Philosophy Week 5: Aristotle – Politics 

The United States of America is a republic under a constitutional government.1 Unlike Britain, the United States has a written constitution. However, the United Kingdom has a form of constitution that limits the power of the government and creates citizens rather than subjects.2 As citizens, a constitutional republic or democracy is formed under the people’s sovereign power. Through this, the citizens act as the constituent members of the state and form the sovereign power or ruling class.3 

The notion of equality in such a system is not economic equality but rather equality under the law. No individual in such a society is politically superior to another. Those who hold offices of state represent the people. Whether this is for a congressman or a member of Parliament, these individuals act as representatives of the people and are chosen by common suffrage.4 This political system differs from many authoritarian governments. In these, the rule through constitutional law is not recognised, and people are subjects and not citizens. Authoritarian governments act through despotic power. In such a system, the rule of the few allows a small group or even one man to subjugate the rest of the people in society.5 

Many individuals in modern societies take the benedictions associated with political liberty and equality under the law for granted. Yet, these are two of the most precious gifts and intellectual creations that have been invented and promulgated throughout post-enlightenment society and for which we are truly indebted to the ancient Greeks.6 In addition, the development of constitutions and the introduction of civilian rule has allowed for the creation of citizenship. While this concept seems commonplace today, it replaces the notion of subject in a political system and the expression of subjectivity that follows.7 

Throughout human history, the most revolutionary idea and concept has been the introduction of the enfranchisement of the majority of the population and the creation of a citizen in a political sense. The politics by Aristotle incorporates the first version of this thesis that captures the fundamental aspects of both citizenship and constitutional government. In this, Aristotle begins by looking at the distinctions between enslaved or restricted political lives as the subjects of authoritarian rulers. He then compares this to those individuals who live freely as citizens under constitutional governments. Those individuals are free and equal within political society and rule and are ruled in turn. 

The conception noted by Aristotle for the state, the polis, is noted not to exist until the free citizens of society constitute the government and political order under which they exist. To Aristotle, all people are political animals.8 In this, Aristotle means that all people are intended to naturally form into a constituent member of a political body and a state. For this, we should be grateful to those who first created these ideas and fought for those freedoms. These are “the greatest of benefactors”. It is to those individuals who created and fought for the equality of political rights that we should be most thankful for. 

Politics by Any Other Name 

In a typically systematic manner, Aristotle’s politics follows directly after the conclusion of the Nicomachean Ethics.9 In moving from a discourse on a life of virtue and happiness, Aristotle extends the foundation of the pursuit of happiness into describing the system he believes is necessary to achieve this end. The final chapter of the Nicomachean Ethics references the incompleteness of the work as it regards ethical and moral concerns. This last chapter further acts as an introduction to the necessity of exploring political science. 

Aristotle concludes the enquiry as to morals and happiness stating that: 

if these matters and the virtues and also friendship and pleasure have been dealt with sufficiently, an outline are we to suppose that our program has reached its end? Surely… Where there are things to be done the end is not to survey and recognise the various things but rather to complete them concerning virtue than it is not enough to know, but we must try to have and use it or try any other way that there may be to achieve goodness.” 

Consequently, the argument is presented that we must learn to become virtuous and embrace the morality we seek to make part of ourselves. In this, Aristotle then argues that… 

It may be difficult to get from youth up a right training for virtue if one has not been brought up under the right laws… Surely he who wants to make men… Must best buy his care try to become capable of legislating, if it is through laws that we can become good.” 

The concluding paragraph and section of the Nicomachean Ethics are ended as follows: 

Now our predecessors have left the subject of legislation to us unexamined; it is perhaps best, therefore, that we should ourselves study it and in a general study the question of the Constitution to complete the best of our ability our philosophy of human nature.” 

In this, we have been prepared for the Politics. Aristotle notes that it is necessary to understand the nature of the state and legislation because only through these systems can people become virtuous. The initial block of the Politics has been divided into three sections or parts, and Aristotle has become clearer in his writing and method of structuring arguments. The sections are divided into chapters, with the first two chapters focusing on both the origin and etymology and makeup of the state. Chapters 3 through 7 are devoted to the enslavement and subjection of one man upon another. The remaining chapters, 8 to 13, introduce an early treatise concerning economic theory. In this, Aristotle’s primary focus was on microeconomics and the economies of business and family. 

Investigating the State 

To analyse the state, Aristotle approaches the topic systematically: 

He who thus considers things in their first growth in origin, whether a state or anything else, will obtain the clearest view of them.” 

