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Essay about Aristotle and The Politics

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Philosopher and scientist, disciple of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great, acclaimed thinker and traveller in exile, it is nearly impossible to catch Aristotle in a defined denomination. It seems indeed that he lived several lives in one, experiencing fame and dishonour, starting from bottom to reach top but collapsing because of the people’s disapproval: the tragedy of the classic philosopher maybe. As a consequence his work is a reflection of his life: complex and incredibly diverse. Like a scientist he observed and dissected the world around him in many fields: from philosophical concepts with The Metaphysics to inanimate things in On Minerals via the structure of an ideal state in The Politics. This utopia is the subject of this essay and particularly, the place of individuals within it, considering that Aristotle defines human beings through the relationship they have with others. He characterizes them in two ways: they are either driven by authority and social status, hierarchical, or install individuals on the same basis of rights and opportunities, equal. The Politics describes the different prominent associations people can have, constituting together a sophisticated hierarchy, nevertheless, it establishes at the same time revolutionary equalitarian principles. The question at that point is if this ideal state is a place of hierarchy rather than equality? Aristotle never isolates politics from morality, raising an important issue, that of the place of justice in his utopia as well as how he defines this broad and controversial concept.
In order to answer this, we will analyse both the hierarchy and the equality, keeping in mind their justification and interaction.


“Man is by nature a political animal”(Book 1...


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...e state they live in and have the power to change. The hierarchy he creates is only here to support and make easier the exercise of power (who would “do the work” if all men are only debating?). Today, such hierarchy seems archaic and unthinkable, but are we really equals? Of course “natural order” has vanished as a justification of the hierarchy, be can we oppose our vision of equality and justice to Aristotle? He would just argue that for him putting unequals on an equal plan would be unfair and he would send us back to our society : isn’t there still a lot to do when it comes to inequality between genders, financial inequality or inequality in front of the opportunities, the decision making-power and the access to a successful education?



Works Cited

Aristotle, ‘The Politics’, http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/politics.html translated by Jowett B., accessed on


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