Making sense of aristotle essays in politics

The Nicomachean Ethics is very often abbreviated "NE", or "EN", and books and chapters are generally referred to by Roman and Arabic numerals, respectively, along with corresponding Bekker numbers. Background[ edit ] In many ways this work parallels Aristotle's Eudemian Ethicswhich has only eight books, and the two works can be fruitfully compared.

Making sense of aristotle essays in politics

References and Further Reading 1.

An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.

However, like the other ancient philosophers, it was not the stereotypical ivory tower existence. It is noteworthy that although Aristotle praises the politically active life, he spent most of his own life in Athens, where he was not a citizen and would not have been allowed to participate directly in politics although of course anyone who wrote as extensively and well about politics as Aristotle did was likely to be politically influential.

As a scholar, Aristotle had a wide range of interests. He wrote about meteorology, biology, physics, poetry, logic, rhetoric, and politics and ethics, among other subjects.

His writings on many of these interests remained definitive for almost two millennia. They remained, and remain, so valuable in part because of the comprehensiveness of his efforts. For example, in order to understand political phenomena, he had his students collect information on the political organization and history of different cities.

The question of how these writings should be unified into a consistent whole if that is even possible is an open one and beyond the scope of this article. This is because Aristotle believed that ethics and politics were closely linked, and that in fact the ethical and virtuous life is only available to someone who participates in politics, while moral education is the main purpose of the political community.

As he says in Nicomachean Ethics at b30, "The end [or goal] of politics is the best of ends; and the main concern of politics is to engender a certain character in the citizens and to make them good and disposed to perform noble actions.

We are likely to regard politics and politicians as aiming at ignoble, selfish ends, such as wealth and power, rather than the "best end", and many people regard the idea that politics is or should be primarily concerned with creating a particular moral character in citizens as a dangerous intrusion on individual freedom, in large part because we do not agree about what the "best end" is.

In fact, what people in Western societies generally ask from politics and the government is that they keep each of us safe from other people through the provision of police and military forces so that each of us can choose and pursue our own ends, whatever they may be.

This has been the case in Western political philosophy at least since John Locke. Development of individual character is left up to the individual, with help from family, religion, and other non-governmental institutions.

Making sense of aristotle essays in politics

The reader is also cautioned against immediately concluding from this that Ar istotle was wrong and we are right.

The reference above to "Nicomachean Ethics at b30" makes use of what is called Bekker pagination. This entry will make use of the Bekker pagination system, and will also follow tradition and refer to Nicomachean Ethics as simply Ethics.

There is also a Eudemian Ethics which is almost certainly by Aristotle and which shares three of the ten books of the Nicomachean Ethics and a work on ethics titled Magna Moralia which has been attributed to him but which most scholars now believe is not his work.

The translation is that of Martin Ostwald; see the bibliography for full information. Some of the reasons for this should be mentioned from the outset.

Aristotle did write for general audiences on these subjects, probably in dialogue form, but only a few fragments of those writings remain. This is also one reason why many students have difficulty reading his work: Many topics in the texts are discussed less fully than we would like, and many things are ambiguous which we wish were more straightforward.

But if Aristotle was lecturing from these writings, he could have taken care of these problems on the fly as he lectured, since presumably he knew what he meant, or he could have responded to requests for clarification or elaboration from his students.

Secondly, most people who read Aristotle are not reading him in the original Attic Greek but are instead reading translations. This leads to further disagreement, because different authors translate Aristotle differently, and the way in which a particular word is translated can be very significant for the text as a whole.

Making sense of aristotle essays in politics

There is no way to definitively settle the question of what Aristotle "really meant to say" in using a particular word or phrase. Third, the Aristotelian texts we have are not the originals, but copies, and every time a text gets copied errors creep in words, sentences, or paragraphs can get left out, words can be changed into new words, and so forth.ARISTOTLE ARISTOTLE Aristotle was born in ; he was a Greek philosopher, logician, and scientist.

Along with his teacher Plato, Aristotle is generally regarded as one of the most Influential ancient thinkers in a number of philosophical fields, including political theory.

Aristotle: Politics. In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle ( B.C.E.) describes the happy life intended for man by nature as one lived in accordance with virtue, and, in his Politics, he describes the role that politics and the political community must play in bringing about the virtuous life in the citizenry.

The Politics also provides analysis of the kinds of political community that. Aristotle's Politics study guide contains a biography of Aristotle, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

About Aristotle's Politics. Aristotle's Physics presents four types of cause: formal, material, final and efficient. Peter looks at all four, and asks whether evolutionary theory undermines final causes in nature.

Online Library of Liberty. A collection of scholarly works about individual liberty and free markets. A project of Liberty Fund, Inc. Aristotle often alludes to this ideal constitution (Aristotle, Politics b, a, a, b, b).

But whereas Plato calls the seventh the true constitution and the others imitations, Aristotle calls three of the others "true", and mentions the seventh only incidentally.

The Nicomachean Ethics - Online Library of Liberty