Aristotle Politics Concepts.docx

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Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLS 214
Professor
Lawrence Murphy

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Description
Aristotle Politics Concept Notes Four Causes Aristotle believed that everything whether it is a physical object or an intangible skill or deed had four causes that were necessary in order for a thing to be While Aristotle said causes it is perhaps better to say explanations In order to understand a thing you must understand all four of its causes The causes are an explanation of the necessary conditions in order for a thing to be Firstly there is the final cause the purpose or telos of a thing which guides the other causes Second there is the formal cause which gives the thing boundaries and limits where it ends and other things begin Thirdly there is the efficient cause which is the thing that brings change and causes something to occur Lastly there is the material cause which is essentially the matter which the thing is made up of Telos The telos or final cause is the last and most significant of Aristotles four causes A telos of an object is as Aristotle put it somethings end or somethings purpose goal or aim However that definition fits well when looking at mankind and the objects we create and not especially well in the natural world The final cause of something that is made is whatever purpose the artisan had in mind when he made it Now the final cause of natural objects such as a tree is whatever end a tree has most likely to be a tree not what purpose man has given it This is because the final cause of objects is always internal to them and exists without conscious reflection or thought Aristotle used the teleological model as a model for cause and affect which differed from the standard linear model of cause and effect To the linear model of cause and effect things in the past cause things in the present However to the teleological model of cause and effect the whole is the cause of the part regardless of chronological order For example the teleogical cause and effect of a frog is that the frog is the cause of the tadpole because the tadpole on its own will naturally become a frog Man is by nature a political animal Aristotle stated that the telos of mankind is to live in the city and participate in politics Human beings are by nature political and not merely social Social implies living together while political implies living together for the authoritative good or rather the good of society and the polis As Aristotle believes that the whole is prior to the part so he believes that the city is prior to the household and prior to each man individually Nature gave men voices so that they can be social like other animals that have voices and are social however men also have the power of speech and through speaking we can differentiate between good and bad and justice and injustice The best arena for speaking and debates about justice and by extension politics is the city and therefore through our living and participating in politics in a city is mankind fulfilling its telos Household The household is the step above man living alone in the wilderness A household is established because it is required in order for man to get the things we need in order to live Reproduction is needed for the household to come into being as well as continuing to exist therefore by extension a household requires at least a man and a woman Household life consists mainly of what Aristotle calls Mere life or daily needs which are practiced in the household Daily needs are the most animal like in nature and therefore are the least rational needs Life in the household is organized around the production and consumption of goods and basic life needs It is once mankind has mastered their household and mastered necessity can they turn to the more advance forms of life the polis
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