A discussion on aristotles characterization of man as a political animal

The person who has it neither flees from the enemy nor engages in a suicidal and pointless attack but faces the enemy bravely and attacks in the right way. The first criterion that is used to distinguish among different kinds of regimes is the number of those ruling: Desire is a thing of this sort; and spiritedness perverts rulers and the best men.

This topic, the alternation of rule in cities where the citizens are free and equal, is an important part of Aristotle's thought, and we will return to it later.

Aristotle: Politics

There would be another drawback to creating a city in which everything is held in common. Ethics is primarily about the actions of human beings as individuals, and politics is about the actions of human beings in communities, although it is important to remember that for Aristotle the two are closely linked and each influences the other.

In the course of discussing the various ways of life open to human beings, Aristotle notes that "If, then, nature makes nothing that is incomplete or purposeless, nature must necessarily have made all of these [i.

Machiavelli was an experienced diplomat and administrator, and, since he stated flatly how the power struggle was conducted in Renaissance Italy, he won a shocking reputation.

I would venture a guess that to him that meant that man fights for survival of the fittest in the political realm. Unfortunately, Aristotle himself A discussion on aristotles characterization of man as a political animal too caught up in the prejudices of his own time to recognize that his argument refutes itself.

Current state[ edit ] Today, interest in literary theory and continental philosophy coexists in university literature departments with a more conservative literary criticism of which the New Critics would probably have approved.

When a single person rules, a constitution is a monarchy if the ruler is good and a tyranny if the ruler is bad. Clearly, Aristotle had significant firsthand experience with politics, though scholars disagree about how much influence, if any, this experience had on Aristotle's thought.

In the latter respect it broadly reflects the views of the historical Socrates, whose criticisms of the democracy of Athens may have played a role in his trial and execution for impiety and other crimes in The former inspired a rather grim self-sufficiency and sense of duty, as exemplified by the writings of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius ; the latter, a prudent withdrawal from the world of affairs.

It is, however, important to consider polity in some detail, and this is the kind of regime to which Aristotle next turns his attention. Humans need structure and guidelines; means to make our lives healthy and prosperous.

However, this seemingly cannot be reconciled with the important role which Aristotle also assigns to the lawgiver as the one who established the city-state. Many later critics, though undoubtedly still influenced by theoretical work, have been comfortable simply interpreting literature rather than writing explicitly about methodology and philosophical presumptions.

We will also discuss how Jean-Jacques Rousseau developed the notion of participatory democracy, the egalitarian view that constituents should be directly involved in the direction and operation of political systems. He made the pedestrian good sense of Locke seem provincial, though he admired him and the British constitution.

For many if not most people in such societies, the pursuit of wealth without limit is seen as not only acceptable but even admirable.

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It is on account of expertise in business that "there is held to be no limit to wealth and possessions" a1. Second, in Chapter Six, Aristotle points out that not everyone currently held in slavery is in fact a slave by nature. Having seen Aristotle's definition of the city and its purpose, we then get an example of Aristotle's usual method of discussing political topics.

Hobbes sees and desires no other equality. In the Physics nature is understood as an internal principle of motion or rest see III. For example, a democracy that is based on the farming element will be different than a democracy that is based on the element that is engaged in commerce, and similarly there are different kinds of oligarchies.

We cannot look at people's souls and distinguish those who are meant to rule from those who are meant to be ruled - and this will also cause problems when Aristotle turns to the question of who has a just claim to rule in the city.

It is noteworthy that although Aristotle praises the politically active life, he spent most of his own life in Athens, where he was not a citizen and would not have been allowed to participate directly in politics although of course anyone who wrote as extensively and well about politics as Aristotle did was likely to be politically influential.

Augustine, is fundamental to Western concepts of liberty and the trusteeship of power. Spinoza, reacting against the ideological wars of religion and skeptical of both metaphysics and religious dogma, was a scientific humanist who justified political power solely by its usefulness.

In particular, the Rulers understand not only the good of the state but, necessarily, the Good itself, the result of years of rigorous training to prepare them for their leadership role.

In particular, Reason understands and desires the good of the individual the human good and the Good in general.

Literary criticism

But if Aristotle was lecturing from these writings, he could have taken care of these problems on the fly as he lectured, since presumably he knew what he meant, or he could have responded to requests for clarification or elaboration from his students.

While, therefore, Aristotle accepts a conservative and hierarchical social order, he states firmly that public power should aim at promoting the good life and that only through the rule of law and justice can the good life be attained.

In modern day politics too you can see evidence of how politics and government shape lives. The good citizen today is asked to follow the laws, pay taxes, and possibly serve on juries; these are all good things the good man or woman would do, so that the good citizen is seen as being more or less subsumed into the category of the good person.

This is what is called the city or the political partnership" a3 See also III. What is more, the economies of the Greek city-states rested on slavery, and without slaves and women to do the productive labor, there could be no leisure for men to engage in more intellectual lifestyles.Political analyst Matt Dowd defends accusers in sexual assault cases on Sunday.

Aristotle's Political Theory

ABC News chief political analyst Matt Dowd argued that the presumption of innocence is an important principle but. Frede, Dorothea, “The Political Character of Aristotle's Ethics,” in Marguerite Deslauriers and Pierre Destrée (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle's Politics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,pp.

14– In his Politics, Aristotle believed man was a "political animal" because he is a social creature with the power of speech and moral reasoning: Hence it is evident that the state is a creation of nature, and that man is by nature a political animal.

(For discussion of nature see Aristotle's Physics.) If the city-state were natural in this sense, it would resemble a plant or an animal which grows naturally to maturity out of a seed.

Plato and Aristotle: How Do They Differ?

If the city-state were natural in this sense, it would resemble a plant or an animal which grows naturally to. "Man is by nature a political animal," because he alone among the animals has the ability to communicate his ideas about justice and the good.

The city is prior to the individual in importance because the individual apart from the city is not self-sufficient. Man is a political animal (Meaning of Aristotle quote) share The man is a political animal is a phrase often heard in public debates, without quoting the source of this fundamental position of political philosophy.

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A discussion on aristotles characterization of man as a political animal
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