Aristotle's View of Slavery - Jaclyn Burke PHIL 203 Final...

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Jaclyn Burke PHIL 203 Final Paper 11/13/11 Aristotle’s View on Slavery Aristotle is a firm advocate for slavery based upon the readings in the first three books of the Politics . Slaves were a very imperative component within the Greek society. In order for men to take part in the necessary intellectual activities or hold political office, slaves (and women) were needed to assist in matters pertaining to actions. According to Aristotle, a slave is an animate article of property that serves as an instrument for living. Aristotle views slavery as a completely natural process. One is either born a slave and meant to serve their entire life, or one is born to rule slaves at all times. A slave by nature is capable of belonging to another and lacks the ability to fully reason in order to be self sufficient. Consequently, a slave needs someone to rule over them in order to operate. I firmly believe that Aristotle’s assertion pertaining to a slave’s incapacity to reason was especially unwarranted, as exhibited through the freedom given to the majority of his slaves within his will. While slavery is now known to be morally wrong, the treatment of others as inferior figures still exists within the professional world, sports industry, and modern government. As acknowledged within the Politics , a partnership, especially the Greek state, is established to achieve some type of good. The partnership of a stat desires self-sufficiency in order to achieve the good life. Unless one is a beast or god, every individual must be involved in the partnership of the state in order to be self–sufficient. Within that partnership, there must be a distinction between those who rule and those who are ruled. As stated in book one of the Politics ,
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“That which is able to plan and to take forethought is by nature ruler and master, whereas that which is able to supply physical labor is by nature ruled, a slave to the above” (Bambrough 430). Aristotle is merely asserting that those who can’t by nature rule must be ruled themselves. In the above statement, Aristotle clearly defines a ruler as someone with comprehension skills and defines those who can only supply physical labor as the ruled. He holds the view that categories of people are unworthy of freedom. Barbarians or anyone outside the Greek state are slaves, while Greeks shouldn’t be enslaved at all. Aristotle justifies enslaving barbarians because he
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This note was uploaded on 11/27/2011 for the course PHIL 203 taught by Professor Wengert during the Fall '08 term at University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.

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Aristotle's View of Slavery - Jaclyn Burke PHIL 203 Final...

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