Site hosted by Build your free website today!
"Political Philosophy" -- fall '07 midterm: 2 questions to be answered separately: 1. Explain the meaning as well as the significance to political thought of Aristotle's famous assertion that man is a political animal. 2. Provide as complete and as comprehensive a list of Plato's criticisms of democracy in "The Republic".

1.In Aristotle’s Politics he says that there is a family. Several families unite and form a village. When several villages unite they become a state. “For what each thing is when fully developed, we call its nature.” Aristotle comes to the conclusion that the state is a creation of nature, so “a man is by nature a political animal.”

Not only is man a political animal, but he specifically does not say that he is a social animal. Man, as well as animal, has the social aspect in common, so he does not bother mentioning it. He does however say that man has “the power of speech”. Man’s ability to communicate is not unique, but his ability to control situations is unique. This ability is what makes him a political animal.

2.There’s a saying that I’ve heard several times that says, “Don’t be so open minded that your brain falls out.” I think this is one of the problems that Plato has with a democracy. In a democracy he says that everyone is equal and “every individual is free to do as he likes (557b)”.

While Plato writes that “democracy is the most attractive of all societies (557c)” he also writes that it is only a “way of carrying on in the short run (558a)”. Plato says that the people “have no greater concern for excellence than the poor (556c).” Because they believe that everyone is equal they don’t strive to do anything great. They believe that the poor man can do just as much as these people just end up becoming lazy. Plato also notes that in a democracy even the criminals are treated equally.

Plato’s problems with the democratic person stem from him not being well educated. He says that because the democratic person was brought up in such a “narrow economical way (559e)” he ends up spending his money on things that are completely unnecessary (561a). Not only does the de Angelfire - Webshellmocratic person believe that every person is equal, he also believes that “all pleasures are equal and should have equal rights (561c)”. The democratic person becomes so open minded that his brain falls out and he (as well as the society itself) don’t do anything worthwhile anymore.
Quotes from question one from Aristotle's Politics and from question two from Plato's The Republic
Get your own material. Don't steal mine. Plagiarism is for pedophiles.