Aristotle and Plato Compared

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In the second book of The Politics, Aristotle digresses from Plato’s recommendations and provides a counter framework for what he believes is an ideal state. The best ideal state according to Aristotle is one that is not ruled by philosopher kings. This main feature of rulership is what distances Aristotle from Plato. Is it natural for there to be a group of philosophers ruling? Is it natural that these philosophers must be removed from private life? These are the questions Aristotle deals with in the second book of The Politics. In his book, Aristotle also details the role of women, slaves and foreigners. Plato would definitely be upset with his student Aristotle because of the main fact of his idea of rulership and the removal of the philosopher class. It is important to note that although Aristotle’s ideal state has greater exclusivity of groups than Plato; its benefits are far greater and practical in creating virtuous citizens. This essay will go on to discuss and critically analyze the main features of human nature, communalism, and private property of both philosophers.

Before we encounter Aristotle’s practicable state we must look at Plato’s idea of communalism. Plato highlights that it is philosopher kings who should rule and be removed from private life. His notions are quite extreme because of the mere fact that his form of rulership is one that is stripped from attaining wealth and also familial roles. One can argue that this notion is doomed to fail. If this notion of communalism were to be established in a city-state, citizens would not be able to tell who there biological siblings are, which can evidently lead to incest. Another critique to Plato’s communalism is the fact that citizens would have no attachment each other and can disrupt social interaction. For example, some of the best aspects of social interaction will be eliminated if property was communal. For all citizens must share everything, or nothing, or some things but not others. It...
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