Aristotle & Plato on Stasis

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On Aristotle's view, stasis represented an arrest of the political processes of a healthy polis. The health of the polis corresponded directly to the participation of its citizens in political friendship, homonoia, which is correctly translated, according to, as "together-mindedness or like-mindedness.

Greek's usage usually prefers the impersonal verb form which "conveys the meaning of a conflict that includes the entire polis, not just its factioneers. To provide a broader context for the Aristotelian material, analyzation of Thucydides' description of the advanced stages of stasis at Kerkyra is essential. There are five generic themes characteristic of stasis, including the rhetorical replacement of common values by values of private interest, the use of terror and fraud to satisfy desires for honor (philotimia) and unfair gain (pleonexia), and the unfettered passions that generally rule a state convulse by stasis. Thucydides' historical account of Kerkyra shows stasis to be an irrational and destructive process whose ends are endlessly various and unpredictable.

Plato's philosophical explanation of the underlying causes of stasis, showing how Plato's theory informed Aristotle's later work. Plato applied the concept of stasis to composite units, such as the body, soul, or social groups, whose cooperating parts cease to operate in accordance with their nature, thereby interrupting the telic operation of the entire organism. Plato therefore defined stasis not by reference to specific features, such as violence or unconstitutionality, but as an aberrant condition due to a disruption of the work of the organism. In political terms, when reason ceases to govern, justice ceases its work of ensuring cooperation, friendship, and like-mindedness within the polis

Aristotle connects the activity of the soul with participation in political justice and links happiness with logos and justice in the actualization of the human soul's capacity for engagement in the...
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