Aristotle The primary concern of political theorists is to determine by what form of constitution the state will most likely succeed. According to Aristotle the definition of political success means the general happiness of the citizenry. Both Aristotle and James Q. Wilson share the belief that molding excellent character within the citizenry is the first and most important step towards solidifying the happiness of the state as a whole. The basic structure of Aristotle’s philosophies are derived by gathering as much information about the history of a subject as possible (in trying to develop the ultimate constitution Aristotle went through 150 constitution from historically great nations) taking from the good and removing the bad Aristotle thought he could develop superior political theories. The conclusion Aristotle came to in his effort to write the perfect constitution was that it was necessary to first pay attention to the development of the parts of a society (the citizens).
One of the main similarity is their take on justice. They both agree that justice brings good life. According to them, justice brings equality. In this context, Plato believes that justice and the law play a very important role in guiding the behavior of the individuals in a society.Aristotle writes, “Justice is considered to mean equality, in oligarchies, again inequality in the distribution of office is considered to be just,” (Hacker 91). Another similarity is that the two philosophers were mostly concerned with ethics.
Aristotle’s nature of law appealed to me the most because he defines the cultivation of virtues that achieve full potential in life. Aristotle’s theory of happiness had a process of exercising a moral life in order to reach genuine eudaemonia, which means, “actively exercising the soul’s powers”. The fulfillment of the self, allowed a person to strengthen their system of morals and values to practice a “good” life. Your whole persona should life a live with integrity, never conflicting your happiness with false satisfaction. As one develop a solid set of morals and beliefs, and then one can create a path of righteousness that will benefit the value of character.
Aristotle believed “virtue is a matter of developing the unique ability to reason.”(Pacquette 268) Being virtuous to Plato and Aristotle also meant, “doing things- no matter what these things were- in a way that reflected rational thought and involved making the best of one’s skills, talents and opportunities.” (Pacquette 268) Aristotle and Plato both agreed that a person’s good moral character and reason guided their ethical choices. A good moral life to them would lead to “eudaimonia, an ancient Greek word that translates into English as happiness.” (Pacquette 268) Though Plato talked and wrote about virtue and happiness, Aristotle went into great detail about his ideas. Aristotle is known as the creator of the theory of virtue ethics. “Aristotle held that there are three forms of happiness. The first form of happiness is a life of pleasure and enjoyment.
While the state works for the people as a whole instead of individual, Plato also proposes the idea of propaganda to mold even the lowest of his utopia into model citizens for the state. Plato’s state is the essence of perfection, with a goal to make everyone reach their true potential. Aristotle views the state as an individual outlet. The ideal state works to achieve individual happiness. There is no ideal structure to the state; instead politics changes on what they best suit the state.
Secondly, there is a difference between moral virtues and intellectual virtues and lastly, leading a good life is a state of character. Personally and widely accepted, happiness is believed to be a true defining factor on leading a well intentioned, rational, and satisfactory life. However, it is important to note the ways in which one achieves their happiness, through the people and experiences to reach that state of being. In consequence, Aristotle’s focus on happiness presents a more arguable notion of “good character” and “rational.” John Stuart Mill believes in a utilitarian society where people are seen as “things.” Moreover, in utilitarianism the focus of the goal is “forward-looking”, in looking at the consequences but not the ini... ... middle of paper ... ...g the other consequences and harms of the decision made. In conclusion, Aristotle’s elucidation of happiness is based on a ground of ethics because happiness to him is coveted for happiness alone.
and lastly, What are the characteristics of a good/best political society? Although both parties offer very persuasive arguments, they differ in many ways. Aristotle emphasizes the unity of a community in constant search of a virtuous and noble life for its citizens, while Locke stresses equality and the rights of individuals in terms on liberty and possessions and claims that one who benefits from society, one is incurred to its obligations. Based on all the readings, I agree with Aristotle’s view of an ideal political community because a community with a cooperative and united search for happiness and progression in virtuous activities is far more superior to me than the undeniable materialistic ways of a Lockean democracy. It is understood that one feels the need to be a part of a political society because it gives a sense of protection and control.
Plato believed that everything had an ideal form, but Aristotle looked into the real world and studied that. Instead of inventing a system of government, Aristotle explored more of practical things that you can realistically put into effect. Aristotle’s main aim was to “consider, not only what form of government is best, but also what is possible and what is easily attainable”. Meaning that he wanted everyone to be able to relate and adapt to his form of power. He wanted people to be servant to his laws because if the law were an order, it would make a good society.
A good government can moderate between what people think is just and what is best for the common good. Aristotle's theories are fundamentals of our current political system and earned him the title "The Father of Political Science."
There is, however, a better way to go about seeking the consent of the ruled then the route Coriolanus took, and there is a good way to go about achieving a threshold in our republic where we better our chances so that those who Know have the consent of those who do not Know, so that the common good can be achieved. Aristotle believed that those who ruled must be wise. They must possess certain virtues and knowledge that can allow for him to rule for the common good. For someone to Know, he must understand man and the common good of man. Aristotle believed every man is by nature a political animal.