Politics by Aristotle. Published by MobileReference (mobi).
Politics by Aristotle. Published by MobileReference (mobi).

 
List Price: $0.99

Our Price: $0.99

You Save:

 


Product Description

This is an electronic edition of the complete book complemented by author biography. This book features the table of contents linked to every book and chapter. The book was designed for optimal navigation on the Kindle, PDA, Smartphone, and other electronic readers. It is formatted to display on all electronic devices including the Kindle, Smartphones and other Mobile Devices with a small display.

******************

Aristotle's Politics is a work of political philosophy. The end of the Nicomachean Ethics declared that the inquiry into ethics necessarily follows into politics, and the two works are frequently considered to be parts of a larger treatise dealing with the "philosophy of human affairs." The title of the Politics literally means "the things concerning the polis."

- Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

More e-Books from MobileReference - Best Books. Best Price. Best Search and Navigation (TM)

All fiction books are only $0.99. All collections are only $5.99
Designed for optimal navigation on Kindle and other electronic devices

Search for any title: enter mobi (shortened MobileReference) and a keyword; for example: mobi Shakespeare
To view all books, click on the MobileReference link next to a book title

Literary Classics: Over 10,000 complete works by Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, Dickens, Tolstoy, and other authors. All books feature hyperlinked table of contents, footnotes, and author biography. Books are also available as collections, organized by an author. Collections simplify book access through categorical, alphabetical, and chronological indexes. They offer lower price, convenience of one-time download, and reduce clutter of titles in your digital library.

Religion: The Illustrated King James Bible, American Standard Bible, World English Bible (Modern Translation), Mormon Church's Sacred Texts

Philosophy: Rousseau, Spinoza, Plato, Aristotle, Marx, Engels

Travel Guides and Phrasebooks for All Major Cities: New York, Paris, London, Rome, Venice, Prague, Beijing, Greece

Medical Study Guides: Anatomy and Physiology, Pharmacology, Abbreviations and Terminology, Human Nervous System, Biochemistry

College Study Guides: FREE Weight and Measures, Physics, Math, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Statistics, Languages, Philosophy, Psychology, Mythology

History: Art History, American Presidents, U.S. History, Encyclopedias of Roman Empire, Ancient Egypt

Health: Acupressure Guide, First Aid Guide, Art of Love, Cookbook, Cocktails, Astrology

Reference: The World's Biggest Mobile Encyclopedia; CIA World Factbook, Illustrated Encyclopedias of Birds, Mammals

Customer Reviews:

  • Aristole's Politics is relevant and still applicable today
    ~The Politics (Penguin Classics)~ is a groundbreaking classic of Hellenistic political thought from the rational philosopher Aristotle. "Man is by nature a political animal," avows Aristotle. First, it is important to note that this is not an authoritarian ruler's blackbook on the art of governing. Aristotle is not Machiavelli. Second, many people when first approaching Aristotle naively presume that he is mirror-image protege of Plato, which could not be further from the truth. Aristotle's references to his teacher Plato are laced with a cynical tone of irreverence. Plato was an idealist and Aristotle was a profound realist. I think it is a pointless endeavor to pick favorites from among them since rationalism and idealism both have their limitations. Some political theorists split hairs over whether Aristotle or Plato is a "conservative," which is hardly ascertainable. This is reductionism at its worst. In Hellenic antiquity, there was no delineation between the state and civil society, which should horrify the modern conservative. So, perhaps the conservative should content himself to be well read in both Aristotle and Plato rather than simply seeking to emulate one of them. Aristotle had a profound influence on the rise of medieval scholasticism and profoundly shaped the thought of Catholic theologians like Thomas Aquinas. Perhaps one of his big accomplishments is giving the realist camp intellectual ammunition to buoy their position.

    Politics is still relevant today I think and one can learn a lot from Aristotle. It should be noted that Greek political thought and their concept of the polity (body politic) is profoundly dissimilar from post-medieval political thought in the West. Yet Aristotle's Politics is still relevant today in my opinion. I think one of the most profound things to be gleaned from Politics is a healthy dose of realism as opposed to the naive Wilsonian idealism that our leaders apply to foreign policy. Aristotle realized there are no canned quick-fix universal solutions to subordinate everything to. Also, Aristotle elaborated upon the various ascertainable political systems in their good and bad forms respectively (i.e. monarchy, tyranny; aristocracy, oligarchy; polity, democracy; etc.) Moreover, the practical approach to governance varies depends on any number of factors such as the nature of the polity, culture and society. Hence, modern efforts to impose "democracy" and/or "democratic capitalism" as if these are tangible commodities for export abroad usually are usually met with failures, or unexpected and less than desired for results. In recent years, nations like Russia acclimated to authoritarian rule never had much success at implementing it. The closest thing to "democracy" in the Islamic world, for example, would be Ayatollah Khomeini's populist fundamentalist regime in Iran that emerged in the late 1970s. Is that what the West really wants for the Muslim world?...more info
  • The father of medieval thinking
    Aristotle was in fact a Macedonian by birth and had as one of his utmost desires to be accepted in Athens as a full-fledged citizen, something he never attained. To be or not a citizen at those times, was the determinant factor in the importance each one attained in the social structure. One has to keep in mind that all the political concepts that we inherited from the Greeks, got a different perspective at those times, where slavery was normally accepted and practised against the non-Greeks human beings. Aristotle was a disciple of Plato, whom he quotes many times in a derogatory manner, and he lived in Athens many years after years of tutorship of Philip and his son Alexander of Macedonia, to whom he did not mention a word of praise or reprimand in this book. What amazed most after reading this excelent book is the maturity the institutions had attained at his times, and the degree of accuracy and detail to which he devotes many chapters analysing the constitutions of many Greek states, Sparta included. One word of caution has to be addresed to the student of poltics: this is not a book about statecraft or the arts of governing people at 350 BC. All in all, the text seems to lose some strenght due to the impossibity of translating so rich a text and by the lack of precise terms for each and every situation there described. But, in the end, the reader will get a glimpse of this very important period of western civilazation, specially if one has in mind that the heyday of Greece was gone and what lays ahead was the supremacy of Rome as world militar empire. To add interest to the reader, one has to keep in mind that the powerfull influence the aristotelian thought had in the medieval thinking....more info
  • uninspiring and lacking focus
    I began my study of political philosophy with the best - namely Plato - so I suppose that when I began reading Aristotle's The Politics, I was optimistic. That optimism didn't last. I find that Aristotle takes many arguments for granted and ignores entirely others that would call into question some of his premises. Often while reading The Politics, I found his analysis entirely lackluster, and his criticisms of The Republic, Gorgias and Laws (all by Plato) flawed or at least overly simplistic. It's not that I'm incapable of appreciating the brand of philosophy Aristotle uses, after all I do consider myself more or less a realist. But rather I did find it lacking of vision and insight. Aristotle focuses on such parochial matters such as classifications of constitutions and mastery over slaves in the household versus statesmanship in the nation, that it never moved me or left me in deeply pensive state. Ultimately, if you want to be truly inspired - read Plato, not Aristotle....more info
  • Interesting yet Boring
    Some monumental observations considering the time it was written. But a very difficult read that requires concentration and will-power to finish.

