Aristotle - Le 1 Justifications for Slavery People have...

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Le 1 Justifications for Slavery People have tried to defend human enslavement for as long as history has been recorded. In The Politics , Aristotle makes particularly compelling arguments that are derived from his central premise that slaves are those who lack reason. The Hamitic hypothesis, another justification for slavery, stemmed from a narrative in the book of Genesis and was used to defend slavery in the American South. Aristotle makes a much better claim at why slavery was correct both morally and economically. He effectively explored the many aspects of slavery and even identified “incorrect slavery.” Although there are weak moments in Aristotle’s argument, he is nonetheless persuasive, while the conclusions made by the Hamitic hypothesis are neither logical nor convincing. Aristotle begins by examining the practical uses of slaves; they are live tools meant for action, but not for production. However, this tool is not like an inanimate tool, but is part of the master. Though slaves are not as competent as masters, they are crucial to the masters’ subsistence. There is a symbiotic relationship where, if the slave is separated from the master, he becomes a “tool having a separate existence” (I254a9). Slaves performed menial tasks because they can do no better, while the master is suited for the life of a citizen of a state. If the master partakes in doing remedial work of slaves, this would be wasteful time that could be used for intellectual growth and contribution to the development of the state. Therefore, Aristotle maintains that no person with reason should be enslaved: “For the slave by nature is he that can and therefore does belong to another, and he that participates in reason so far as to recognize it but not so as to possess it” (I254bI6). Different slaves have different kinds of knowledge, however; “for the tasks of various slaves differ, some being more essential, some more highly
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Le 2 valued (I255b20). Though slaves have different tasks, they have the same bodies. “Those whose
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Aristotle - Le 1 Justifications for Slavery People have...

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