Aristotle works through a methodology of tracing the origin of an event or thing. This methodology is known as the genetic Method and can also be called the biological method. In such an analysis, the investigation into politics and government is conducted as if the researcher is analysing the growth and development of a living thing. As with all life, growth occurs within stages. Therefore, each developmental stage in life can be analogised to development stages in political systems, including the state.10 

In the first place there must be a union of those who cannot exist without each other; namely of male and female that the race may continue in this union which is formed not of deliberate purpose but because in common with other animals and with plant mankind have a natural desire to leave behind them an image of themselves and natural ruler and subject that may be preserved.” 

Aristotle relates to a duality of natural items and things in this passage. First, in referencing the state, Aristotle creates an analogy of birth and procreation and then, secondly, flows this up with a relationship between ruler and subject. To understand this, Aristotle continues in detailing the Genesis of the state. 

Out of these two relationships between man and woman, master and slave, the first thing to arise is the family… The family is the association established by nature to supply everyday needs for humanity.” 

Aristotle notes how the family is established “by nature” in this reference. In the personification of the state, Aristotle creates an analogy of how families come together and unite to form a village and later town. 

When several villages are united in a single complete community large enough to be nearly quite self-effacing, the state comes into existence originating from the bare needs of life and continuing into existence for the sake of good life.” 

Throughout his work, Aristotle draws the reader’s attention to that which is “by nature” or considered natural. Unfortunately, this term has been changed somewhat in modern parlance to represent that which is primitive and undeveloped. To Aristotle, the development of the town is “by nature” and natural. It would be the isolation of individuals in solitude in the woods that some people think is natural that Aristotle would see as a rejection of the natural.11 

Therefore, if the earlier forms of society are natural, so was the state, for it is the end of these, and the nature of a thing is in its end. For what each thing is when fully developed, we call its nature, whether we are speaking of a man, of course, or a family”. 

Aristotle uses the sense of the word natural about something best end. There are several separate ways that the meaning of natural can be interpreted. First, the marriage and union of males and females can infer that events that occur in natural settings need not depend upon the interaction and deliberation of humanity. Second, Aristotle seeks to find the difference between those events that occur “through deliberate purpose” against those said to occur from “natural desire”. In this, it may be possible to infer that a natural event is one that will most frequently take place and should only always be the outcome. The male and female of the species unite to procreate, and those who fail to do this are the exception and cease to exist.12 

In reference to the non-deliberate aspects of a natural event is the manner in which a natural thing may be contrasted against an artificial thing.13 Those artificial things are created and come into existence through art or via an act of purposeful and deliberate human intervention. This contrasts the natural thing which will exist merely because of its own nature. 

To Aristotle, the nature of things is “what each thing is when fully developed.” So it is the developed object or thing which Aristotle would be saying is responsible for the progress and eventual state that it ends as. To give an example of an animal, the state of a bull is governed via the final state, and the calf is representative of the bull in a developmental state. As such, the state is seen by Aristotle to be natural as “man is by nature a political animal”. 

The state naturally develops through human needs and helps to satisfy the growth and development of humanity as a whole. The development of the state may be seen to be mirrored in the growth of the family, which arises out of the human need for procreation and, consequently, the necessity of protecting and nurturing children. As Aristotle notes, “the state comes into existence originating in the bare needs of life and continuing in existence for the sake of a good life.” 

Next, the natural state of humanity is to live within a state, which can be compared to a Hobbesian view of life outside of a society where development is “nasty brutish and short”. Like Aristotle, Hobbs understood that humanity is destined to live in what Aristotle called a system based on “a social instinct”, which Aristotle notes: 

Is supplanted in all men by nature, and yet he who first founded the state was the greatest of benefactors. The man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but when separated from law and justice is the worst of all since armed injustice is more dangerous, and he is equipped at birth with arms meant to be used by intelligence and virtue which he may use for the West End. Wherefore if he has no virtue, he is unholy and most savage of animals in the most full of lasting gluttony. But justice is the bond of men and states, for the administration of justice, which is the determination of what is just as the principle of order and political society.” 

Hence, if the state is natural, then what it is and can be is not merely through human deliberation and rules but occurs as part of an overarching order that must instinctively develop. While humanity may constitute the state, what is the state and the outcomes of that system are analogous to the sculpture and the artist. The picture of all the sculptures is fancy and cannot truly exist. Therefore, in logical analysis, it must naturally occur that a utopian system cannot exist.14 

As the state develops naturally, it has an ultimate goal within its end or purpose. In this, the state is not merely a random conglomeration of different people. It is not a chance set of data points, but rather, the state has a purpose in fulfilling the good life for the members of that society.15 

If all communities aim at some good, the state of political community, which is the highest of all, embraces all the rest, aims at good in a greater degree than any other and the highest good.” 

Is the State Natural and Ubiquitous? 

