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Systematic political thought in ancient Greece begins with Plato, and quickly reaches its zenith in the rich and complex discussions in Aristotle's Politics. The political theories of both philosophers are closely tied to their ethical theories, and their interest is in questions concerning constitutions or forms of government.
Herodotus sketches a fascinating debate by proponents of three forms of government: democracy, monarchy, and oligarchy. In Euripides' Suppliant Maidens , there is a debate between Theseus, champion of Athenian democracy, and a messenger from Creon, ruler of Thebes.
Among Plato's predecessors there was a tradition of political thought and debate, but he was the first Greek thinker to undertake a careful, systematic analysis of fundamental questions in political philosophy. This article discusses Socrates' influence on Plato. It then looks at Plato's masterpiece, the Republic , and considers his model of an ideal constitution.
It concludes with a discussion of Aristotle's complex and sophisticated analysis of political constitutions. Keywords: Greece , political philosophy , Plato , Aristotle , Socrates , constitutions , democracy , Republic , monarchy , oligarchy. The political theories of both philosophers are closely tied to their ethical theories, and their interest is in questions concerning constitutions or forms of government: for example, what are the different kinds of constitutions, and what are the values characteristic of each type?
Earlier thinkers had considered these questions; Herodotus, for example, sketches a fascinating debate by proponents of three forms of government: democracy, monarchy, and oligarchy Histories 3. First, you began your speech falsely, stranger, asking for a tyrant here.
There is no rule of one man here: this is a free city. The people reign here, taking turns in annual succession. Even the poor man has a fair share, standing his ground against the rich. You give me a great advantage in this game—the city from which I come is ruled by one man rather than a mob. There is no one who puffs up my city with speeches and turns it this way and that for his private gain, no one who gives it immediate gratification and pleasure but harms it in the long run, then hides his mistakes with fresh slanders, thus slipping away from justice.
How can the people set the city straight when they cannot even straighten out the speechmakers? Listen to me my clever herald…since you have turned this into a contest.
There is no greater evil for a city than a tyrant! There will be no public laws, but one man will have control by owning the law and this will be unjust. When the laws are written down, both the rich and the poor have equal recourse to justice; if the wealthy are reviled they have no better standing than those of limited means, and a lesser man can overcome a great one if he has justice on his side.
Theseus praises democracy for its guarantees of freedom and equality before the law. Theseus counters that democracy protects the rights of all citizens through written laws that guarantee equal treatment of rich and poor alike. As we shall see, these and other traditional arguments for and against different constitutions were the seedbed from which Plato and Aristotle developed their political theories. There are a couple of historical factors that gave rise to such debates.
First, in the centuries preceding Plato and Aristotle, Greek city states experimented with a great variety of constitutions and ways of organizing their political life.
Given this variety, and the extensive intercourse between cities, it was inevitable that individuals such as Theseus and the Herald would be drawn into debates about the advantages and disadvantages of different systems. The second factor is colonization: during this period many city states established colonies along the coast of Asia Minor, as well as in Sicily and southern Italy.
Distinguished individuals or committees were commissioned to draw up constitutions for these new city states. Individuals were thus invited to consider how best to organize a community, and what sorts of principles and values should guide such an effort. It was natural, then, for Greeks to view political constitutions as artifacts to be designed and modified, not as patterns received from on high nor as ineluctable expressions of a particular culture or society.
He believed that the purpose of a political community is to attain the best possible life for its inhabitants, and that the way to achieve this is to ensure that those who rule have an accurate understanding of human nature and of what makes a human life truly worthwhile. These starting points of Plato's political thought were the legacy of his p.
Socrates did not develop a theory of political constitutions or a model of an ideal state; his goal was to obtain knowledge of the human good—the values that determine how we ought to live our lives. He believed that such knowledge was indispensable to wise decision-making in the political sphere. It is thus appropriate that we begin this chapter with a discussion of Socrates' influence on Plato.
We will then turn to Plato's masterpiece, the Republic , and consider his model of an ideal constitution. The Republic was written in mid-career, and in his later works Plato revised important elements of the theory of the Republic. After examining a few of these later developments, we will conclude with a discussion of Aristotle's complex and sophisticated analysis of political constitutions.