    No-one has ever accused philosophy of being practical....more info

  • It's Aristotle...
    Aristotle was one of the greatest men that has lived on Earth, and his contributions are numerous, however, I found this book to drone on and on about the types of government...I had to put it down, because I was so bored. If it gets better later in the book, please let me know....more info
  • Politics Defined
    Perhaps it is not accidental that the work of the Aristotle, the student who explored so clearly and deeply all the externals and interactions of nature and Man, is recorded as tedious, repetitious, complex lecture notes while Plato the teacher who tried to find all the answers within the confines of his own head is recorded as lucid, lively dialogue. Aristotle the rube was evidently too busy observing, cataloging, teaching - living, to write it all down in an organized coherent whole while Plato the aristocrat was at first desperate to capture all he could remember then to expand upon the works of his revered master, Socrates, trying desperately to walk in his sandals. I think maybe with Aristotle there was just too much material, to much to know, and the thing he did best was know. So here is the country boy with that horrible Macedonian accent but regal connections come to study at the Academy, to learn from the very best, and in the end, the thought he produces far surpasses all that the best laid before him.

    How is the community of Man best organized? That is the concern of Aristotle's "Politics". Plato had more or less just conjured up an ideal "Republic" based on his interpretation of Socrates. But that was not enough for Aristotle. He traveled, he learned, he catalogued everything and human organization and systems of government were at the top of his list. And he did this traveling analysis at a unique time when all possible permutations of human social organization were up for a try, from the dynamic democracy of the tiny city-state to the decrepit tyranny of the Persian Empire. With this catalog, he could not just conjecture as to what government might work best but make solid statements of fact about the consequences of various human organizations and recommendations about what works best under what circumstance. And we live with the result of his systematic pursuit. As one reads (or re-reads) this the very foundation of Western political thought, images of Madison flipping pages of a well warn and well loved edition to find a particular passage as he pens drafts of the Constitution of the United States of America flash by time and again. The result of his obvious reference to Aristotle was a thriving republic that has grown and flourished providing freedom and the possibility of a good life for millions. What grew from Plato was the horror of the Soviet Union. But I have betrayed my prejudice. One must read both and in order, Plato first to discover the thoughts that inspired Aristotle's questions then Aristotle to find the answers.

    That said, I must reiterate, this book is exceptionally tedious, repetitious and complex (though not intellectually difficult). Thousands of people have made careers analyzing it and commenting on it. It is not for everybody but Mortimer Adler's "Aristotle for Everybody" is. That book is a brief, well written compendium, a distillate, of all we have of Aristotle. To go through a life and not read at least that is to miss some of the best thinking ever done by a human.
    ...more info
  • The irony of me calling Aristotle's work average is not lost on me.
    Yep, I feel way over my head giving Aristotle three stars, but I'm throwing in my two cents anyhow.

    This book is an incredible window into another time. Aristotle's views on a number of topics (women and slavery come quickly to mind) stand out so opposed to our beliefs today that it's almost worth reading this book just to get some perspective on how new some of the social ideas we take for granted really are. Getting that sense of perspective is truly the best part of this book.

    That said, there is little here beyond that for anyone but a student of philosophy or someone engaging in a very serious study of the history of government. Very little of what Aristotle says rings true today and at times it's as if he went to the future and decided to predict the exact opposite of what's come to pass.

    If you are a layperson looking for a classic on government, I recommend Plato's Republic. While it is even older than Aristotle's work, it is filled with insights that feel as if they must have been written in modern times. That is a truly inspiring feat of thought and foresight....more info
  • Essay, Aristotle's Proportional Equality
    Aristotle's Proportional Equality

    Aristotle does not believe in equality, but proportional equality. He believes that people are naturally different in their intelligence and moral qualities, that these qualities naturally give them differing arete (this word has been translated into:goodness, excellence, merit and virtue), and that they should naturally be given different political rights based on these arete. However, Aristotle does not have any viable methods for detecting the nature of people. Instead, he artificially locks rulers, citizens and slaves into three unequal classes based on wealth and birth, and he tries to appease the lower classes with deceptive schemes. From its very core, Aristotle's proportional equality is unfair and does not allow freedom.

