Aristotle: the Hellenic and Universal Elements in Political Thought

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EXAMINE THE HELLENIC AND UNIVERSAL ELEMENTS IN ARISTOTLE’S POLITICAL THOUGHT

Aristotle was not only a political thinker but also a political scientist. If Plato is considered the first political philosopher Aristotle is rightly called the first political scientist. He studies politics from an empirical and scientific perspective. The method he used in the study of politics was inductive and analytical. He reached the conclusions after collection and analysis of data. He studied the constitution of a number of then existing Greek city-states and thereby laid the foundation of a new subject called the Comparative Politics. His method was therefore, not only inductive and analytical but also empirical and comparative.

Aristotle advocates the doctrine of natural origin of state. The state has come into being following a long process of evolution, from family through village or community to the state. Man is social animal who likes to live with others. This very nature of man gave birth to the institution of family. But family was unable to meet the increasing necessity of human beings. Therefore they created the village or the community. It was the half-way house between the individual and the state. The village or the community was also insufficient to meet the increasing needs of men. Thus state came into being to meet and satisfy the greater needs of human beings.

Aristotle advocates the organic theory of state. The relation between individual and state is essentially organic. State is the whole and individuals are parts of it. This concept of state lays stress on dependence of individual on the state.

Aristotle believes in natural inequalities of human being and supports the institution of slavery. To him slavery is a necessary part of civilized life. He also provides some psychological arguments in support of the institution of slavery.

Aristotle gives a very narrow definition of the concept of citizenship. He emphasizes on active participation in...
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