Aristotle's Theory Of Slavery

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Slavery had a great effect not only on Ancient Greece, some saying slaves were the necessity to build the civilization entirely, but also had an effect on other countries throughout history obtaining slavery. Greek slavery has contributed a variety of scholarly debate, precisely regarding Aristotle’s viewpoint on his theory of slavery being natural. The theory of natural slavery has produced questions of whether or not Aristotle has contradicted himself making his evidence uncertain. This essay will be examining and analysing the evidence that Aristotle provides in regards to his theory of natural slavery. It will be questioning if he produces a straightforward view regarding his beliefs of natural slaves and the abilities they possess. I will…show more content…
Not only does Aristotle have conflicting viewpoints regarding his beliefs on natural slavery throughout the Politics, but when comparing his work Nicomachean Ethics to book I of the Politics several more inconsistencies arise. ‘Tyrannical to is the rule of a master over slaves; for it is the advantage of the master that is brought about in it’ (NE.7.10.1160b29-30). One of very few scholars who focuses attention to this inconsistency is Donald L. Ross. After stating the fact that Aristotle is clear this tyrannical forms acquire minimal justice he makes the comment, ‘this is a far cry from the confident conclusion of Politics I 5: it is clear…that some men are by nature free, and other slaves and that for these latter slavery is both advantageous and just’ (Ross 2008: 56). Aristotle is implying two contrasting views of slavery in these passages- one being slavery is just because both master and slaves are benefitting equally and the other stating that slavery is only just and advantageous for the…show more content…
Aristotle states that non-Greeks are by nature slaves as he identifies them all as ‘natural slaves’ (Pol. 1.2.1252b5-9). With this statement you either question Aristotle’s belief towards natural slavery and what he believes to be true of their reasoning, or you assume he does not possibly believe the humans inhabiting non-Greek societies are indeed all natural slaves, either way Aristotle is contradicting himself. Aristotle provides a variety of differences between natural rulers and those are born to be ruled, with one particular being that natural born slaves can only understand reason, yet do not have the ability to obtain it for oneself (Pol. 1.5.1254b16). Meaning, natural slaves only have enough reason to comprehend what their master asks of them and then to perform the task they are given. Natural slaves are incapable of acquiring their own rationalities as individuals and need masters to do so, as Aristotle would put
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