1. What should a just political community look like? What, if anything, is required to achieve
that sort of community?
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.
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?
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 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?
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