It is generally thought that the shorter Platonic dialogues such as the Protagoras , Laches , Charmides , Gorgias were written early in Plato's career, and were meant to give a fairly accurate portrait of Socrates' methods of inquiry and his philosophical concerns.
Although Socrates claimed not to have knowledge of anything of importance, he had very strong convictions about what was valuable and worth striving for. He sets out these convictions in his Apology , his defense at his trial against the charges of impiety and corrupting the youth.
The value of virtue and wisdom is at least partly derived from their effects on the quality of one's life, for Socrates claims that possession of these goods guarantees a happy, fulfilling life 36d. Socrates' confidence in the supreme value of the goods of the soul is the basis of his activity as a moral reformer.
But he also claims not to have knowledge of these goods; for example, he denies that he knows the true nature of virtue. This is why he spends his days seeking such knowledge 38a. Socrates' zeal to change his fellow citizens' values did not lead him to get involved in politics because he thought he could achieve more through personal interaction with individuals. But his value beliefs carried over to the political sphere: he thought the values that ought to determine how individuals live their lives should also shape the p.
He contends that his fellow Athenians attach too much importance to wealth and power in their deliberations about public policies as well as in their day-to-day lives. Disregarding justice and moderation, they [the leaders of the empire] filled the city with harbors, dockyards, walls, tribute payments, and such trash as that.
And when that fit of sickness comes on, they [the people] will blame their advisers of the moment and sing the praises of Themistocles and Cimon and Pericles, the causes of their ills. This passage points to a fundamental Socratic principle: the policies and laws of a state should be based on an understanding of the nature of virtue and wisdom, and a recognition of their central importance to the civic life of the community. The Gorgias also gives some idea of the sort of political reform that Socrates would recommend.
Just as medicine and physical training aim at producing and maintaining the good condition of the body, health , so legislation and corrective justice aim at producing the good condition of the soul, virtue.
Socrates' conception of the political art is thus based on an analogy between health as the good condition of the body, on the one hand, and virtue as the good condition of the soul, on the other. And, as it turns out, Plato's account of justice and virtue in book IV of the Republic is an elaboration of this analogy.
Socrates' innovation was his particular conception of this expertise. For Socrates, on the other hand, the political art is primarily concerned with the moral improvement of the members of the city state. The statesman uses the arts of legislation and corrective justice to accomplish this goal. Corrective justice operates like medicine: through rehabilitative punishment, it improves the condition of the soul by removing injustice and other vices Gorgias a—e.
Legislation, on the other hand, is analogous to physical training: it fosters the development and maintenance of the virtues by instituting a program of education and training c—c, cd.
He compares the Athenian assembly to a gathering of children who care only about what pleases them e—c ; and he charges them, as the Herald does, with being too much under the sway of demagogues—orators who ingratiate themselves with the people in order to serve their own private interest d—a. He claims that Pericles and other admired Athenian leaders did not perform the proper function of a statesman.
If they had done their job properly, these leaders would have had the opposite effect: they would have made their fellow citizens more just and temperate, less under the sway of their appetites; and, as a result, the people would have been better judges of what was in their, and the city's, best interest.
A reformed democracy might meet with Socrates' approval. Although he did not attempt to describe the sort of constitution that would best accomplish the goal of the city state, he makes it clear that it must be one in which those who govern have a knowledge of the nature of virtue and how it is produced; and these leaders must exercise their governing powers for the sake of the well-being of their fellow citizens, not for their own private interest.
Although Socrates did not develop a theory of constitutions or a model of an ideal state, he set out several principles that would serve as foundations of subsequent political thought in the ancient period:. The aim of a political community is the happiness of its members; the laws and institutions of the community should be designed with this overarching aim in view.
Virtue is a necessary and perhaps sufficient condition of happiness; thus the inculcation of virtue must be a primary concern of the political community. The inculcation of virtue requires that some individuals have an accurate understanding of the nature of virtue, and of how it is acquired through education and corrective justice; in other words, the community should be governed by leaders who possess the political art. Socrates viewed himself as a political reformer Gorgias de , but he did not propose any particular changes in the institutional framework of the city state; he focused on changing individuals and their values.
