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Aristotle’s Views on Plato and Property. PHIL 2011 2006-07. Reprise of Republic class and property system. Two classes: Warriors Husbandmen, craftsmen, and all others; we do not know how property is organized (2.5) Warrior class produces the philosopher-kings;

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reprise of republic class and property system
Reprise of Republic class and property system
  • Two classes:
    • Warriors
    • Husbandmen, craftsmen, and all others; we do not know how property is organized (2.5)
  • Warrior class produces the philosopher-kings;
  • All members of this class subject to community property requirement
  • Actual states such as Sparta and Crete had common meals provided for by product of public or private lands—Aristotle approves of this.
aristotle s view of human nature
Aristotle’s view of human nature
  • “…surely the love of self is a feeling implanted nature, and not given in vain [nature does nothing in vain]….”
  • What is Plato’s view of human nature?
  • Helpful hint: a political philosopher’s view of HN is often the key to his philosophy!
is aristotle promoting altruism if so how
Is Aristotle promotingAltruism? If so, how?
  • “’Friends’…will have all things common’”
  • “It is clearly better that property should be private, but the use of it common”;
  • Spartans allow fellow-citizens use of their slaves, dogs and horses!
  • “…there is the greatest pleasure in doing a kindness or service to friends…which can only be rendered when a man has private property.”
  • “…the special business of the legislator [law-giver] is to create in men this benevolent disposition.”
liberality depends on private property
“Liberality” depends on private property!
  • What is “liberality”?
  • An important Aristotelian virtue, also called “magnanimity”;
  • It means generosity
  • So to be generous we need to have something of our own to give!
  • Consider the case of charity to assist people in need
  • Versus use of public monies
  • Is one way better than the other?
regulation of property
Regulation of Property
  • Many constitutions recognized influence of property on society;
  • No one else has imitated Plato’ community of women and children;
  • Laws of Solon prohibited unlimited property
  • Phaleas of Chalcedon: equality of possessions
    • Easier in colonies
    • Not very feasible in established states
    • But Lycurgus equalized property at Sparta!
property population connection 2 6
Property-Population Connection (2.6)
  • If property to be regulated
  • Population must also be regulated scientifically
  • Using actuarial methods: child mortality and sterility rates of couples!
  • Why?
  • Some ancient legislators thought number of families should remain unchanged
  • Aristotle in Book 7: a city may decide to regulate population, even by abortion.
why is inequality a problem
Why is Inequality a problem?
  • Plato’s “two cities” of the rich and the poor
  • Class war
  • Injustice: some in want, while others luxuriate in riches
  • But equality can also be unjust if parcels are not sufficient to sustain the possessor!
moderation in equalization 2 7
Moderation in equalization (2.7)
  • If properties equal, they should be of moderate size;
  • Rich should not be made poor, for they will cause revolutions;
  • The real issue is not property size, but men’s desires
  • How are these to be regulated?
  • By education!
today s question
Today’s Question:
  • On page 36, Aristotle suggested that property should be in a certain sense, common; but as a general rule, private. But then he suggested that there will be more quarrels when people have private property than when people have all in common. Do you think it is a strong argument against private property, and do you think it is a viable option to share all in common (wives, children, property, education, honor) within a state? Why and Why not?
  • Things to consider: degree of unity, individualism at that time, self-sufficiency for a state, distribution of property among all citizens in a state.
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