Aristotle - BOOKS VII & VIII

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Political Science
Clifford Orwin

Books VII and VIII THE IDEAL CITYBook VII is the counterpart in Aristotles work to Platos Republic a description of what it would be best to do if we had to found a new stateIn inquiry about the best form of state it is necessary to decide first which is the most eligible choiceworthy preferable life for individuals Aristotle summarises parts of his discussions outside the school dialogues presumably now lost concerning the best life A happy man must have external goods goods of the body eg health and goods of the soul virtue Some think that a very moderate amount of virtue is enough but set no limit to their desires of wealth property power reputation and the like 1323 a3540ie of external goods But experience shows that happiness is more often found with those who are most highly cultivated in their mind and in their character and have only a moderate share of external goods than among those who possess external goods to a useless extent but are deficient in higher qualities 1323 b15 Let us acknowledge then that each one has just so much of happiness as he has of virtue and wisdom and of virtuous and wise action 1323 b223 The best life both for individuals and states is the life of virtue when virtue has external goods enough for the performance of good actions 1323 b40 Compare NE book I chs 5 7 and 8 some extracts in Readings pp 978 cf Politics VII13Now it is evident that the form of government is best in which every man whoever he is can act best and live happily 1324 a235 It is irrational to design a city for military power to rule tyrannically over its neighbours 1324 b1 cf 1333 a351334 a10 Compare Plato Laws 625 Warlike pursuits are not the supreme end of all things but only means And the good lawgiver should inquire how states and races of men and communities may participate in a good life and in the happiness which is attainable by them 1325 a510 The happy life is one
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