The subject which the question focuses on is the view of Aristotle’s ideal state. The distinction between hierarchy and equality is at the heart of the understanding of Aristotle’s ideal state. He claims that an ideal state ought to be arranged to maximise the happiness of its citizens. So happiness together with political action is the telos of human life. This end can be reached by living a better ethical life. However, he endorses hierarchy over equality. On one hand we have the equality which benefits everyone; on the other hand we have the distinction of classes meant in terms of diversities and differences where the middle one appears to be the means through which the state is balanced. Furthermore what is clear for Aristotle is that there is a notion of natural inequality which can be evidently seen with the argument of slavery by nature and the role of women in society. Thence, in this paper I argue that Aristotle’s ideal state is a place of hierarchy rather than equality. This essay will focus on several reasons why we can define Aristotle’s ideal state as a hierarchical structure. These reasons are mainly: the exclusiveness of groups in the society, the division of classes, and the concept of inferiority of slaves and women. To do so, the paper has been divided into four parts, which will show, through direct quotations from the text and then with my personal opinion linked with several arguments and counterarguments, how hierarchy is more relevant in Aristotle’s view of society. The first part analyses the importance in a state of ruling and being ruled in a cyclical way, in opposition to the exclusion of groups from power. The second part focuses on the divisions of classes and their double possible interpretation. The...
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...abilizes the reader by not suggesting a real conclusion. Anyway to be fair if one looks at the text with a more critical and deep analysis, one can assume that he definitively asserts that the state is a place of hierarchies and he is very strong on confirming the inferiority of slaves and women in the polis. Somehow he also has some modern and open-minded ideas such as the one of the rule and be ruled or the balances of classes and the relevance of the middle one. In conclusion to be quite honest enough we cannot debase his stances because we have to contextualise the text and in this sense, putting his work in a more traditional and proper context and maybe also trying to empathize with that time period, it can be in a certain way justified or at least comprehended.
ARISTOTLE, SINCLAIR, T. A., & SAUNDERS, T. J. (1992). The Politics. London, Penguin.
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In conclusion, Aristotle offers a compelling analysis of man’s relation to his fellow man, the need for people to engage socially, and the participatory role we have to play within the political sphere. Furthermore Aristotle’s analysis of democracy are highly applicable to providing a well ordered state, and in fact his philosophy has influenced Western Liberalism thought and impacted the enlightenment in many ways and we continue to benefit from his precepts to this day.
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