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Autor: reviewessays • December 5, 2010 • 1,085 Words (5 Pages) • 576 Views
Plato vs. Aristotle
Socrates developed many theories in regards with the political issues. He passes these onto Plato and from Plato to Aristotle. Each time these political issues were passed on they changed. Plato and Aristotle lived in the fourth century, BCE. They were both great thinkers in regard to philosophy and both had wonderful views. They both had different views on politics and philosophy. Plato supports the higher forms (Gods) and Aristotle supports the natural science. Now Plato is referred to as the first political philosopher and Aristotle as the first political scientist. There are a lot of differences between the two even though Aristotle was a great student of Plato. There are some similarities too, but first we will discuss the differences.
As far a politics, Plato stated in the Republic that philosopher rulers who possess knowledge of the good should be the governors in a city-state. The Republic is the most important dialogue within Plato's teaching of politics. It is a political, and a work dealing with what traits or virtues one must have, as its whole purpose is to show that the one cannot be separated from the other. His approach to metaphysics is portrayed throughout the Republic where he talks about the Allegory of the Cave. He believes that people cannot see the forms; they only see their shadow on the wall. His views are very theoretical. Aristotle feels that the rules come form the politics and that is the proper way of governing a state.
Plato's theory of forms states that there is a higher form for everything that exists. He believes that one can't see the higher forms unless they love knowledge and only those who think about the reality of things will understand the higher forms. In the Republic Plato's philosophy of the philosopher kings is that only philosophers are in tough with reality so they are the only ones fit to rule the rest. (Miller, Jensen, 490)
Plato wanted to create a perfect society; his perfect society consisted of three groups: Guardians, Auxiliaries, and Artisan. Guardians were made up of rulers (policy and decision makers) non-rulers (occupy the level of civil servants). The auxiliaries are the people with strength, courage and military capacity; they account for a small sector of society. The last level, Artisan, is the worker, like farmer. He felt if the last level ruled, the state would collapse and be a total chaos. He felt the guardians were the ones made to be rulers because they had wisdom, knowledge and knew the good. In other words Plato felt the common man wasn't intelligent or capable of dealing with the concepts that influence the state such as economics, policy of foreign affairs, and other relative matters. (Chretien, 2005).
Aristotle, unlike Plato, wasn't focused on the perfect society; he just wanted to improve the one that already existed in his lifetime and for the future. He felt that society itself should try to utilize the best system in can attain. Aristotle didn't agree with Plato's idea of allowing one class to govern a state. He felt now allowing classes to interact would inhibit those who possess the ability to engage in political life and injustice. Aristotle whole-heartedly felt that those who rule sacrifice their happiness for control. Aristotle puts an emphasis on Polis. Polis is where you allow those who naturally possess mortal intellect to rise to higher positions, like Plato says. Aristotle strongly felt that a good citizen possess prudence (carefulness), moderation (self control) and justice (fairness) above all to rule and to be ruled. He felt justice is a political good within the polis and must promote the common interest of the people in the state (Chretien, 2005). In conclusion Aristotle felt that everyone should have some say in governmental issues and policies. He was more concerned with citizenship and democratic views.