The Shortcomings Of Aristotle's Politics

1378 Words6 Pages
We can approach Book 4 of Aristotle’s Politics with the following question: What is the best regime considering the nature of human beings and the circumstances the state is faced with? In Book 3, Aristotle sets out the 6 kinds of regimes: monarchy, aristocracy, polity (the correct regimes) and tyranny, oligarchy, and democracy (flawed regimes) (Aristotle, 3.7). In Book 4, Aristotle continues postulating what the best regime is, he also considers existing regimes and their inadequacies. In this paper, I will explore objections to Aristotle’s polity, and highlight the shortcomings of his justification of politea which includes the use of Aristotle’s Golden Mean , which essentially leads to a fallacious argument to moderation. However, I will…show more content…
Aristotle’s politea is often mistranslated as ‘government’, but a more suitable translation is ‘regime’. He views polity as a combination of attributes from oligarchy and democracy. Democracy, in this case can be interpreted as mob rule, unlike modern democracy. According to Aristotle, there are two distinct classes, which cannot overlap; the rich and the poor. Thereby dividing the constitutions into oligarchy (rule of the rich) and democracy (rule of the poor). Aristotle’s worry with democracy is that when there is rule of the many, the many tend to rule in their own interests. He classifies the 5 different forms of democracy: i) complete equality by law, regardless of wealth; ii) citizens must hold a minimum property qualification to participate iii) all uncontested citizens participate, and the law is sovereign; iv) any citizen can participate, and the law is sovereign; v) any citizen can participate, and the public is sovereign. He further classifies 4 different forms of oligarchy: i) citizens must fulfill property qualifications to participate (Aristotle. 4.4); ii) citizens must fulfill high property qualifications, and current officers select new officers; iii) participation through hereditary means iv) participation through hereditary means and the officers are sovereign. (Aristotle.…show more content…
This can be done by combining the institutions of democracy with the institutions of oligarchy. He gives us the example of the rich being fined in an oligarchy for not serving on a jury and the poor being paid to serve, in a democracy. By combining both these approaches in the politea, the masses and the rich stand to benefit. A synthesis of an oligarchy and a democracy under the politea can be made in one of the three ways: i) take a combination of the two; ii) find a mean of the two; iii) take separate elements from both (Aristotle 4.9). Should a healthy mix of the two be achieved, then every citizen will be content with the constitution "because none of the parts of the city generally would wish to have another regime" (Aristotle
Open Document