Estrangement: Political Philosophy and Good Life

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Blake Lewis
Professor Eskandari
Political Science 132
December 5, 2005
Unessentially Estranged
Chapter two of Glenn Tinder's, "Political Thinking: The Perennial Questions" on estrangement and unity asks us whether we as humans are estranged in essence. This question really sets the tone for the rest of the book, because if humans are estranged then we would not be living together in societies, therefore not needing political science to answer such questions that deal with societies. As Tinder describes it, " politics is the art of reconcilliation, and that the need for this art always arises from some kind of estrangement"(23). Tinder's point does not answer the question of whether or not we are truly estranged in essence, that would be to easy! It merely suggests that with humans living in societies estrangement arises, not that we are estranged in essence. By deffinition estrangement signifies alienation: a separation from hostility. And it is derrived from the latin word extraneare: to treat as a stranger. So do humans by nature treat others as strangers, are they alienated from one another at there core? Tinder attempts to show us two such philosophers who would show us the two sides of this argument so that we may gain clarity and decide the essence of humans with the knowledge of great thinkers as our foundation. Those two great thinkers are Aristotle who believes that humans are not estranged, and Thomas Hobbes who subscribes to the idea that humans are estranged in essence. So with these two thinkers as the backbone of this debate we can get to the bottom of the question at hand.

The seminal philosopher in the argument that humans are not estranged is Aristotle. In Politea, Aristotle states that: .. by nature man is a political animal. Hence man have a desire for life together, even when they have no need to seek each other's help. Nevertheless, common interest too is a factor in bringing them together, in so far as it contributes to...
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