    In Book Three, Aristotle establishes the theory that political equality does not mean everyone getting the same as everyone else. He believes that different groups of people in the city have equally valid claims to political rights based on differing criteria. To him, the different interest groups are, "The people at large, the wealthy, the better sort, the one who is best of all, the tyrant" (1281a11)

    In fact, Aristotle states that political equality for one of these groups will always be inequality for the other groups. He claims,

    "For example, justice is considered to mean equality. It does mean equality-but equality for those who are equal, and not for all. Again inequality is considered to be just; and indeed it is-but only for those who are unequal, and not for all." (1280a7)

    After rejecting the distribution of political rights according to the interests of various groups, Aristotle states that the right basis by which political rights should be conferred is the degree of arete one contributes to the city. Through this, proportional equality could be achieved. He writes,

    "Those who contribute most to this association have a greater share in the city than those who are equal to them (or even greater) in free birth and descent, but unequal in civic excellence (arete), or than those who surpass them in wealth but are surpassed by them in excellence (arete)." (1281a2)

    The rationale for this proportional equality based on arete is simple: the city "exists for the sake of a good life*" (1252b27), and the good life is only achieved with arete. Therefore, naturally those who have more arete should be given more political rights because they can best utilize the resources of the city to make life good for all. Aristotle establishes the full connection between good life of the city and arete in Book Seven.

    This connection can be summarized as the following: the city is for the best life possible, the best life is the life of happiness, happiness requires action, and action is the exercise of "arete". Aristotle first defines the good life as the life that aims at happiness. He says that the object of the city "is the best and highest life possible. The highest good is happiness..." (1328a26). Aristotle also proposes that "happiness is a state of activity; and the actions of just and temperate men bring many fine things to fulfillment." (1325a16) The purpose of activity or action, "praxis", however, is exactly to do or achieve "arete". Aristotle writes, happiness is realized by "the actualization and perfect practice (praxis) of goodness (arete)" (1328a26).

    The structure of the differing arete is as follows: Aristotle states that the rulers/statesmen have the arete of good man which allows them to rule, the citizens have the arete of good citizen that allows them to rule and be ruled, and the non-citizens/slaves have only enough arete that they are condemned to obedience.

    To Aristotle, the reason that people have different arete is that they naturally have different levels of intelligences and moral qualities. And since these qualities are what make a person and a city good, people are allotted proportionally equal but unequal political rights. On intelligence, he believes that some are just intrinsically better. For example, regarding slaves, he says,

    "...(and this is the case with all whose function is bodily service, and who produce their best when they supply such service)-all such are by nature slaves...... if he participates in reason to the extent of apprehending it in another, though destitute of it himself." (1254b16)

    On moral qualities, in Chapter One of Book Seven, Aristotle says that external goods are not as important as moral goods are for achieving happiness, however, only some are capable of achieving high morality. He says,

    "you can see for yourselves that the happy life-no matter whether it consists in pleasure, or goodness, or both-belongs more to those who have cultivated their character and mind to the uttermost..." (1323a21)

    In Chapter Two, he makes it clear that the statesmen and philosophers, in another word, the rulers are most fit for the cultivation of morality and intelligence, which combines to be their arete. And since the goodness of the state needs morality, those statesmen and philosophers should rule. He writes,

    "Here, we may say, are the two ways of life-the political and the philosophic-that are evidently chosen by those who have been most eager to win a reputation for goodness (arete), in our own and in previous ages...for whether individuals or cities are in question, wisdom must aim at the higher mark." (1324a19)

    Certainly, Aristotle is right in pointing out that there exist differences between people. For a state to operate well, the people who are more equipped for intellectual and moral tasks should have more political rights. And if there really are those who have no "deliberative elements" in their soul, then certainly those people should be under the command of a master if not a doctor. There is an identical interest between the good rulers and the ruled, which Aristotle rightly points out in Book One,

    "The part and the whole, like the body and the soul, have an identical interest; and the slave is a part of the master, in the sense of being a living but separate part of his body. There is thus a community of interest, and a relation of friendship, between master and slave, when both of them naturally merit the position in which they stand." (1255b4)

    From the above summarizations of Aristotle's positions, it is clear that Aristotle's whole theory of proportional equality is based his belief that some have better moral and intellectual capabilities. However, although these qualities are important, the test that Aristotle uses for determining them is not an equal educational system in which all could compete equally or some ingenious device for detecting people's IQ, rather, the test is about people's wealth and birth. These are not the right standards by which one's abilities could be judged upon, and thus Aristotle's theory fails.

    The importance of money and wealth is explicit in Aristotle's differentiation of the citizens from the non-citizens/slaves (the mechanics and laborers' works have a "servile character" [1277a29] ), and less explicit in his differentiation between the citizens and the rulers/statesmen. The first differentiation is as follows,

    "There are thus good grounds for the claims to honor which are made by people of good descent, free birth, or wealth, since those who hold office must necessarily be free men and pay the property assessment. (A city could not be composed entirely of those without means, ay more than it could be composed entirely of slaves.) But we must add that if wealth and free birth are necessary elements, the qualities of being just and being a good soldier are also necessary......The one difference is that the first two elements are necessary for the simple existence of a city, and the last two for its good life." (1283a3)

    It is easy to look at the second part of this passage and be left with the impression that Aristotle is saying that money does not matter and that been just is the most important quality according to which one should be judged by. But the first part of this passage is far more important; it shows that Aristotle is building a city for the better off. As shown later in the book, Aristotle does not even consider the majority of the city citizens of the city. He says, "the conclusion which clearly follows is that we cannot regard the elements which are necessary for the existence of the city......as being `parts' of the city..." (1328a21). While the wealthier people must strive for intelligence and morality, try to be just and exercise their sacred political rights, the poor people are forgotten and are not even given the chance in the good constitution that Aristotle talks about.

