Aristotle's Citizenship

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Debate surrounding the question of citizenship, and the ensuing ideals about what makes a good life, has existed for as long as citizenship itself – providing many contrasting views and interpretations about the peak of human flourishing. Aristotle himself recognizes this fact, stating that “…there is often dispute about the citizen…since not everyone agrees that the same person is a citizen” (Politics 65). This is indicative, then, of the fact that there will be many different interpretations of human existence and its purpose; due to the fact that there is not even agreement on citizenry and what the ideas of it reflect for human life. The juxtaposition of two such views, those of Aristotle and Locke, allow thinkers to evaluate not only two …show more content…

Upon evaluating Aristotle’s ideals of citizenship, one finds a world wherein citizenship and freedom are one in the same – active participation in debate and deliberation in the political community through the exclusively human use of reason and speech capacities. Given this ideal of citizenship, it becomes the case that the ideas for human flourishing and thus the good life follow suit. For Aristotle, human flourishing comes from the cultivation of virtue that is a result of continued participation in the political community, or, continued intentional citizenship. For the good life, it is important to note that it is the continued practice of virtuous activity, rather than the obtaining, that is required. For, “…possession of virtue seems actually compatible with being asleep, or with lifelong inactivity, and, further, with the greatest sufferings and misfortunes; but a man who was living so no one would call happy…” (Ethics 938). It is not enough to state that one is virtuous, nor is it enough for someone to be born virtuous and end there. Rather, it is the continuous pursuit, the juxtaposition of virtuous activity and of that which isn’t, that allows an individual to flourish in an Aristotelian society. We can deduce, then, that “…human …show more content…

Moreover, as much as the acquisition of wealth for its own right is in opposition to what constitutes virtue in the Aristotelian society (Politics), this capitalist ideal is found present in the definition of the Lockean good life. Due to the fact that citizenship is the duty to be watchful of the government, and freedom is one of non-interference in the pursuit of a private life, the good life then is adherence to these ideals. Freedom and thus human flourishing, then, are obtained when the individual adheres to the nature of law in regards to being mindful of consumption, whilst securing their own property through the combination of their labor with the land. Under the common wealth they have agreed to, property will be secure. The individual is free to flourish and secure property. Moreover, they are able to embark on wealth accusation without letting communal resource lay to waste, through the use of currency. “…a man may fairly possess more land than he himself can use the product of, by receiving in exchange for the over plus gold and silver…” (The Second Treatise of Government 29). Man may flourish through property acquisition, wealth acquisition, and the security from common wealth to know they will remain unchallenged to their own. In terms of the duty citizenship, this ideal

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