Could the United States be described as a fairly close approximation to a polity throughout its history or during any particular period? Dealing with these two problems though involves an elaborate, interconnected treatment of more specific issues such as knowledge and education, human nature, and the organization of states. What do you think'? His father was a physician and served the grandfather of Alexander the Great. He is most concerned with laying out what should be done under the most favorable conditions applicable to a situation, as a way of establishing a norm to he striven for. 2) Plato's account of the origin of various types of government should be taken as a reasoned projection of degeneration, for which there might well be some historical support. Plato finally thought that in an ordinary state or polis virtue cannot be attained. The net result of all this is a state without freedom or equality for its people. Courage resides with the auxiliaries who, with spirit and determination, carry out the directives of the rulers and protect the state. Plato and Aristotle, two of the most influential philosophers of Ancient Greece, laid the foundation for what we now know as Western philosophy. He has, however, much greater confidence in the collective judgment of a large number of average persons―which provides the justification for the compromise that constitutes a polity. . For example, the worst form of democracy occurs when the people place themselves above the law and change the laws at will in popular assemblies. Do you agree with him? “If there were, then surely there could never have been any coming to be of this” (Metaphysics p. 291). He believes that the goal of a philosopher is to come to know and understand these forms. According to Plato “virtue is a kind of mental health or beauty or fitness and vice a kind of illness or deformity or weakness .He treated virtue in this light. A well-functioning society requires superior persons in the superior positions; or, put differently, it requires persons contributing according to their talents and interests. Wisdom resides with the rulers, who use their knowledge to prudently direct the affairs of the state. Moreover, as we were saying before, he grows worse from having power: he becomes and is of necessity more jealous, more faithless, more unjust, more friendless, more impious, than he was at first; he is the purveyor and cherisher of every sort of vice, and the consequence is that he is supremely miserable, and that he makes everybody else as miserable as himself. Finally, Aristotle notes some further practical difficulties, namely, that it would be very hard to keep secret transfers of children to the class of productive workers and that hereditary resemblances would allow some persons to identify close relatives. Then perhaps he may recall some of the banished virtues and cease to give himself up entirely to the passions which ousted them; and now he will set all his pleasures on a footing of equality, denying to none its equal rights and maintenance, and allowing each in turn, as it presents itself, to succeed, as if by the chance of the lot, to the government of his soul until it is satisfied. Aristotle tells us that “a thing comes to be from its privation, or from its subject which we call the matter” (Metaphysics p. 289). (Aristotle's critique can be found in the Politics, Bk. In contemporary society, they might grant that no one is naturally suited to be a slave. The life of the common people ultimately became miserable. Explaining Aristotle’s stand in this regard John Morrow observes “polis is natural and man is by nature a political animal. Antagonism only arises when the state is organized to serve private interests rather than the common interest. Of the perverted forms, tyranny is the worst, and democracy the most tolerable. Although democracy falls far short of the ideal state, we should remember that timocracy and oligarchy are not much better and tyranny is worse. Philosophical Issues: Individuals and Society. Just as Plato attributes three agencies of action to an individual's psyche that are then associated with four virtues, he attributes three classes to an ideal state, also associated with four virtues. However, Aristotle’s consideration of being lead him to disagree with Plato on the relationship between form and matter. Therefore morality, virtue and justice are the terms he treated with same importance. Since average persons lack the wisdom and virtue of a truly aristocratic person, comparatively speaking, Aristotle has much less confidence in the judgment of the average person; accordingly, he wants to reserve the highest political offices for superior persons. For the most part, Aristotle sees his task as a practical matter of determining what form of government suits particular sets of circumstances and of specifying how existing governments may better achieve the goals of justice and service to the common interest. At first glance, it is not apparent that Plato and Aristotle’s arguments are not truly contradictory, especially when Aristotle so readily and openly denounces Plato’s theory. Aristotle’s idea about the relationship between polis and virtue is quite fascinat­ing and in this respect he differs from his teacher Plato. A Possible Reply: Generally, Aristotle's political thought is not directed toward "a time of troubles." For example, unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as asserted in the Declaration of Independence, are notably absent. Plato, a piquant observer of various political incidents that took place around him, believed that they were full of corruption and devoid of virtue and morality. Relative to the ideal state, Plato regards all other types of government as seriously deficient. As a result of the program, according to Plato, the disunity and lack of concern for the common good engendered by the narrow allegiances and concerns of private family life would disappear. It was probably inevitable that Aristotle countered Platonic ideas in his writings, for philosophy, like all sciences, is the process of continually challenging previous beliefs in the search for knowledge. The association of justice with lawfulness may seem highly questionable to those who have witnessed the legal excesses of a state such as Nazi Germany. Is either position superior? In other words, it is not an actual table. It follows that the opposite of the tyrant, namely, the philosopher‑ruler is the most just and also the happiest person. It may even be advisable to retain a law with minor imperfections than to improve it at the expense of lessening people's obedience and respect. Finally, the tyrant, overcome by appetites and not directed by reason, is furthest removed from the knowledge of the Forms that constitute the truest and greatest pleasure attainable in life. At birth, children are immediately taken from their parents so they never know precisely who are their own children. It is clear however that they oppose any exaggerated sense of individualism likely to thwart the common purposes of society as a whole, because they think that a society organized to serve the common interest is necessary for individual self-realization. Like this or use the bottons below to share: Want to contribute, have a question or concern, or just want to reach out to Sensible Reason? Instead of being free to pursue their own interests and to be creative or innovative, individuals are sorted into classes where they are expected to perform according to the function of their particular class. The latter state, where none or little self‑control over the appetites is evident, is reserved for the tyrant. Naturally, Plato ardently felt that for the attainment of virtue and morality a new state was required. Their writings are still studied by philosophers today, and are still as fascinating and sometimes confusing as they were in Plato and Aristotle’s time. But Aristotle believed that politics or political science must pursue and preach virtue and morality because political science is the science of polis. In evaluating, you should answer questions such as the following: (1) Are these problems serious and widespread?


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