    Although it is obvious that wealth and birth are not "natural" qualities that define people, Aristotle still insists throughout the book that the non-citizens/slaves are naturally inferior. Aristotle believes they have no arete other than those that allow them to be subservient to others. In Book One, he says about the slaves,

    "...in treating of slaves, that they were useful for the necessary purposes of life. It is clear, on that basis, that they need but little goodness (arete); only so much, in fact, as will prevent them from falling short of their duties through intemperance or cowardice." (1260a24)

    This idea of "naturalness" is easily disprove by the fact that Aristotle later says that what really makes the non-citizens/slaves, the mechanics and laborers, naturally bad is that they have no time for arete and the cultivation of their souls. He argues,

    "The best form of city will not make the mechanic a citizen. Where mechanics are admitted to citizenship we shall have to say that the citizen excellence (arete) of which we have spoken cannot be attained by every citizen, by all who are simply free men, but can only be achieved by those who are free from the necessary tasks of life." (1278a8)

    This argument is nonsensical. All along, Aristotle has been saying that those who should receive no political powers are borne lacking the qualities that contribute to their arete. But here, by saying that citizens who do no hard-labor are better than mechanics and laborers simply because they have more time, Aristotle is indicating that the lower class lacks arete because of their lack of education, which is a social, not natural result. This is a gross contradiction.

    The second differentiation between that of citizens and ruler/statesmen is trickier. Aristotle superficially says that the two are equal, but subtly there is difference.

    The arete of the good citizens is to both be ruled and to rule. Aristotle writes,

    "...the fact remains that the good citizen must possess the knowledge and the capacity requisite for ruling as well as for being ruled, and the excellence (arete) of a citizen may be defined as consisting in `a knowledge of rule over free men from both points of view'"(1277b7)

    Aristotle frequently mentions this view that the ruler/statesman and the citizens are political equals and should rotate positions. He says in Book One that "the rule of a statesman is rule over free and equal persons." (1255b20) He also says in Book Three when he tries to define citizenship that, "the citizen in this strict sense is best defined by the one criterion that he shares in the administration of justice and in the holding of office." (1275a19)

    However, hypocrisy emerges when he defines the arete of ruler/statesmen, who are the only good men. Contrary to before, he differentiates between rulers and the citizens, and makes one class higher than the other. Aristotle says "practical wisdom is the only form of excellence (arete) which is peculiar to the ruler... the virtue (arete) of a person being ruled is not practical wisdom but correct opinion." (1277b16)

    This is strange. If "practical wisdom" is what distinguishes the ruler from the ruled, then, when the ruler becomes a citizen again, is he suppose to loss his "wisdom" and become someone who only has "opinion"? And if the citizens are suppose to have "a knowledge of rule from both points of view" as mentioned above, why is Aristotle saying here that they are only capable of "opinions", which is far inferior to knowledge.

    Aristotle seems to be trying to fool most of the citizens into believing that they have equal rights as those who are ruling, while disenfranchising their rights at the same time. Aristotle does not explicitly say that wealth and birth would decide who should rule, but it follows from the arguments before regarding free time that they must. While many people could qualify as citizens if they are moderately well off (1279a25, in polity, the property requirement for citizenship is only arms), and could hence afford some leisure to cultivate their arete, but those most wealthy people who could spend all of their time for the cultivation of their soul must be the ones with the best qualities to rule.

    To be sure, this hypocrisy in another form is apparent right from the First Book in Aristotle's discussion regarding woman. Although he calls the relationship between husband and wife the relationship of statesmen and citizens, he in fact subjugates women to man. He writes,

    "In most cases where rule of the statesman's sort is exercised there is an interchange of ruling and being ruled: the members of a political association aim by their very nature at being equal and differing in nothing...the relation of the male to the female is permanently that in which the statesman stand to his fellow citizens." (1259a37)

    Aristotle is offering a grand contradiction within the space of a paragraph. He defines the relationship between masters and citizens as equal just before he says that one is "permanently" subjugated to the other, and yet, he still maintains that this relationship is indeed equal.

    To be certain, Aristotle is right in that even today, those who are of good birth and wealth are more likely to be suitable for higher social positions than those who are from lower social-economic backgrounds. And when one looks at the current President of the USA, one could trace his family's wealth and fame three generations back. However, these people who are borne in families of higher social status are only what they are because of the good family influence and the good education they had.

    The President went to the best of boarding schools, of universities and of businesses schools and his father was everything from the head of the USA to the head of the CIA; how is it fair to compare him to the Hispanic dish-washer whose parents worked illegally in that restaurant off the high-way, and who despite all eagerness to learn had to stay home to take care of his five younger siblings when he should have gong to highschool?

    Aristotle is right in saying that people should achieve what their nature allows them to achieve, but he does not allow people's true nature to come into being. If slaves are given as much opportunity to study and work, then some of them surely will become philosophers, poets and other politicians. A city that allows that would be the city that is capable of achieving the best life possible for everyone.

    Aristotle was intelligent, but he lacked the humility to realize that he did not know everything about human nature. There is nothing wrong with proportional equality, because the better should have, and have always had more power in states, but the key is how to find those good people who could contribute more to the arete of the society. Aristotle pointed out some of the right qualities that they need, but he wrote the Politics from the vantage point of the higher class, and classified people not according to their true abilities, but according to their social and economic conditions. In order to appease the lower social classes, he deceived them by giving them the rights of citizenship or by simply telling them that they are intrinsically incapable. And even for those who were citizens, he still tricks them into believing that they have more political rights they than really do. In this world, there is certainly no equality, not even traces of proportional equality, but most importantly, there is no freedom. There simply can be no freedom when people are locked into castes and can not realize their full potentials. ...more info
  • A Must Know For All Who Desire To Vote!
    Aristotle's constitutional theory is the most important aspect of this book. Every high school world history should become familiar with the 6 forms of government that Aristotle identifies, and every college poli-sci student should commit Aristotle's analysis into their core knowledge.

    Of course Aristotle lived in a time when social norms were different. Much of what he writes applies to a different age, but the constitutional theory of government remains a timeless set of observations -- especially important in our times....more info
  • If You Don't Want To Live In A State, You Are Either A God Or A Beast
    I read this book for a graduate seminar on Aristotle. Politics is one of Aristotle's most prescient works that had a profound impact on our Founding fathers.

