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Unformatted text preview: Aristotle— Politics Many experts regard Plato as the first writer of political philosophy, and Aristotle is recognized as the first political scientist. The best form of government, i.e., that under which the state will be most happy BOOK VII Chapter 1 • To investigate the best regime it is necessary to first investigate the best way of life. • Virtue is more important for a good life than external things. o “Mankind do not acquire or preserve virtue by the help of external goods, but external goods by the help of virtue” • The soul is more honorable than the body and possessions, because these things are for the sake of the soul, not vice versa. • Happiness is the result of living according to virtue. • Now, “the best city is happy and acts nobly.” • Therefore the best way of life both for individuals and for cities is a life of virtue. Chapter 2 • Now we need to investigate which is the most choice-worthy way of life and which regime is the best. • The best regime is the one in which a person can act in the best manner and live most happily. • There is a dispute between those who assert that the political or active life is the most choice-worthy and those who assert that the philosophic way of life is the best. Chapter 3 • Those who dislike the political way of life because it involves ruling make the mistake of equating every type of rule with mastery, while political rule is noble because it is rule over free persons. • Inactivity is also not praiseworthy. • For people who are similar, the noblest arrangement is to rule and be ruled in turn. • Yet this is not to say that the active life is necessarily the best, because the philosophical life is in reality not inactive, and its actions are for the sake of goods, which are ends in themselves. Chapter 4 • In thinking about the best city, it is important to think about population and territory. • A larger population is not always better, because quality of citizens is more important than quantity, and it is often more difficult for a populous city to be well-managed. • Too few persons is also bad because the city will not be self-sufficient. • Therefore the optimal number is just enough so that the city is self-sufficient. Chapter 5 • As far as territory is concerned, one also needs to look for territory that is self- sufficient, and that it allows people to live at leisure but also with moderation. • The territory should be readily surveyable so that it is easily defended. Chapter 6 • The territory should be near a port so as to have access to trade, but not right on the sea so as to avoid the influx of foreigners. Chapter 7 • Considering what quality of persons the political multitude should be, it is clear that they should be both spirited and endowed with thought, as the Greeks are....
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This note was uploaded on 10/23/2008 for the course PHIL 335 taught by Professor Lloyd during the Spring '07 term at USC.
- Spring '07