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Plato was a great philosopher as well as a teacher whose most renowned student, Aristotle, holds differing views. Plato’s Republic endeavors to create an “ideal state” typified by the ruling of the Philosopher-Kings while Aristotle’s Politics sticks to reality, a regime of identifying the partly suitable assertions of democrats, oligarchs, and aristocracy. This essay explains the differing perspectives of Aristotle’s Politics and Plato’s Republic. Probably, a disparity that comes up is that Politics is entirely different in construction as compared to The Republic. Whereas Politics is held up very slackly by the theme, Republic is a merged text. Plato’s Republic, in an extremely organized way, depicts an ideal society with the use of the Socratic Method. On the other hand, Aristotle’s Politics merely embraces the voices of Aristotle, but the content is not systematized with a conclusion in mind. Therefore, argumentatively, Plato’s Republic is objective while Aristotle’s Politics is subjective.
Plato versus Aristotle: The Purpose of Individuals
As aforementioned, Plato’s “ideal state” is typified by the ruling of the Philosopher-Kings as it is anchored in four virtues, viz. “intelligence, bravery, moderation and fairness” (Plato 309). Intelligence causes the republic to be wise, bravery causes it to be brave, moderation signifies the perception that everyone distinguishes his or her task, while fairness signifies the concord that results where everybody is actively involved in accomplishing his or her task and does not interfere with that of different individuals. The final point is a significant one because his comprehension of the state is that it develops since it accomplishes particular functional requirements (Plato 261).
The evident requirements in this case are shelter, clothing, and food (that supports nourishment). Plato insists that, only the city can offer all of the requirements because every person in it has a particular responsibility, which he or she carries out. The relationship with one another, as Plato suggests, is the reason for which the republic is established. The city can then draw together the craftsmen, the farmers, the poor, and the rich in an equal measure (Plato 391). Plato’s “ideal state” operates similar to organisms whereby each performs its day-to-day task in a bid to excel. This aspect underscores why Plato holds that a unique class of Philosopher-Kings (guardians) is best suited to rule the “ideal state” (city).
Plato’s perception that each person has a dissimilar but important accountability in the “ideal state” informs his consideration of who should rule it. Since the majority of men are merely interested with outcomes and effects and are normally unfair, just a few are worthy enough to rule the “ideal state”. However, fairness and desirable quality alone are not sufficient. The Philosopher-Kings (who rule) have to be physically strong, cherish wisdom and understanding, and be unreceptive to outside occurrences (Plato 439). The Philosopher-Kings also exist by a detached set of regulations as they can possess no private possessions, reside in an encampment, and guard the city against interlopers. Plato as well turns off the partition amid the private and the public and he contends for common kids and wives for the guardians in a bid to create a society amongst the rulers of the city. In addition, women take part in works meant for men like defending the city and putting food on the table. Ultimately, the city seeks to maintain oneness as opposed to nurturing different talents, which are inherent in its dwellers.
On his part, Aristotle does not differ that the distinctiveness in ability is the causal factor of an ideal city, as he affirms that not only is a city constituted of many people, but also of people who vary in kind (Aristotle 276). Whereas Plato considers that by nature a number of people are more suitable than others are for particular jobs, Aristotle differs by affirming that any individual has the capacity to rule, on condition that he or she observes the law in addition to being well educated. In addition, even if individuals may be different from each other, every one has a responsibility in assisting to define the society. Specifically, the reason behind being a resident in a society is the capacity to rule as well as be ruled. The excellent regimes, as Aristotle claims, are the ones where residents have the capacity and yearning to follow their own preferences, which is achieved by offering the majority the capability to rule.
Furthermore, Aristotle considers that common kids and wives could in fact weaken the stability of the state. The idea of common property referred to as communism by Aristotle, in reality ruptures the harmony of the city. Instead of splitting the private and public sectors, Aristotle affirms that the partition is very important by posing a question as to what could occur if a person diminished a many-articulated harmony to an agreement to one rhythm (Aristotle 308).
Plato versus Aristotle: Their Political Perspectives
The variation of the views of Plato and Aristotle concerning the nature of people and the city determines their political perspectives and the “most excellent” regime. In the case of Plato, the Philosopher-Kings are the only people that qualify to rule since they have exceptional abilities in addition to knowledge. Only the Philosopher-Kings are competent to rule due to their intelligence, bravery, moderation, and adherence to fairness. Plato equates Philosopher-Kings to physicians. When individuals are unwell, they go to people that can treat them, viz. physicians, for they are trained and qualified to handle such cases of illness.
Likewise, when people require governance, they should permit those who can govern to perform their task. Plato differentiates four kinds of government. In his view of timarchy, battle and the military take over and a win is the only outcome. For the case of oligarchies, wealth and the attainment of wealth propels the rulers. According to the third kind of regime, viz. democracy, there exists no control whatsoever and aspirations are recognized to be the same. Finally, in a dictatorship, the rulers obtain every authority for themselves and articulate to the public that which is in their best interest (Plato 307). In other words, the public’s needs are secondary to a dictator.
Aristotle cannot be misidentified for a liberal, although he however questions a number of the postulations underlying in Plato’s Republic. Most significantly, Aristotle’s Politics has more of a pluralist comprehension of government in view of the fact that Aristotle asserts that individuals having perfect education and compliance to the ruling are fit to rule. These individuals as well team up to rule in the masses (majority), something that frightens Plato and symbolizes mob rule. In accordance with Aristotle, several people and not a single person ought to rule for the reason that anybody can rule suitably when edified by the rules and many decrees jointly and in a better capacity when judged against one person ruling alone (Aristotle 110). Aristotle’s view of aristocracy (virtue) is comparable and rests in disagreement to Plato. Whereas Plato considers that the worthy are few and that virtue is innate, Aristotle believes that virtue as well as fairness can be educated to individuals. According to Aristotle, the city is in a number of approaches more comprehensive than the Plato’s. Finally, Aristotle differs with Plato in view of change. Aristotle affirms that laws at times have to be altered, and that art cannot be ideal always.
According to Plato, a strong state is vital to maintain order and defend the city, money is looked disapprovingly upon and the cause of much evil and family for the Philosopher-Kings is wiped out. Plato is concerned about multitude rule and doubtful of any thought that offers the ruling authority to common individuals. Aristotle differs on these concerns and is more prepared to provide common individuals with the capacity to rule. Aristotle is not as opposed to change as Plato, and eventually he believes that with the appropriate laws and education, the masses can nurture the capability to rule. Even if Plato and Aristotle were “ancient” authors, their rows and differences are still appropriate in modern political discourse. Were they existing nowadays, they could be shocked to discover that what they disagreed concerning state leadership still arouses sentiments in the contemporary times. Since Plato considers the search for knowledge and fairness to be everlasting, he might not be shocked if he were to rise from the depths of the earth.
Aristotle. Politics, Trans. Ernest Barker. Oxford: Oxford World’s Classics, 2009. Print.
Plato. The Republic of Plato, Trans. Robin Waterfield. Oxford: Oxford World’s Classics, 2008. Print.