    Nicomachean Ethics (EN) is part of political knowledge. Politics regulates when virtue does not. Laws are created for people who are not virtuous. Polis= "city or state." Humans live in society, so virtue ethics is not just for individual living, community is a shared project for the good. Aristotle starts with his method, a phenomenological attitude. He starts with pairs, male and female, builds up to ruler and subject, master and slave as a natural relationship, the 1st social community thus is the household. Household is an economic relationship and has monarchy of patriarch. Villages are a collection of households with a king. Then you have a Polis, a fulfilled complete community formed from several villages. Self-sufficiency is the mark of a Polis. An organized social relationship is Polis and a reason is being able to take care of needs of life and promote living well. Only in a Polis can you have art, philosophy, etc. All these are actualized in a Polis. Politics is natural to human life. We are meant to be social. According to Aristotle, "If you don't want to live in a state you are either a God or a beast."

    Logos= "rationality or language" is what helps us to be political animals. Rational language expands capacity in human life. Since Aristotle thinks the Polis has a telos or an end then the Polis as potential comes even before the household. This is similar to the acorn having the telos to become a mighty oak tree. Politics completes the human condition for Aristotle. Need a Polis to develop other human capacities.

    Aristotle's hierarchy. Slaves are a living tool for Aristotle. Aristotle argues that some people are meant to be slaves right from birth. "Born to be ruled." Slavish person does not have enough rationality to rule themselves. Aristotle says not every form of actual enslavement is justified according to him. He justifies the human use of animals as a natural act.

    Aristotle now wants to find what kind of government is best. In a Polis citizens have things in common. Aristotle criticizes Plato's Republic, he finds it to be overly controlling. Socrates says the soul has 3 aspects and so does the Polis. The Soul has:

    1. Reason
    2. Passion
    3. Appetite
    The Polis has:
    1. Philosopher King.
    2. Guardians, (military).
    3. Commoners.

    Both are a hierarchal ordering. Socrates and Plato talk about the state holding all property in common. This includes the state raising children after birth instead of the parents, thus there will be no family clans trying to better themselves over their neighbors. Aristotle criticizes this idea. Aristotle says a Polis is a plurality of people thus people are not all the same and a Polis must accommodate differences in people, which actually makes a Polis better. Aristotle criticizes Socrates and Plato's idea of a Polis needing to have "unity" of people. This is a contrast to the Polis of Sparta. Aristotle says the best way to integrate citizens to the Polis is to allow them taking turns in ruling it. Aristotle believes that holding property or rearing of children in common as in the Republic is wrong no one really loves children like their own and communal property never gets really taken care of. Love is diminished the less nuclear family we are.
    Aristotle says you need a mix of private and public property. Thus, the best kind of Polis is a combination of a governing element. Aristotle affirms a constitutional democracy or Polity. A citizen participates in government by definition for Aristotle.

    Comparison of virtue and the good citizen. Excellence of virtuous man not the same as a good citizen. There will be few virtuous men, but good citizens just have to follow the law. Aristotle says good political virtue and good moral virtue don't have to go together. "Living finely then most of all is the goal of the city."

    Aristotle classifies 3 types of government which occur naturally in nature and 3 types of deteriorations of those governments, they are:

    1. "Monarchy," rule by one man a king, this is a top down rule. The deterioration is a "Tyranny," who is a ruler who rules for his own benefit.
    2. "Aristocracy," rule by the best few men in the Polis, also this is a top down rule. The deterioration is an "oligarchy,' which he defines as rule of the rich who want to perpetuate themselves.
    3. "Polity," All citizens participate in government with a constitution set above them to guide them instead of a king or aristocracy. The deterioration is a "democracy or what today we call mob rule or tyranny of the majority. He calls it rule of the poor.

    Aristotle does a good job of looking at states and how they can be corrupted. Aristotle's concept of political justice and what is the best concept. What does justice mean? Not necessarily equality for all. Not all people are equal. He implies sometimes it is unjust to treat people equally. Justice is not necessarily equality for all; sometimes it would be unjust to treat all people equally. Politics is rated high by Aristotle as a human good. Education is a central feature of political life for Aristotle. "But we must find the relevant respect of equality or inequality; for this question raises a puzzle that concerns political philosophy." First, because someone is unequal on hierarchy that means better than others like more virtuous. This is like "distributive justice" who gets what goods. Do you give the best flute to the best flute player which is based on merit or to the richest or best looking person? Aristotle says inequality should tip towards those who earn it on merit. His concept of equality and inequality is based on merit. Another philosopher coined a famous formula for this based on Relevant Respect:

    P= Person, Q= Quality, C= Context.
    It would be just to treat P1 + P2 equally or unequally if P1 + P2 are equal or unequal in Q (quality) relevant to C (content). This is a formula on how to treat people relevant to goods. This is context dependent. Allot of empirical work to be done before we use the formula.

    People who fight wars control politics in the Polis. The more people who have weapons in a civilian army is a guarantee that a small group of people will not take control of the government and democracy grows, like our 2nd amendment, this is a historical perspective of the idea that works.
    Democracy spreads power to citizens a bottom up structure. Expertise in relation to politics. Many professions we tend to defer to the experts for judgment, physicians, lawyers, etc. Plato's Republic does this with his advocacy of Philosopher king running government. Aristotle says the judgment of the many combined as acting as one is better then a monarch or a few wise men to run the government. In principle, pooling of multiple people to run Polis is good. Politics by nature is a communal effort so you should use all the people's expertise. Aristotle is against letting experts running the Polis they are not always the best of judges. The best judge of the function of a house is the owner, not the builder. In addition, Aristotle says there may not really be any such thing as a political expert, like a philosopher king. Aristotle advocates for a constitutional democracy a written set of laws to protect Polis from a tyranny of the majority. "Law is reason unaffected by desire." A government of laws not men. A living being as the last word is not good.

    Role of education in politics. Politics is coming together to foster human development and happiness for community, citizens, and improving human life like education. Aristotle says it should be public education.

