Aristotle's State Theory Essay

1956 Words Oct 21st, 2008 8 Pages
Aristotle’s claim that the state is the highest, most developed form of social organisation is at the centre of one of his major works, ‘The Politics’ . His theory focuses mainly on the state as a natural progression, and draws upon two central themes; ‘the good life’ and human beings as ‘political animals’ . Whilst Aristotle does raise many valid points, he does not convince us that the state is the pinnacle of social organisation. Although the state may be the highest form of social organisation, Aristotle fails to demonstrate how an active, political life equals a ‘good life’. Aristotle’s major use of teleology is another drawback, which limits his argument in many ways. To illustrate these concerns it is important to analysis …show more content…
Rather, Aristotle puts in place thin persuasive arguments which attempt to cover obvious deficiencies in his work. Aristotle attempts to cover this can be see is his example of two separate lives; one is the active, political human being, whilst the other is the ‘contemplative life’ . He argues that the active, political life is far superior to the former. Aristotle claims ‘that he who does nothing cannot do well’ ; political action is necessary in order to achieve the ‘good life’. He supports this by asserting that such activity is ‘just’ and ‘noble’, and essentially argues that happiness equals activity . Aristotle is yet to explain thoroughly why human beings must be politically active; he instead places a weak persuasive example in its place.
Although Aristotle places a great deal of emphasis on his ability to use reason, it is difficult to believe Aristotle could so simply describe the ‘good life’ in such a way. However, if we were to assume that this was true, we can still find flaws in Aristotle’s argument. Aristotle claims happiness can be found in both contemplative and active lives, with the active live securing superior happiness. However, Aristotle also asserts that the contemplative life does not incur activity, and therefore cannot have happiness . This is a contradiction which Aristotle does not account for, and reveals inconsistencies in his argument. Indeed, Aristotle’s failure to demonstrate

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