ARISTOTLE (conclusion) Justice is always distributive: in the Just system, goods and rewards are distributed on the basis of merit. Argues that both a) Realizable ideals: The “Polity”  Mean/middle constitution  Mixed constitution  Aim of Moderation  Limits on power  Stability and justice  Importance of education b) Aristotle’s Ideal  Purpose of state  Virtue and politics  Rule of the best  “Man” citizen AUGUSTINE (354-430AD) 1. Historical Background a) Overview  Decline of polis, ideal of citizenship, positive role of state b) Greek & Roman Empires c) Philosophy/Empire  Cymcs, stoics, epicurians  Emergence of Natural law  Universalism  Early Christianity 2. Rise of Christianity a) Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven b) Spiritual Radialism, social quietism c) Political Teachings d) Property & Allegory e) A Christian Empire  Edit of Milan 313  Edict of Thessandica 380  Merging of Church/State functions 3. Augustine a) Life influences b) Trajectory of Thought  Manichaeism and the problem of evil  New-platonism  St. Paul, sin & grace ARISTOTLE REVIEW  In Oligarchies, honours and offices are distribute rewards and offices on property (on wealth and not merit)  In the best state (books 7-8), resembles a kind of Aristocracy (“rule of the best”)  You would have more responsibilities and roles in governance with education, training etc. wisdom, moderation, justice  Distributive principle of justice where rewards are distributed unequally but are distributed on merit  He takes into account what really exists, most states are either oligarchies or democracies so we must examine what the best state could possibly be given current conditions  Also looks at what could be done to make existing states to be more just  What makes states the more stable?  Concerned with stability and justice  Important to keep in mind that for Aristotle, stability and justice are connected. The more just states are, the more stable they are.  Don’t memorize, so long as you get the jist of what he is saying  What is the realizable idea?  Begins in book 4, discussing best constitution that can be hoped for as most states are either oligarchic or democratic (also different levels of each)  His preference are for a middle constitution of midway between both of those, a mixed constitution  One of his arguments for middle constitution, is reminiscent of his ethical theory  In the ethics, when he talks about character virtues, it is the mean between two extremes  He argues, and refers back to ethics… virtue is a mean and a happy life is a life without hindrance in accordance to virtue  Middle constitution = the polity  Democracy is ruled by the poor, Oligarchy is ruled by the rich.  Not to say middle class are the most virtuous but will provide the most stability because the embody moderation and do not covet the posessions of others like the rich, and their possessions are not coveted like the rich. Everyone is alike so they are likely to get along  A state is fortunate if it has a larger middle class  In more democratic kinds of constitutions, freedom is valued  In oligarchic, wealth is valued  Aristotle’s aim is to moderate  Synthesizing to moderate values: combine legislation of both constitutions… democracies pay people to participate, oligarchies fine people who do not.  In democracies, there are no qualifications for eligibility, in oligarchies there are requirements  Democracies assign people to office by lot with no assessment, oligarchies assign people by election  Aristotle treats the principle of rule differently than Plato. Plato argued that if we could find and train philosophers, they could rule. Aristotle looks at the limit of political power and looks at balance  What makes constitutions mixed are things are partitioned off  The polity assigns power to different social groupings  This idea is most free of factions, and is more stable  He argues that constitutions based on democratic or oligarchic only will not last  In practical terms, it is good to simplify and moderate  What makes existing states more just (in distribution) will make them more stable  In general, take existing constitutions and they can be moderated by bringing in elements from the others  He complicated this picture with more nuianced understanding of different groups  Puts a great deal of weight on property laws and education  To make it last, moderate and virtuous, people must be educated in a way that suits their constitution (for Plato, accessing the highest truth and one system of education)  Freedom is a prime value and principle that informs democracy so therefore education should inform people about the correct definition of freedom (isn’t just doing what you want)  Merit is a prime value and principle in Oligarchy so therefore education should inform people about correct definition (merit isn’t simply just wealth)  Talks about virtue and purpose of polis as pursuit of the good life, the ethics of man  The happy man will have bodily health, external goods (property), and goods of the soul  All types of these goods are necessary for human happiness  In agreement with Plato that goodness and happiness coincide and happiness depends on the state of the soul  As with individual, happiness is the good or purpose of the state  State requires moral and intellectual good  Difference between Plato and Aristotle is how the state should go about achieving this goal  Argues that life of contemplation, pursuit of wisdom and theoretical truths is closest to divine and is a high human activity  Reiterates near the end of politics with division of souls (was discussed in last lecture)  For Aristotle, political rule plays good role in fulfillment of good life and also requires practical wisdom and ethical knowledge  In an ideal state, education and moral upbringing are geared towards this type of life for free citizens  He also discusses sovereign power but it is not the highest good in political life  Military pursuits are means to an end but are not an end to themselves  Highest happiness that people can achieve requires practical wisdom and required for a political statesman  Also emphasizes importance of leisure for a good life, not meaning to do nothing but is a specific kind of activity – highest kind, involves cultivating reason and intellectual virtues  Free citizens will grow up and rule in a community of equal peers  Ideal state, sounds democratic so far but he is not advocating democracy as it falls to an extreme  Size of polis… brings us back to self sufficiency. Has to be self sufficient but not too large on practical and moral grounds. On moral grounds there is a natural limit, after it becomes to large, it is a deformity. In practical terms, polis needs to be small enough for all citizens to know each other and their governors  Character of people: comes back to argument of mean between extremes. Between high spirit of Europeans and skills and intelligence of Asians  Also find, 2 class divide system laid out more clearly  In terms of free citizens, there are two groups and only one group are full citizens.  Ch 8, book 7. Most obvious exclusions are slaves.  Ex. Whole group of free citizen, some can participate by an extent but some people have more leisure time  Breaking down participation levels based on distributable justice AUGUSTINE  Large jump between time from Augustine and Aristotle but also where good for man is, value of life etc. radical changes, different philosophical and political context (600 yr difference)  Often in these survey courses on political thought, this time period is skipped over  Modern thinkers came out of this medieval tradition dominated by Christian thinkers and this is what they were rejecting  Number of important political shifts: -Rise and fall of Greek empire (Alexander the Great… dies 323BC) th -Rise and fall of Roman empire (lasts til 4 c A.D.) -Decentralization of economic and political throughout Europe. Power is consolidated into the church -Was new schools of though about changing social, economical and political conditions -People were previously ruled by distant empires, not local communities -Took on connotations of tranquility and acceptance, rather than human excellence -Was no longer possible for direct political engagement -When Aristotle was writing, the polis as dominant form of political organization was disappearing -As it declined, so did its moral significance -Eventually goal of active and engaged citizens was no longer important -Philosophies became private, focus on inner meaning -Emergence and rise of Christianity as power, began as minor sect but it had become a dominant political power within the Roman empire -By 1 c. AD when apostle Paul was writing…? -Roman philosophies were impacted by Hellenistic or Greek philosophies and incorporated by later Roman thinkers -Keep in mind, early Christian philosophies turn away from worldly concerns to the afterlife -Idea that faithful are pilgrims, important goal and end is the kingdom of heaven -In early days, this was taken quite literally and people renounced their worldly possessions -State was sinful
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