    I recommend Aristotle's works to anyone interested in obtaining a classical education, and those interested in philosophy. Aristotle is one of the most important philosophers and the standard that all others must be judged by.

    ...more info
  • If You Don't Want To Live In A State, You Are Either A God Or A Beast
    I read this book for a graduate seminar on Aristotle. Politics is one of Aristotle's most prescient works that had a profound impact on our Founding fathers.

    Nicomachean Ethics (EN) is part of political knowledge. Politics regulates when virtue does not. Laws are created for people who are not virtuous. Polis= "city or state." Humans live in society, so virtue ethics is not just for individual living, community is a shared project for the good. Aristotle starts with his method, a phenomenological attitude. He starts with pairs, male and female, builds up to ruler and subject, master and slave as a natural relationship, the 1st social community thus is the household. Household is an economic relationship and has monarchy of patriarch. Villages are a collection of households with a king. Then you have a Polis, a fulfilled complete community formed from several villages. Self-sufficiency is the mark of a Polis. An organized social relationship is Polis and a reason is being able to take care of needs of life and promote living well. Only in a Polis can you have art, philosophy, etc. All these are actualized in a Polis. Politics is natural to human life. We are meant to be social. According to Aristotle, "If you don't want to live in a state you are either a God or a beast."

    Logos= "rationality or language" is what helps us to be political animals. Rational language expands capacity in human life. Since Aristotle thinks the Polis has a telos or an end then the Polis as potential comes even before the household. This is similar to the acorn having the telos to become a mighty oak tree. Politics completes the human condition for Aristotle. Need a Polis to develop other human capacities.

    Aristotle's hierarchy. Slaves are a living tool for Aristotle. Aristotle argues that some people are meant to be slaves right from birth. "Born to be ruled." Slavish person does not have enough rationality to rule themselves. Aristotle says not every form of actual enslavement is justified according to him. He justifies the human use of animals as a natural act.

    Aristotle now wants to find what kind of government is best. In a Polis citizens have things in common. Aristotle criticizes Plato's Republic, he finds it to be overly controlling. Socrates says the soul has 3 aspects and so does the Polis. The Soul has:

    1. Reason
    2. Passion
    3. Appetite
    The Polis has:
    1. Philosopher King.
    2. Guardians, (military).
    3. Commoners.

    Both are a hierarchal ordering. Socrates and Plato talk about the state holding all property in common. This includes the state raising children after birth instead of the parents, thus there will be no family clans trying to better themselves over their neighbors. Aristotle criticizes this idea. Aristotle says a Polis is a plurality of people thus people are not all the same and a Polis must accommodate differences in people, which actually makes a Polis better. Aristotle criticizes Socrates and Plato's idea of a Polis needing to have "unity" of people. This is a contrast to the Polis of Sparta. Aristotle says the best way to integrate citizens to the Polis is to allow them taking turns in ruling it. Aristotle believes that holding property or rearing of children in common as in the Republic is wrong no one really loves children like their own and communal property never gets really taken care of. Love is diminished the less nuclear family we are.
    Aristotle says you need a mix of private and public property. Thus, the best kind of Polis is a combination of a governing element. Aristotle affirms a constitutional democracy or Polity. A citizen participates in government by definition for Aristotle.

    Comparison of virtue and the good citizen. Excellence of virtuous man not the same as a good citizen. There will be few virtuous men, but good citizens just have to follow the law. Aristotle says good political virtue and good moral virtue don't have to go together. "Living finely then most of all is the goal of the city."

    Aristotle classifies 3 types of government which occur naturally in nature and 3 types of deteriorations of those governments, they are:

    1. "Monarchy," rule by one man a king, this is a top down rule. The deterioration is a "Tyranny," who is a ruler who rules for his own benefit.
    2. "Aristocracy," rule by the best few men in the Polis, also this is a top down rule. The deterioration is an "oligarchy,' which he defines as rule of the rich who want to perpetuate themselves.
    3. "Polity," All citizens participate in government with a constitution set above them to guide them instead of a king or aristocracy. The deterioration is a "democracy or what today we call mob rule or tyranny of the majority. He calls it rule of the poor.

    Aristotle does a good job of looking at states and how they can be corrupted. Aristotle's concept of political justice and what is the best concept. What does justice mean? Not necessarily equality for all. Not all people are equal. He implies sometimes it is unjust to treat people equally. Justice is not necessarily equality for all; sometimes it would be unjust to treat all people equally. Politics is rated high by Aristotle as a human good. Education is a central feature of political life for Aristotle. "But we must find the relevant respect of equality or inequality; for this question raises a puzzle that concerns political philosophy." First, because someone is unequal on hierarchy that means better than others like more virtuous. This is like "distributive justice" who gets what goods. Do you give the best flute to the best flute player which is based on merit or to the richest or best looking person? Aristotle says inequality should tip towards those who earn it on merit. His concept of equality and inequality is based on merit. Another philosopher coined a famous formula for this based on Relevant Respect:

    P= Person, Q= Quality, C= Context.
    It would be just to treat P1 + P2 equally or unequally if P1 + P2 are equal or unequal in Q (quality) relevant to C (content). This is a formula on how to treat people relevant to goods. This is context dependent. Allot of empirical work to be done before we use the formula.

    People who fight wars control politics in the Polis. The more people who have weapons in a civilian army is a guarantee that a small group of people will not take control of the government and democracy grows, like our 2nd amendment, this is a historical perspective of the idea that works.
    Democracy spreads power to citizens a bottom up structure. Expertise in relation to politics. Many professions we tend to defer to the experts for judgment, physicians, lawyers, etc. Plato's Republic does this with his advocacy of Philosopher king running government. Aristotle says the judgment of the many combined as acting as one is better then a monarch or a few wise men to run the government. In principle, pooling of multiple people to run Polis is good. Politics by nature is a communal effort so you should use all the people's expertise. Aristotle is against letting experts running the Polis they are not always the best of judges. The best judge of the function of a house is the owner, not the builder. In addition, Aristotle says there may not really be any such thing as a political expert, like a philosopher king. Aristotle advocates for a constitutional democracy a written set of laws to protect Polis from a tyranny of the majority. "Law is reason unaffected by desire." A government of laws not men. A living being as the last word is not good.

