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Political Science
Andy Lee

1. What should a just political community look like? What, if anything, is required to achieve that sort of community? Plato, Republic It is not a city for pigs where only necessities are provided for, but a luxurious city (kallipolis) that is completely happy. It consists of a hierarchical division of labour of 3 main classes – labourers or money-makers, auxiliaries, and guardians. To achieve justice in this community, relations between all classes must be right and each class must perform its own appropriated function. Likely the guardians must rule, auxiliaries must uphold rulers’ convictions, and labourers must exercise only their most naturally suited skill. Justice here is based on a principle of specialization – when each fulfills the societal role which nature fitted them into, and without interfering in another’s role. Also a just community must mirror a just man, as the 3 parts of his soul achieve the requisite relationships of the 3 classes in society – rational part will seek after truth and is responsible for our philosophical inclinations; spirited part will desire honor and is responsible for our feelings of anger and indignation; and appetitive part will lust after all sorts of things, especially money (since it must be used to fulfill all other base desires). So to make a just man, the rational part must rule, the spirited part must support this rule, and the appetitive part must submit and follow wherever reason leads. Everything is just when the entire soul aims to fulfill the desires of the rational part, much as in the just society the entire community aims at fulfilling whatever the rulers’ will. Aristotle, Republic Geographically, the city can’t be too populous but rather moderate in size to defend itself and to be self-sufficient so that it could be well-managed. The size of the territory must also be tailored to purpose of the regime; large enough so inhabitants may live at leisure and freedom with moderation. Labouring tasks should not be done by citizens as they are necessary in the government of the city, but rather by non-citizens (slaves, women, labourers). 2. Who (or what) should exercise power in a political community? Why not someone else? Plato, Republic Power should be exercised by only the best (aristoi) of the complete guardians in society because it is their natural duty to do so, and they are the most eager to pursue what’s advantageous to society while unwilling to do the opposite. These are philosopher-kings, whose minds are the only ones able to grasp the Forms of the intelligible world of changeless absolutes and beauties, especially the Form of the Good. They are also the only class of men to possess knowledge, and their souls, more than others, aim to fulfill the desires of the rational part, making them the most just of all. Only the philosopher should exercise power and others should accept his judgement because only he has experienced all the three types of pleasure –money-loving, honor-loving, and truth-loving, and because pleasures associated with the philosophical are most pleasant and thus that the just life is also most pleasant. Aristotle, Politics Aristotle examined regimes that existed in Greek world to draw conclusions about the merits and drawbacks of each. He distinguished them first according to the number of rulers – one, few, or many, then according to whether those ruling rule in their own interest or in the interest of all. If a regime sought the common advantage – monarchy, aristocracy, polity, it is a correct regime according to what is unqualifiedly just and because it displays a partnership of free persons. But if it sought the advantage of the rulers, it is a deviation from the correct. Although rare, but only those who are most virtuous should rule, as a city exists for the sake of developing virtue in the citizens. And they will rule best by establishing laws that lead others to virtue. Thus the law should rule, because it’s like asking God and intellect to rule, while if man should, man will add beastly characteristics to it. 3. Why do constitutions of one form transform into another form (e.g., oligarchy → democracy)? Are there any ways to stop a constitution from changing into another form? Aristotle, Politics Constitutions transform when revolutions occur with the reasons for the lesser in society to engage in factional conflict in order to be equal, and the equal to engage the same in order to be greater. It is prompted by inequality, profit and honor, arrogance, fear, and disproportionate increase i
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