Aristotle's Politics

Read this text. As you read, think about the Nicomachean Ethics and pay attention to how Aristotle weaves ethical precepts into the fabric of political action. Aristotle argues that a law that mirrors the natural order is of the highest good to the polis. Citizenship is rationed (i.e., only free, land-owning males of native ancestry are considered citizens), but comes with serious responsibilities, often in the form of public service. As you read, consider the following question: who was considered a citizen, and who was excluded from this category?

Study Guide Questions:

  1. Aristotle objected to Plato that his search for unity ended by abolishing what is distinctively political about politics. What is the nature of the complaint, and is Aristotle right?
  2. Aristotle states: "[M]echanics or any other class that is not the producer of virtue have no share in the state". What do you think about this view of citizenship?

Because this text is lengthy, you may find it helpful to read it over the course of a few days.