Comparison of Plato and Aristotle's Political Theories Term Paper

  • Length: 10 pages
  • Subject: Black Studies - Philosophy
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #19177001

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Plato and Aristotle's political theories

The most capacious account of Plato's established philosophical views has been published in "The Republic" as a comprehensive handling of the most basic values for the behavior of human life. As it deals with a large number of matters, The Republic can be interpreted in a lot of diverse manner: as a discourse on political conjecture and observation, as an academic manual, or the manner in which to protect moral behavior for instance. (Plato: The State and the Soul) Politics written by Aristotle gives a substantial assessment of the beginning and configuration of the nation. (Theme Analysis: The Politics) A significant matter to keep in mind while taking into account the opinion and involvement of Aristotle in Philosophy is the fact that he was there 2000 years back. One of the early foundations done by him was Lykeion that was involved solely with pure sciences, metaphysics, political science and logic. Appreciating this, we are required to pay attention to any relevance of Aristotle to our "modern" Philosophy. (Ideals of Aristotle and Hayek: A Synthesis)

The concept of Aristotle is different from that of Plato to the extent that Aristotle is an empiricist -- he appreciates the relevance of immediate examination to find out the truth. In contrast, Plato feels that simple logical conclusion can confirm the ultimate authenticity. As acquaintance is a vital characteristic of quality living and honest behavior can be acquired by ethical education and through framing of laws, Aristotle believed life within an ethical society as a significant part of human morality. Also in the Ethics, he had stated that discipline within the community is recognized by the general idea of justice. Adjudged in the right manner, justice is related to the reasonability or equality in interpersonal relationships. Hence, Aristotle provided an idea regarding distributive justice which took account of the societal correction of personal errors. He further observed that justice is the replacement of property needs cautious explanation to protect fairness. The extensive idea of political justice nevertheless is to be identified merely within the perspective of a complete society. (Theme Analysis: The Politics)

Employing the personality 'Socrates' as an illusory narrator, Plato regards the character and the importance of justice and other virtues as they seem in the composition of society in general and in the character of an individual human being. This in its course results in deliberation of human character, the accomplishment of knowledge, the difference between exterior manifestation and the truth, the elements of an efficient learning system, and the basis of ethics. (Plato: The State and the Soul) To Plato, justice constituted one of the four key virtues coupled with self-control, bravery, and knowledge. Aristotle, disciple of Plato, broadened the concept of virtue by reasoning that righteous behavior should take up some midway between extreme conduct and conduct that lacks. This notion was named by Aristotle as the 'Golden Mean' and thus an individual possessing an ethical maturity is the person who is in search of that mean in every of her activities.

To Plato and Aristotle, the Golden Mean of justice might be residing in the notion of equality. Justice, akin to equality indicates that individuals receive what they are worthy of. In case they receive more, something is too much; in case they receive a smaller amount, something is lacking. It could extremely be intricate to find out precisely as to what that an individual does merit, however according to standardized procedures ideal type of justice is regarding ideally similar and performances to their desserts. It is not so intricate to observe the reasons behind justice will be a virtue. In a society in which substandard individuals receive more and in enhanced manner compared to what they should be getting, whereas honest individuals receive less and worse than what they merit is a society which is dishonest, incompetent, and opportune for an uprising. This is, really, the fundamental basis of all revolts that society is unfair and requires improvement at the fundamental point. Ideal justice will hence seem to be a virtue not due to the fact that it is reasonable, however yet since it leads to a more serene and pleasant society in general. (Mercy vs. Justice: A Clash of Virtues)

Concurrently, forgiveness is usually considered as a significant virtue -- a society in which there is complete lack of forgiveness will be a society that is oppressive, there is a dearth of freedom and would be devoid of the three fundamental ethics of compassion. That is strange; nevertheless, since forgiveness basically needs that justice not be performed. It has to be understood at this point that forgiveness is not an issue of showing sympathy or behaving well, even though these virtues might result in the likelihood of expressing increased forgiveness. Forgiveness even is not equal to empathy or compassion. The thing forgiveness involves is that certain things less than justice is one. In situations where a criminal who has been convicted begs for forgiveness, in that case he is requesting that a lenient penalty be given compared to what is slated for. While a Christian proscribes before God for forgiveness, she is requesting Him for a lesser penalty than He has in store for her.

In a society where there is forgiveness, does not that necessitate that justice be forsaken? Maybe not since justice is not the reverse of forgiveness: in case we accept the hypothesis of virtue morals as explained by Aristotle we will infer that forgiveness is midway between the blemishes of unkindness and negligence, whereas justice in within the blemishes of unkindness and gentleness. Hence, the two are compared with the blemishes of unkindness, however, they are never identical and in reality usually at the advantage with one another. And don't be misled; they are in fact frequently in contrast. An immense amount of threat is involved in exhibiting forgiveness since in case it is employed very frequently or in the improper situations, there are chances that it might in fact weaken itself. A lot of philosophers and framers of laws have observed that that to the extent one excuses offences, it sheds the fear among the criminal as they get the message that a situation has come when they can be commit crimes and get away without facing any punishment. That in its way constitutes one of the objects that fuel mutinies: the belief that the whole social fabric is corrupt. (Mercy vs. Justice: A Clash of Virtues)

Justice is necessary as a sound and operating society needs the availability of justice till individuals repose faith that justice will be made, they will better be capable of reposing faith in one another. Forgiveness is also needed as A.C. Grayling has put forth, "each one of us require forgiveness ourselves." The lessening of ethical dues might bolster peccadillo, but it might also bolster virtue by providing people one more opportunity. Virtues are conventionally perceived as being in the middle among the two vices whereas justice and forgiveness might be virtues instead of blemishes, is it plausible that there exists still another virtue which happens to be midway between them? Is it something like a golden mean among golden means? I case there exists, it does not have a name but having the sense as to when to display forgiveness and when to display stern justice is the solution in going though the maze of risks that too much of any one of them might intimidate. (Mercy vs. Justice: A Clash of Virtues)

Envisaging their probable source in the pre-historical past, Plato reasoned that societal formations takes place owing to a specific cause. Humans operating at the individual level are never self-reliant; nobody functioning at their individual level will be capable of getting every true requirements of life. To solve this impasse, we collectively work into communities for the shared accomplishment of our common objectives. This becomes successful, as we will be capable of functioning in a more effective manner when every individual within us assumes expertise in the practice of a particular skill: I shall be manufacture all the footwear, you remain in charge of raising all the vegetables; she is engaged in carpentry; etc. Hence Plato was of the opinion that segregating the activities and having expertise in a particular area of labor lay the solution to the creation of a meaningful society. The outcome of this unique urge is a society made up of a lot of people categorized into separate vocations like tailors, peasants, construction professionals and so forth in accordance with the importance of their task of giving some constituent part for the mutual benefit. (Plato: The State and the Soul)

However, the seamless functioning of the entire society will necessitate some extra utilities which become important just due to the setting up of the social organization itself -- the settlement of the disagreements among the members and the safeguarding of the city against outside assaults, for instance. Thus taking the rule of…

Cite This Term Paper:

"Comparison Of Plato And Aristotle's Political Theories" (2004, November 11) Retrieved January 23, 2017, from

"Comparison Of Plato And Aristotle's Political Theories" 11 November 2004. Web.23 January. 2017. <>

"Comparison Of Plato And Aristotle's Political Theories", 11 November 2004, Accessed.23 January. 2017,