    Role of education in politics. Politics is coming together to foster human development and happiness for community, citizens, and improving human life like education. Aristotle says it should be public education.

    I recommend Aristotle's works to anyone interested in obtaining a classical education, and those interested in philosophy. Aristotle is one of the most important philosophers and the standard that all others must be judged by.

    ...more info
  • In the name of Iran
    In this book Aristotle discussed different kind of state and what would lead to corruption of a state. Aristotle believed no one should rise against their state. Every one had to remian submissive toward state....more info
  • Another famous ancient Greek philosopher.
    Perhaps I've been reading too many ancient Greeks and Romans, and certainly too many treatises on ancient politics, but I had a great deal of difficulty getting through this book. Aristotle is a very well-known philosopher and a student of Plato. This book outlined his views on politics, and he quite blatantly goes against a lot of what Plato and Socrates said, but his ideas make sense, especially for the time and place when they were written. It was interesting to compare his ideas to those of Plato since I just finished reading Plato's Republic. I think at heart, I'm more in agreement with Aristotle than with Plato....more info
  • Not a Bad Book
    As a mystery novelist, I find that reading a wide variety of materials helps enormously in my work. This book is one I read regularly. I first read POLITICS OF ARISTOTLE during my college days at Claremont McKenna College. The political science department insisted on a classical background for its students, and this book was one of the canon. It impressed me then. It still impresses me today. I only wish Aristotle could collect royalties on the books sold....more info
  • The man who influenced medieval thought
    Aristotle was in fact a Macedonian by birth and had as one of his utmost desires to be accepted in Athens as a full-fledged citizen, something he never attained. To be or not a citizen at those times, was the determinant factor in the importance each one attained in the social structure. One has to keep in mind that all the political concepts that we inherited from the Greeks, got a different perspective at those times, where slavery was normally accepted and practised against the non-Greeks human beings. Aristotle was a disciple of Plato, whom he quotes many times in a derogatory manner, and he lived in Athens many years after years of tutorship of Philip and his son Alexander of Macedonia, to whom he did not mention a word of praise or reprimand in this book. What amazed most after reading this excelent book is the maturity the institutions had attained at his times, and the degree of accuracy and detail to which he devotes many chapters analysing the constitutions of many Greek states, Sparta included. One word of caution has to be addresed to the student of poltics: this is not a book about statecraft or the arts of governing people at 350 BC. All in all, the text seems to lose some strenght due to the impossibity of translating so rich a text and by the lack of precise terms for each and every situation there described. But, in the end, the reader will get a glimpse of this very important period of western civilazation, specially if one has in mind that the heyday of Greece was gone and what lays ahead was the supremacy of Rome as world militar empire. To add interest to the reader, one has to keep in mind that the powerfull influence the aristotelian thought had in the medieval thinking....more info
  • Important issues
    It's amazing how much of what is discussed in the book is still common in today's laws and world. I really enjoyed reading it and applying some of the issues to today's political arena. I do feel that some politicians need to read this and maybe get a better understanding of what they're there to do......more info
  • Worth the effort...
    Aristotle was an important thinker, born in 384 BCE at Stagirus (a Greek colony), who is considered by many the founder of the realist tradition in Philosophy. He wrote many noteworthy books, among which "The Politics" stands out. "The Politics" is one of the first books I read at university, and even though it took me a lot of time to read it, I ended up being grateful to the professor that included it as obligatory reading material for History of Political Ideas I :)

    In "The Politics", the author begins by analyzing the human being, that is in his opinion a political animal by nature. Afterwards, he explains what are, for him, the origins of the polis: family, small village and then, polis. Aristotle says that even though the polis is the last chronologically, it is all the same the most important, because it is autarchic. The polis (not exactly like our states, but similar to them in some aspects) is a natural community, because it answers to something that human beings need. Only in the polis will men find perfection, only there will they be completely human. Aristotle distinguishes between citizens and non-citizens (the vast majority), and points out that only citizens have political rights. The author delves in many other themes, for example the causes of revolution, the good and bad forms of government, and the "ideal" form of government. What is more, he also considers several constitutions, and talks about the adequate education that forms good citizens for the polis.

    Now, why should you read a book that was written many centuries ago and that on top of that isn't especially easy to read?. The answer is quite simple: "The Politics" is worth it. Of course, you will find faults in some of Aristotle's opinions (for instance, he thought that slaves were "live property", and that slavery was a natural institution), but you cannot ignore that most of his book is as relevant today as it was when he wrote it. "The Politics" is a book that teaches the reader to analyze reality, and to watch things differently, from another perspective. It also mentions several times that it is always necessary to take into account the context, because there are not perfect solutions good for every circumstance. Even though that seems merely common sense, it is an often forgotten truth...

    On the whole, I can recommend this book to all those who are interested in Political Science, History of Ideas, or simply curious. I can guarantee that if you are patient enough to end it, you will learn a lot.

    Belen Alcat...more info

  • It is proper that Greeks should rule non-Greeks
    Aristotle's Politics is the first serious analytic investigation of various organized states and an excellent exposition in all the basics of political science. While this book does show Aristotle's immense breadth of knowledge about the various constitutions of the Greek-city states, he is not content just to offer basic factual information about their forms of government, but digs deep to try and explain the "how" and "why" of the political order. In doing so, this book is both rich in its theoretical and empirical aspects. Aristotle was pre-eminent in two virtues that allowed him to make pioneering advances in every field of endeavor; first his minute and rigorous attention to detail (the empirical world) combined with a masterful ability to systematize separate spheres of knowledge. Both these virtues shine through in Politics. Moreover, any careful reading of this book shows that the issues that Aristotle dealt with are still relevant and contentious to this day. This book should not be treated as an historical curiosity, but one that can continue to challenge and inspire.

