Essay about Historical Views of Leadership: Plato and Aristotle

Essay about Historical Views of Leadership: Plato and Aristotle

Length: 1328 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

What is leadership, and how do we attain the best and most effective leaders? These are questions that are as old as civilization itself. Bass (1974) wrote that, “from its infancy, the study of history has been the study of leaders” (as cited in Wren, 1995, p. 50). Since the study of history in the West is commonly held to begin with Herodotus of ancient Athens, it is not surprising that we should examine the historical views of leadership through the eyes of two titans of Greek thought: Plato and Aristotle.
Both men lived in 4th century BCE Athens, so much of their background and experience was shared. Aristotle was the younger of the two, and he was Plato’s student. Where leadership is concerned, both philosophers agreed that the “best men” should rule, and that the purpose of leadership was the betterment of the State. They also agreed that education was paramount to forming these best men. They disagreed, however, on whether or not leaders were born with inherent qualities, or if these qualities depend solely on education. They also disagreed about whether or not a strict separation between leaders and followers is required, and what form of government the best State should take.
Plato was the student of another great Athenian thinker, Socrates, and he used him as a mouthpiece throughout his dialogs to examine philosophical concepts (Wren, 1995). One of the most important concepts that Plato defines is justice, and it is in this analysis where we find most of his thoughts on leadership.
For Plato, like many Greeks of his day, the individual was subordinate to the state. Political participation was paramount, so when he discusses leadership, he is talking about leadership of the State. Because society is more im...

... middle of paper ...

...stotle on the other hand was the teacher of Alexander the Great, a man who many people think the best leader of the time.

Aristotle. (1900). A treatise on government. In J. Thomas Wren (Ed.). Leader's
companion: Insights on leadership through the ages (pp. 66). New York, NY: The Free
Bass, B. (1974). Concepts of leadership: The beginnings. In J. Thomas Wren (Ed.). Leader's
companion: Insights on leadership through the ages (pp. 49-51). New York, NY: The Free
Edel, A. (1967). Aristotle. New York, NY: Dell Publishing.
Pindar (1969). The odes of Pindar. Trans. C.M. Bowra. London, England: Penguin Books.
Plato (1987). The Republic. Trans. Desmond Lee. London, England: Penguin Books.
Wren, J.T. (1995). Leader's companion: Insights on leadership through the ages. New York,
NY: The Free Press.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Analysis of Aristotle and Plato's Thoughts Essay

- Philosophers are all known for questioning and exploring Ideals; taking a look at all options and what is most important. While Aristotle and Plato both take a plunge into the unknowns of a political state, Aristotle demonstrates a state for individuals, to rule as equals, contrary to Plato’s strict utopian structure and group over individual hierarchy view of the ideal state. Plato’s ideal state is strictly structured through a utopian ideal. Everything within Plato’s ideal state has a place and purpose, and everyone within it is aware of that....   [tags: aristotle, plato's ideal, utopia]

Strong Essays
988 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Aristotle and Plato's Views on Reality

- Aristotle and Plato were both great thinkers but their views on realty were different. Plato viewed realty as taking place in the mind but Aristotle viewed realty is tangible. Even though Aristotle termed reality as concrete, he stated that reality does not make sense or exist until the mind process it. Therefore truth is dependent upon a person’s mind and external factors. According to Aristotle, things are seen as taking course and will eventually come to a stop when potential is reached. The entire process of potential to actuality is call causation....   [tags: Aristotle, Plato, philosophy, ]

Strong Essays
983 words (2.8 pages)

Plato and Aristotle: Their Contributions to the Development of Western Philosophy

- The philosophies of Plato and Aristotle and their contributions to the development of western philosophy. Plato was a classical Greek philosopher and one of the top 5 contributors to Western philosophy, educator after his mentor, Socrates and teacher of Aristotle. His sophistication as a writer started while under the tutelage of Socrates, continued through his establishing of his own academy, (The Academy of Athens which has been labeled as the first institution of higher learning in the Western World) and throughout his many years as an open minded author....   [tags: Plato and Aristotle Essays]

Strong Essays
606 words (1.7 pages)

