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Lecture

Aristotle states that.docx

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Department
Political Science
Course
POLS 2900
Professor
Adam Hilton
Semester
Fall

Description
Aristotle states that “the politician and lawgiver is wholly occupied with the city-state, and the constitution is a certain way of organizing those who inhabit the city-state. He begins with a definition of the citizen, since the city-state is by nature a collective entity, a multitude of citizens. After further analysis he defines the citizen as a person who has the right to participate in deliberative or judicial office. In Athens, for example, citizens had the right to attend the assembly, the council, and other bodies, or to sit on juries. Full citizenship tended to be restricted in the Greek city-states (with women, slaves, foreigners, and some others excluded); the citizens were more deeply enfranchised, because they were more directly involved in governing. This is reflected in Aristotle's definition of the citizen (without qualification). Further, he defines the city-state (in the unqualified sense) as a multitude of such citizens which is adequate for a self-sufficient life. Aristotle defines the constitution as a way of organizing the offices of the city-state, particularly the sovereign office. The constitution thus defines the governing body, which takes different forms. He then adds that “the common advantage also brings them together insofar as they each attain the noble life. This is above all the end for all both in common and separately”. Second, Aristotle distinguishes several types of rule, based on the nature of the soul of the ruler and of the subject. He first considers despotic rule, which is exemplified in the master-slave relationship. He next considers paternal and marital rule, which he also views as defensible: “the male is by nature more capable of leadership than the female, unless he is constituted in some way contrary to nature, and the elder and perfect [is by nature more capable of leadership] than the younger and imperfect”. He alleges (without substantiation) that, although women have a deliberative faculty, it is “without authority”, so that females require male supervise. It is noteworthy, however, that paternal and marital rule are properly practiced for the sake of the ruled. In this respect they resemble political rule, which is the form of rule appropriate when the ruler and the subject have equal and similar rational cacapacities. This is exemplified by naturally equal citizens who take turns at ruling for one another's advantage. This sets the stage for the fundamental claim of Aristotle's constitutional theory: “constitutions which aim at the common advantage are correct and just without qualification, whereas those which aim only at the advantage of the rulers are deviant and unjust, because they involve despotic rule which is inappropriate for a community of free persons”. The distinction between correct and deviant constitutions is combined with the observation that the government may consist of one person, a few, or a multitude: Correct Deviant One Ruler Kingship Tyranny Few Rulers Aristocracy Oligarchy Many Rulers Polity Democracy This six-fold classification sets the stage for Aristotle's inquiry into the best constitution. For example, he obse
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