Aristotle's 'Politics': A Reader's Guide (Reader's Guides) by Judith A. Swanson

By Judith A. Swanson

Within the Politics, Aristotle units out to find what's the top shape that the kingdom can take. just like his mentor Plato, Aristotle considers the shape that might produce justice and domesticate the top human power; even though Aristotle takes a extra empirical procedure, reading the structure of present states and drawing on particular case-studies. In doing so he lays the rules of recent political technological know-how.

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Additional info for Aristotle's 'Politics': A Reader's Guide (Reader's Guides)

Sample text

The first requires knowledge about the cultivation of crops and the care of animals, the second knowledge about transporting and selling cargo, money-lending and wage labour – the last done by artisans and physical labourers. But chapter 11 introduces a third art of acquisition or business expertise and says that it falls in between agriculture and commerce on the spectrum of naturalness: namely, harvesting things from the earth, chiefly lumbering and mining. Likewise the practical knowledge involved is partly similar to that needed in agriculture and partly to that needed in commerce.

Rather, by revealing nature’s ends, he charges human freedom with responsibility to those ends. We bear responsibility for the character of cities, and nature obliges us to make them good, just and self-sufficient by making us political or judgemental creatures. To state differently, Aristotle suggests both possibility and limitation. Human perceptions of good and bad and just and unjust yield innovations of varying duration, indicative of their suitability to the human condition; we discover that we cannot live any way we like.

Better Aristotle says for possessions to be held privately and voluntarily shared, which happens spontaneously among friends. Everyone still benefits and moreover things will be well cared for; as happens in Sparta, where everyone borrows each other’s slaves, horses and dogs and takes what they need from nearby fields when they travel. Nonetheless, Aristotle adds, it’s the responsibility of legislators and rulers to cultivate citizens who are well-disposed to one another and thus inclined to share.

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