Plato took the next step. He decided that the only way to achieve Socrates' political goals was to change the fundamental structure of the city—to develop and implement a blueprint of an ideally just and good city state.
This blueprint or model is described in Plato's best-known work, the Republic. But the Republic contains much more than a description of an ideal city state; in fact, this description plays a subordinate role in an argument for the value of individual justice. He accuses Socrates of naivety and argues that one is better off being un just if one can get away with it.
The debate between Socrates and Thrasymachus is inconclusive, and, at the beginning of book II, Thrasymachus' challenge is taken over by the two young brothers Glaucon and Adeimantus. They contend that, in order to make a convincing case for justice, Socrates must do three things: 1 give an account of the essential nature of justice and injustice; 2 show that justice is valuable for its own sake as well as for its consequences; and 3 show that the life of a just person is happier and more rewarding than the life of any unjust person.
It is in connection with the first task that Socrates introduces a political dimension to the discussion. It is easier, he suggests, to discover what justice is in a city than in an individual: since the city is larger, its justice and injustice ought to be more apparent. He therefore proposes that they first determine what justice is in a city and then look to see what it is in the individual.
Members of the latter two classes are selected at a young age on the basis of their natural abilities e—c , and receive an education designed to instill the virtues of courage, moderation, and justice. This hierarchical structure of the ideal state is based on the assumption that there are natural inequalities among individuals in a community, inequalities in their abilities to achieve moral and intellectual virtues.
In regard to these abilities, individuals fall into three groups: those who can achieve both moral excellence and philosophical wisdom; those who are able to achieve moral excellence and a lower level of intellectual excellence—not philosophical wisdom; and those who are naturally p. This assumption of natural inequalities in regard to social or political roles is a fundamental principle underlying the design of Socrates' ideal city state, and it is surprising that he does not offer any supporting argument for it.
Another principle guiding the construction of the ideal city state comes to light in Socrates' response to an objection from his interlocutor, Adeimantus.
While the farmers and artisans own their own houses and enjoy a modest level of material prosperity, the rulers and the military class are not allowed to have private property or to own gold and silver; their standard of living is austere and spartan in comparison with that of the workforce. Adeimantus objects that this is unfair to the rulers and auxiliaries: Socrates is depriving them of a happy life, even though they make the greatest contribution to the city's welfare.
Adeimantus is appealing to a principle of distributive justice: benefits derived from a cooperative enterprise should be proportional to one's contribution; since the contribution of the auxiliaries and rulers is the greatest, they should receive the greatest benefits. Does this mean that all three groups should have an equal share of happiness, even if the result is that one or more of the groups will have less than it might otherwise have?
Apparently not, for Socrates indicates later that the rulers, in spite of their Spartan lifestyle, have a happier life than members of the other two groups cf. In the case of the productive class and the auxiliaries, the life assigned to them turns out to be the happiest they could possibly lead—if the city were designed to maximize the happiness of the workers or the auxiliaries, it would have exactly the same constitution for the happiness of the auxiliaries, see d—c.
But Socrates suggests that, if it were designed to maximize p. According to Socrates' argument, the members of each of the three classes will achieve happiness by working for the good of the community—that is, by making the contribution for which they are naturally best suited bc. And we should note that the distribution of happiness accords with Adeimantus' principle of distributive justice: the degree of happiness of each class is proportional to its contribution to the security, stability, and well-being of the community.
As noted above, it is the unusual economic aspects of the city that provoke Adeimantus' objection that the rulers and auxiliaries are not getting their fair share of happiness. The productive class has a moderate standard of living: they are neither rich nor poor, but have a relatively comfortable life. The auxiliaries and rulers, on the other hand, have a more austere life; their basic needs are supplied by the productive class, but they are forbidden to own private property, and their living conditions are similar to those of a military encampment d—e.