Leaders of the Pack: Women, Leadership and the Myth of Dominance Essay

- Since the beginning of civilization, leadership has been synonymous with power. This intriguing behavior has producing theories and extensive literature about what, and whom, make the most suitable leaders. Plato professed that only a select few with superior wisdom were fit to lead (Cornford). Aristotle contended that leadership consisted of virtue and the art of persuasion (Stiston). The controversy lives on today. Is it nature or nurture that is responsible for this phenomena or is leadership simply a matter of sex....   [tags: behaviors, theories, values]

Strong Essays
961 words (2.7 pages)

Aristotle And Plato 's Philosophy Essay

- ... Aristotle continues to say that pleasure is a good but it is not the ultimate good. He adds that one of the possible contradictions to this conclusion. Is that some pleasures are also associated with their vices Aristotle then goes on to say that pleasure is linked to an activity. We engage in activities that are pleasant, but the pleasure is not in the activity itself, but is something that comes from the activity itself. Socrates also believes this as he talks about the unexamined life is not worth living in the Apology during his trial....   [tags: Virtue, Plato, Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle]

Strong Essays
930 words (2.7 pages)

Essay about Faith and Politics

- Should faith groups and institutions be allowed to form political parties. Should faith groups be allowed to gain influence in the workings of the government. Starting back in the early days of Plato through when our founding fathers first drafted the constitution, there started to be a sense of separation between church and state. Since the inception of the United States Constitution in 1776, the American government knew there should be a clear separation. Even with this definition of separation there have been many citizens challenge certain aspects of the First Amendment....   [tags: philosophy, john locke, plato]

Strong Essays
1795 words (5.1 pages)

How Globalization is Changing World Governments Compared to Plato and Aristotle's Government

- The way the government structure is organized has been changing ever since humans began to live in a polis. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle believed that humans were political animals, thus the reason for organizing ourselves into a political state. However the way governments are organized, and which political system works best has been the centrepiece for many violent conflicts in the past, and will continue to challenge the world into the future. Yet a new form of organization is taking place in the 21st century and has been given the term “globalization.” With the onset of globalization many of those in government have had to change their governing style in order to keep up with...   [tags: Globalization, Governments, Plato, Aristotle]

Strong Essays
2559 words (7.3 pages)

Plato And Aristotle 's Philosophy Essay

- Emmanuel Marsh Professor Wiener POL. SCI 204 During the fourth century BC, Athens two most influential thinkers of all time had emerged, Plato and Aristotle. Socrates, a great influential philosopher who influence his pupil such as Plato, through his teachings. Plato, then became the teacher of Aristotle, who although was a long term follower, found fault in Plato`s theories. In fact, Aristotle became a great critic of his teacher. Despite his criticism, Aristotle was influenced by Plato and in so their works are easily comparable, however, some aspect of their philosophy can be contradictive....   [tags: Philosophy, Plato, Truth, Logic]

Strong Essays
1078 words (3.1 pages)

Plato Vs. Aristotle On Art Essay

- Is some art “better” than added art and, if so, by what standard. Is there moral and abandoned art, to the point that some art should be banned. Both Plato and Aristotle affected that art would be either acceptable or bad, depending on whether it led anyone adjoin or abroad from rational truth. In accepted Plato assured that art was bad because it led you abroad from the accuracy and played on your emotions. By adverse Aristotle anticipation art was acceptable because it led you adjoin truth. For Plato, art was bad because it was a archetype of a archetype of a copy....   [tags: Socrates, Plato, Truth, Art]

Strong Essays
922 words (2.6 pages)

Essay on Similarities Between Plato And Aristotle

- Keleah Johnson Dr. Greto PY 317 October 10, 2014 Compare and Contrast Many philosophers are well known for their stances or beliefs. One of the most well-known philosophers are Plato and Aristotle. Plato once being a pupil himself of Socrates found himself being a teacher to Aristotle. This is why both Plato and Aristotle cover most of the same issue topics and have direct contrasts on topics as well as similarities. Most of Plato and Aristotle comparisons can be found in their forms of “Problems of the universals” and Realism verse Idealism....   [tags: Philosophy, Plato, Psychology, Platonic realism]

Strong Essays
844 words (2.4 pages)