The Doctrine of the Mean in Aristotle's "Politics"
This paper analyzes Aristotle's 'Doctrine of the Mean,' as laid out in "Nicomachean Ethics" and examines, in detail, its application in this philosopher's "Politics".
# 58205 | 2,110 words | 3 sources | APA | 2005 |
Published on May 03, 2005 in Philosophy (Ancient Greek) , Political Science (Political Theory) , Political Science (General)
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Examining the texts of Aristotle's "Nicomachean Ethics" and "Politics" side by side, one finds parallels between his reasoning with regard to the individual and to the state. This paper shows that, in "Nicomachean Ethics," Aristotle discusses happiness, virtue, and the good life on an individual level and lays out necessary provisions for the good life of a person. He maintains that virtue is a necessary element of happiness, but this requirement of virtue for the happy life goes beyond the individual level, as we see it in "Politics". There, this paper shows, Aristotle claims that man is by nature a "political animal," and for that reason, he can only achieve the above-mentioned virtues as part of a state. Since the city is formed by many individuals, the virtue of the state is constituted by the individual virtues of its citizens. This paper shows, therefore, that fulfillment of requirements for the happy life of an individual, namely being virtuous and self-sufficient, is equally necessary for the state as a whole in order to be happy. We thus see that the virtue of a state is directly linked to the virtue of an individual, and therefore, the means of achieving the former will run parallel with those of the latter.
From the Paper:"Aristotle's discussion of ownership of property early in the book gives us another perspective on the Doctrine of the Mean in regard to the state. Answering the question whether property has to be owned in common or privately, he criticizes the communism of property suggested by Plato in "The Republic" as one extreme that does result its best use. If the produce of work is to be shared equally whereas contribution to the production is unequal among individuals, "complaints are bound to arise between those who ... take much but work little and those who take less but work more." Such communism is thus viewed as a source of discontent and quarrels among the population, proving not to be the best use of property."
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