By Fred D. Miller, David Keyt
Aristotle's "Politics" is usually thought of to be a founding textual content of Western political philosophy. It defines man's dating to the nation, the character of political group, the mechanisms of justice and a critique of the political stipulations of the time. The papers during this quantity were accrued including a view to offering a finished better half to the "Politics". One dates from the nineteenth century, 4 have been written specifically for this quantity, and the remainder were revised and edited to fit the volume's wishes.
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Extra info for A Companion to Aristotle's Politics
A body is composed of parts, and they ought to grow proportionately, that its symmetry may be preserved ; otherwise it perishes;" as it certainly would, if "the foot were six feet long and the rest of the body only two spans . " So it is with the State. 3. l 302b33-l 303a2 ) . The same idea lies at the root of Aristotle's advice to those who wish to preserve either of the two principal "perverted" forms of government, oligarchy or democracy. I t is the essence of these constitutions that they represent the preponderance of one social element in the State, whether it be that of the few rich or the many poor, and that this class rules not for the common good but in its own interest.
I f we turn to the account of the animal body, we come upon a precisely similar distinction. There too the whole body and each of its organs exists for the sake of a certain function or "action" (praxis) , but only certain parts of the body are regarded as ends . These are distinguished as the specially "organic" parts, and among them are counted the hand and foot, to which at the beginning of the Politics Aristotle compares the citizen of the State. To these organic or heterogeneous parts the rest, which are homogeneous, - such as the blood, flesh, fat, bones, and sinews - merely serve as constituents or means.
As a child he is only potentially what he should be or is destined to be; and therefore he grows. And so, as a master, a husband, a father, a member of a village, his possibilities are still in various degrees latent, only partially brought into life. I t is only in the State that they come into full play, and therefore the State is "natural" to him. And this, which is the law of man's being, is the law of the whole world. Throughout the universe this process of the realization of ends is going on; and, what is more, these ends or "natures" are not all of equal value, but form a series of grades of excellence.
A Companion to Aristotle's Politics by Fred D. Miller, David Keyt