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Aristotle Notes - Complete

Political Science
Course Code
Janice Stein

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formed western thought of politics. Aristotle is considered a great influence in
the western political world, more than plato. The Politics was recovered in
the high middle ages. Unlike the republic a city which can only exist in thought
or speech, the politics deals with a real city. the politics is not a dialogue. The
author throughout speaks in his own voice. The entire politics, is in aristotles
own voice. Therefore it appears more straightforward and more easier to
read. Aristotles style is very compressed, its not always clear what a sentence
means, you have to think hard just to follow the argument. His own voice
contains many arguments, therefore not so diff. from plato. The politics had
lectures delivered at the lyceum platos school. He is the most outstanding
student of plato. 63/17. Its also the case his work reflect s disagreements with
plato. So far as politics is concerned their disagreements are more significant
than otherwise. Aristotle was a philosophic friend of platos;. many friendships
fall prey to disagreements but not in case of philosophers. The fact that they
disagree is no obstacle to their friendships, Because they are engaged in a
common activity to gain more knowledge. Their shared awareness of how
much they have yet to learn is what connects them in friendship. The politics is
less about answering questions. Obama, optimist for hopefulness. They are
conservative in their recognition of obstacles. Our focus will be democracy.
What politics means in greek?
those things having to do with the polis. There is no english word to translate
polis. We could translate it as community, or city but independence is indeed a
necessary aspect of the polis. Toronto is not a polis. Aristotle defines it as self
sufficient, more than independence. Aristotle begins by saying; The polis is an
association, which like every association aims at some good. What defines the
community is the good at which it aims. What distinguishes the polis from other
associations? It aims at the whole human good. Its the polis that includes all the other
associations, all others are subordinate to it, inside and part f a city, regulated by the
city. ch1. The polis aims higher and requires more of those who rule it. Ch2. The polis is
natural. It is the culmination of the process of natural growth, human beings grow
into the polis. by nature we a re members of communities, beginning from the family
and ascend up to the city. the first of human association is that of husband and wife
and the other is man and slave. The community of master and slave is different from
that of man and wife. The female is distinguished from the slave. Aristotle say of those

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who treat women as slaves, that their men were unfit to rule, therefore they were
themselves slaves. The 2 associations together established according to nature, from
these ]exist the village. Self sufficiency for the sake of mere life is important, it has to
be large enough to maintain its independence. It must be self sufficient with regard to
the good life. P.36 the notion of the player, (teleological meaning to the
understanding of telos the end of a goal.) one who approaches perfection.
This is popular teleological thinking. A good example of a thing in a good condition. Its
this way of thinking that justifies the city in natural. Realizing our potential in the
full sense. It fulfills human nature.
these other associations are natural and that it is their necessary culmination. It is
necessary for the good life for humans to realize their full potential. Why is man
the most political animal? Speech. From the Greek word. The important thing to
grasp is in addition to meaning, the sense of capacity of speech. it also means reason,
because of our capacity of understanding. Animals have voice but no speech. Those
sounds express pain and pleasure. Discussion is the crucial sign of reason. a man
learns only what is good for him when he understands through discussion,
reason and conversation. Its the ability of human to pose these questions that
other animals are not capable of. This is unique to humans. We come to know of
ourselves through these discussions/dialect.
Is then the city a discussion group? politics is partly about power. P37 sentence
12: partnership in the sense of perception. To be a full and loyal member of a
community is to subscribe to the goods and norms of the community that guides it. A
city has to discuss and decide authoritatively. This ambiguity suggests that disagreement
will prove more typical of it than agreement, everyone in the city will demand and
agree with justice. There will be a general agreement that justice is necessary. There is
a certain disagreement on what justice is. There fore a certain view of justice prevails
in the city. Aristotle is aware of the citys disagreement.
the priority of the city to the citizen:- in what sense is the city prior to the
citizen. Each of us has a role to fulfill in the city, a hand severed from the body is not
a hand in the full sense. It cannot fulfill its role apart from the body. Likewise an
individual severed from the city is less than a citizen. We are as humans naturally a
member of a community. The city is natural and there is something artificial about
the human being separated form the city.
study question:- what is Aristotles argument..positive or negative? For
hobbes and locke, the state of nature is bad so Aristotles argument is positive. But is his
argument his own? Only a city develops law and justice. The man who founds the city

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does so Because he enabled them to avert the greatest evil. This is Aristotles realism. The
city saves us from ourselves. Aristotle is very emphatic about the low side of politics.
Slavery:- nothing allows the practice of slavery to be justified. So whos going
to do the work? Technology. Machines will do the work. Aristotle talks of machines as
possessions of the gods, those would open the possibility of a world without slavery for
human beings.
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