    Political science must start with an understanding and knowledge of human nature. What makes men form communities anyway? Aristotle's story is simple, but useful: first, there must a union of those who can not exist without each other, the male and female, who come together not of deliberate purpose, but out of the instinctive urge to make life continue. The family then comes into existence for the supply of men's everyday wants, and when families organize the village comes into existence and when villages come together society has reached its zenith -- the creation of the city-state. While Aristotle definitely thought that the state was a natural institution, this chronology also shows that he thought that the family was natural and an indispensable element in human society. This shows a much deeper understanding of the inclinations in human nature than the modern sociologist who treats the family as an arbitrary and exploitive social convention that can be undone.

    The state, according to Aristotle, exists to cultivate virtue in men and encourage excellence in its citizens. Since the state represents the highest formation of a natural community it should not concern itself with imperialistic pursuits (the dream of Alexander's empire was foreign to Aristotle's mind), but only with the welfare of its citizens. In discussing the merits of the state he anticipates Hobbes, "...who first founded the state was the greatest benefactor. For man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but, when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all...the most unholy and savage of animals." The state gives its citizens the capacity for practicing virtue. However, virtue does not exactly mean moral. A political community is made up of men, women, parents, children, leaders, voters, masters, slaves and so on. All these different members of the political community have a separate nature and hence role to perform in the state (or community). Men farm and engage in trade and exchange and women raise the children and take care of the home, masters have the foresight to execute new plans and slaves the strength to carry them out. But since all these members have the same goal in mind, there are no social, class or gender divisions. Their differences allow them to cooperate and work together. Natural differences beget social differences. We can already see how alien this idea is from current sociological theory that regards any division as a source of conflict and wholly arbitrary. Egalitarianism is not only a perversion of nature, but also of virtue.

    Aristotle's understanding of the state as an extended natural (ethnic) community allowed him to make keen statements about the cause of revolution within in states. "Another cause of revolution is difference of races that do not at once acquire a common spirit, for a state is not the growth of a day, anymore than it grows out of a multitude brought together by accident. Hence the reception of strangers in colonies, either at the time of their foundation or afterwards, has generally produced revolution." What Aristotle means is that a state is the result of a long process of growth and is the creation of a particular ethnic community, an extended form of blood-kinship, and that the introduction of foreign elements de-stabilizes the community and consequently the state. Historically, this is why large imperialistic regimes finally disintegrate since they attempt to assemble multiple ethnicities under a common political center. Reflecting on this fact, isn't it odd that current wisdom is the exact opposite -- class and gender divisions within a community are seen as latent sources of conflict (although there is no historical evidence for this) and a vast array of differing ethic groups is seen as a national strength (although there is no historical evidence for this either).

    There is much more to say about this remarkable book, but many of the issues that Aristotle raised are just as relevant now as they were then. This is truly a first-rate piece of political scholarship, a work that should be studied and mastered....more info

  • The birth of systematic political thought
    Just as in most of his other books, in "The Politics", Aristotle becomes the founder of organized, ordered, and systematic thought. Of course, he was not the first philosopher to think about the organization and governance of societies, but his work is the first classification and comparison of different possible systems. As I said in a recent review of Aristotle's "Nicomachean Ethics", his greatest originality is the stripping off of myth, legend, metaphor and poetics from his exposition of the subject. This is his main difference with his predecessor and teacher, Plato. This makes for a drier reading, but also for a clearer and better organized rendering of his clear thought. It can be said, moreover, that Plato and Aristotle constitute the founding pillars of the two main currents in Western thought: idealism (Plato) vs. realism (Aristotle). Although any tragedies deriving from these sources is, of course, not a responsibility of these great thinkers, it can be said, in general, the following:

    The idealist tradition inaugurated by Plato led to the rise of universal, all-encompassing theories. That is, those which assert that there is a single unifying principle tying up together economics, politics, ethics, and social organization, and that this principle (whichever it may be) is suitable for any society at any time and place. Hence, Rousseaunianism, Socialism, Communism.

    The "realist" tradition springing from Aristotle simply says that human problems can not be resolved by magical formulas or recipes. Social situations can not be severed from their immediate environment. Aristotle, then, classifies possible types of systems and defines their advantages and disadvantages for different types of societies. His approach, then, is that there can be no universal and general solutions or organizing principles. Aristotle is absolutely practical in his approach, as opposed to the theoretical systems imagined (as opposed to observed) by Plato. Hence: liberalism, Realpolitik, capitalism, democracy (or I should say "capitalisms" and "democracies", since there are very different varieties of these systems). Aristotle examines then distinct kinds of Constitutions, what they require to be effective, and what effects they might bring upon.

    Read it, then, for a clear and well-ordered exposition of themes, subthemes, and advice. Here you will find the origin of half of Western political thought. And precisely the half that seems to be winning the race....more info

  • Wonderful Addition To Any Poli-Sci Library
    Aristotle's The Politics is without a doubt one of the most celebrated works of political science from antiquity. He begins with a description of a state, advances through the numerous types of constitutions, describes the ideal citizen, and defines good government-not to mention numerous other fascinating political insights into the running of a state.

    Aristotle's outline for government and state has been influential to political scientists for over 2,400 years. His discussion on the cons of complete unity, as well as his chapter on "the natural and unnatural methods of acquiring goods," certainly must have influenced Karl Marx, and his discussions on the "good of all" certainly led to Mills and Bentham's utilitarianism.

    The Penguin Classics edition gives the reader an authoritative, inexpensive copy that is ideal for scholars as well as students. The footnotes are helpful, but not excessive. An excellent purchase all around....more info

 

 
Old Release Old Products