Systematic political thought in ancient Greece begins with Plato, and quickly reaches its zenith in the rich and complex discussions in Aristotle's Politics. The political theories of both philosophers are closely tied to their ethical theories, and their interest is in questions concerning constitutions or forms of government. Herodotus sketches a fascinating debate by proponents of three forms of government: democracy, monarchy, and oligarchy. In Euripides' Suppliant Maidens , there is a debate between Theseus, champion of Athenian democracy, and a messenger from Creon, ruler of Thebes. Among Plato's predecessors there was a tradition of political thought and debate, but he was the first Greek thinker to undertake a careful, systematic analysis of fundamental questions in political philosophy. This article discusses Socrates' influence on Plato. It then looks at Plato's masterpiece, the Republic , and considers his model of an ideal constitution.
Though perhaps not seriously, Plato held in the fifth book of the Republic that inequalities were caused by families and property. The only way to get rid of such inequalities would be to prevent parents from bringing up their own children and thereby giving them unfair advantages. Communize families and property. Plato also suggested a kind of genetic engineering to produce only elites, along with governmental day-care centers and control of education to enforce them. Such things are not wholly unfamiliar to us.
Qty : Please note there is a week delivery period for this title. Many contemporary philosophers develop political theories in an attempt to justify the societies that we currently live in. But the distribution of wealth in our societies today is becoming ever more polarized. Can these philosophers offer theories that are truly just? Paul Schollmeier takes us back to ancient political philosophy in order to present an original theory of what a society in our era ought to be, and to highlight the flaws in the liberal and libertarian political theories set forth by Robert Nozick and John Rawls. Adapting the ancient principle of happiness found in Plato and Aristotle, he introduces the concept of a eudaimonic polity, which promotes engagement in political activity primarily for its own sake and not for private profit or pleasure.
iv. and v. in the new) in which Aristotle propounds his ideal. Chapter xi. is concerned with actual States—principally oligarchy and democracy, and with Aristotle's.
Both Plato and Aristotle are the two great giants of Greek philosophy in general and Greek political thought in particular. There is no doubt that he received first lessons about philosophy and other subjects from Plato. Aristotle believed that unity of the state is necessary, but not at the cost of identity of individuals. It means that Aristotle approved private property, wife and children. By expressing this view Aristotle displayed a good deal of reality.
The end of the Nicomachean Ethics declared that the inquiry into ethics necessarily follows into politics, and the two works are frequently considered to be parts of a larger treatise—or perhaps connected lectures—dealing with the "philosophy of human affairs". The title of Politics literally means "the things concerning the polis ", and is the origin of the modern English word politics. Aristotle's Politics is divided into eight books, which are each further divided into chapters. Citations of this work, as with the rest of the works of Aristotle , are often made by referring to the Bekker section numbers. Politics spans the Bekker sections a to b.
This new Dover edition, first published in , and reissued in , is a unabridged and unaltered republication. It is published through the authorization of Sir Ernest Barker and special arrangement with Methuen and Company. A revised edition of the first four chapters of this book was published by Methuen and Company in under the title of Greek Political Theory: Plato and his Predecessors , and was reprinted in a third edition in A translation of the Politics of Aristotle with an Introduction, notes and Appendixes was also published by the author in , and may serve as an aid in the study of the last seven chapters of this book.
Plato c. His greatest impact was Aristotle, but he influenced Western political thought in many ways. The Academy, the school he founded in B. The philosophy of Plato is marked by the usage of dialectic, a method of discussion involving ever more profound insights into the nature of reality, and by cognitive optimism, a belief in the capacity of the human mind to attain the truth and to use this truth for the rational and virtuous ordering of human affairs. Plato believes that conflicting interests of different parts of society can be harmonized.
relations are concerned. Plato's and Aristotle's thoughts on gender relations, namely the equality of men and women differ. Plato thinks that the.
Страна. Любовь. Дэвид Беккер должен был погибнуть за первое, второе и третье. ГЛАВА 103 Стратмор возник из аварийного люка подобно Лазарю, воскресшему из мертвых.
Танкадо ухватился за это предложение. Через три года он ушел из Ай-би-эм, поселился в Нью-Йорке и начал писать программы. Его подхватила новая волна увлечения криптографией.
Коммандер. Нужно выключить ТРАНСТЕКСТ. У нас… - Он нас сделал, - сказал Стратмор, не поднимая головы. - Танкадо обманул всех. По его тону ей стало ясно, что он все понял.