Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and scientist. He was pupil of Plato and remained in the “Academy” until the age of thirty seven. His marvelous work on vast area of study including social sciences, natural sciences and even in arts such as in theater, drama and play had influenced Christian scholasticism, medieval Islamic philosophy, Renaissance, Reformation and even the age of Enlightenment. He had written seven books namely Posterior Analytics, Rhetoric, Metaphysics, Politics, The Poetics, The Generation of Animals and Nicomachean Ethics in which he had focused on the human being’s purpose of existence, importance of state and forms of state, ethics, citizenship, persuasive capacity and the scientific process to evaluate and search about any subject with critical analysis and by applying reason on every aspect. Western political philosophy is highly marked with stupendous work of Aristotle.
“If Plato’s prose was silver, Aristotle’s was a flowing river of gold”
Many Enlightenment political theorists in those the most famous such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke who had greatly influenced the society by their astonishing work. They were also influenced by Aristotle’s concept of state. In his book “ Politics” he argued that man could not achieve happiness without the existence of state ,he would be beast or God outside the state, just like Hobbes and Locke gave their theory of “state of nature” they both gave the argument about the nature of man and flaws in the state of nature then in comparison gave the better society and form of government with protection in the “social contract theory” in which they gave the concept of that government in which people make social contract just like Aristotle’s concept of the relationships ,and people participate in the decision making process with their unique property of speech and reason ,which will make a political authority and human beings will earn peace and happiness. Aristotle had classified states into six types and gave the best political system on the basis of the practicality, Aristotle rejected tyranny, oligarchy and democracy because he argued that these are the perverted rules that are based n their own interest such as pleasure, wealth and freedom and monarchy and aristocracy are not practical .He had classified the types regarding virtuousness that ruling is an art and one should be excelled in it therefore he opted Polity as the best form of government because of the human rationality. He further argued that polity was not observed practically like oligarchy and democracy which are the extreme ends and they had conflicts (rich and poor)because they both wanted their justification of power that will lead to the revolutions and constant conflicts as we have seen revolutions for rights and freedom in the intellectual age because there was no moderation, So Aristotle with his wisdom proposed the middle position with moderate means of wealth and power that is the virtuous class the Middle class which makes the best practical regimes “Polity” .Aristotle had difference in his views with Plato as Plato viewed states hierarchical structure such family makes villages that makes states but Aristotle viewed the purpose of state. Thomas Hobbes was the supporter of the complete monarchy much influenced by the Cavendish family but Aristotle did not supported monarchy although he taught Alexander the great and Locke supported democracy but Aristotle seen middles class as virtuous. He had classified knowledge into Theoretical, Practical and Productive in which the most important is the practical knowledge in which ethics and politics lies. According to Aristotle politics and ethics go parallel because ethics reflects individual’s character regarding rhetoric, knowledge and reason.
In morals he gave the theory of four causes, elaborated the meaning of happiness and meaning of virtue which are all related to the existence of human being, state. Four causes are, formal cause, material cause, efficient cause and final cause .In the formal cause body of human being is classified into male and female, in material cause the anatomy and body functions are studied, efficient cause is its origin and source of its existence and in the final cause purpose of its existence which is happiness is studied. Human’s ultimate purpose of life is to achieve happiness. He has a teleological view of nature in which everything in nature has a purpose of its existence. His assumption was that happiness is the chief, ultimate goal we are always aiming at. He saw happiness as activity and not emotions; he divided human soul into rational and non rational manner which makes the sphere of morality. According to Aristotle citizens are those who possess reason and participate in the activities of the state, people with undeveloped reason(children), have reason but lacks authority (women because by virtue men are superior) and don’t have reason at all (slaves) are not citizens of the state. Citizens can be good human beings in the best political system. He had wrote the methods such as tragedy to improve plays and dramas because Aristotle viewed arts as a good and influential source which had great impact on the human mind and reason unlike John Locke who opposes the languages and arts and focused on mere science and philosophy, but Hegel also focused on the art that it depicts the human imagination.
Aristotle was indeed the most influential philosopher of his age who had introduced new concepts that had impacted in shaping the world history. .He had made knowledge for all, through lyceum unlike the Plato’s limited Academy that has contributed to his concept of state function through the rational citizens. He had proposed many key concepts in the arts which are still used such as tragedy to write an influential and good play as well as the key feature to be influenced and persuasive in speech by rhetoric. Aristotle’s philosophical concepts had negative impacts, about the slavery and inferiority of the woman in the contemporary age. Now his concepts are being challenged by the Labor rights which arose new theories such as communism and international bodies to discourage slavery and for the promotion of equality and human rights, there arose series of revolutions and civil wars in the history ,just for political identity and equal rights. Women are struggling for the most basic rights such as equal wages, right to vote and laws for domestic abuse which are the points of the feminism theory. His views of state that without state man is beast or God ,are also arguable in the intellectual age in which many theories such as Liberalism arose, which limits the concept of the state for international relations and harmony among nations and free trade. He was against the forms of government such as monarchy, oligarchy and democracy which he said are non practical but all these forms are still present in the world and west had struggled to achieve democracy which is the best form of government according to west which gives equal rights and legislature to every class of the state because democracy had worked for west man seeks that form of government which can function properly according to their society ,if it didn’t function well in Athens then it couldn’t be abolished and rationality couldn’t be limited for some people it is just like that you limit freedom of speech to some people slaves and women can participate in politics because they also have the capacity of speech. His concept of the citizenship is also flawed because it promotes unequal distribution of rights and misogyny. Modern mind can’t swallow some of his concepts .His concepts have many thesis and antithesis, world is working for a synthesis and this process is continued.
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