Aristotle discusses the naturalness of state and extends this into an investigation into slavery. Aristotle was a product of a very different time. As a result, Aristotle saw “a slave as an instrument of action” who is both “a human being and also possession”. However, being that an enslaved person is human, possessing, as Aristotle notes, it can achieve things that no inanimate object may ever do. Whilst the concept of slavery is considered abhorrent to the modern reader, it is necessary to understand the thoughts and minds of those who lived in a previous time. 

“For if every instrument could accomplish its own work, obeying or anticipating the will of others… If in like manner the shuttle would weave in the plectrum touched the liar without a hand to guide them, the chief workman would not want servants nor masters slaves.” 

Aristotle could see a world with mechanised and automated systems. In such a case, Aristotle would argue that menial or slavish work would be done away with and disappear the need for slaves and servants. To some extent, the development of modern machinery and techniques helped abolish slavery. Today, industries that were once intensively operated by humans that were often individuals enslaved to a task are now done routinely. For example, once, picking cotton or harvesting sugar could only be done through the work of large teams of people. Now, these are tasks that can be done through automation and machinery. 

Aristotle saw that automation would achieve many aspects of what people today take for granted in the move towards the slow elimination of servile and repetitive work. What Aristotle called slavish work still exists but in a different form. The fear that many people maintain, including Aristotle, is that as this menial work is removed, many workers will also be eliminated as the work is gone. This issue is a contemporary problem. As automation and the development of automated systems increase, many people wonder what will occur with the less educated people in a population. Also, what will happen with the older workers who need to be re-skilled? 

For Aristotle, many forms of labour are, by their nature, slavish. However, Aristotle extends this to a discussion of people who are by their nature slavish. Aristotle is not stating that some individuals should be putting menial jobs but rather argues that many of us would seem abhorrent today. Therefore, some individuals need to be enslaved. That is, some individuals need to be possessed by others and have a master. 

Aristotle moves to discuss the origin of the state. As a part of this process, he notes that the “union of those who cannot exist without each other” such as those between the individual to make up a family, the man and the woman, the household and the partners are related to the interactions between “natural ruler and subject such that both may be preserved”: 

“That sum should rule and others be ruled as a thing not only necessary but expedient from the hour of their birth some are marked out for subjection others for rule.” 

While some of this acts in a way that seemingly justifies slavery, there is an interesting analysis in the psychology of the individuals involved and how Aristotle envisions a situation where it serves both slave and enslaver with the slave choosing to be enslaved. Aristotle enquires, “Is there anyone intended by nature to be a slave and for whom such a condition as an expert and write or rather is not all slavery a violation of nature?” This is a difficult question but one to which Aristotle notes that “there is no difficulty in answering this question” and supplies an answer that few people would accept today. 

The declaration of Independence demonstrates a very different approach to this issue. 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” 

Aristotle was a product of his time and saw slavery as natural. Aristotle further denies that all men are equal. This differs from our modern conception of rights. To Aristotle, there is a vast difference in the nature of people, and Aristotle take this as an indication that some people should be masters or leaders, others should be slaves or even lead. Today, few would argue that slavery is in any way acceptable. Still, equally many people will see the difference between individuals and note that some people are natural leaders and others are better-suited following than in doing. Further, some people fail even to be led. 

“Where there then is such a difference as that between soul and body or between men and animals such as in the case of those whose business is to use their body and who can do nothing better the lower sort are by nature slaves, and it is better for them as for all inferiors that they should be under the rule of a master. He who can be and therefore is another’s, and he who participates in rational principle sufficiently to understand and apprehend but not to have such a principle is a slave by nature.” 

But an enslaved person is human and not an animal. 

“Lower animals cannot even apprehend the principal; they obey their instincts.” 

At this point, we have to reconsider the development of mechanisation and automation. Do machines have limits? With the advance of artificial intelligence, some people have posited that the majority of jobs will disappear.16 However, to make these claims, we need to consider the differences in capability and cost and whether humans and nonhuman instruments can aid in the development as they have in the past or whether they replace people. In investigating this, we need to consider the types of activities that machines can do against those that humans do. 

While artificial intelligence has created many opportunities, it has also demonstrated a number of limitations. Some very simple tasks for even a child prove incredibly difficult for a machine. Equally, many simple tasks and machines prove difficult for humans to achieve. Despite the advances in artificial intelligence, no machine has truly been able to create and innovate or criticise the ideas of another. To Aristotle, the individual he sees as a natural slave maintains the ability to apprehend complex principles that the lower animals can only do through obeying instinct. At best, automated make mechanical systems generally do neither. 

Through the section, we need to consider whether there is truly any individual who could be a natural slave or whether this is just a distinction between somebody who is better suited to being a leader and another who was a follower. Moreover, many individuals at the time of Aristotle were captured during war or conquest and enslaved. In considering this, we can start to think about doctrines such as racial superiority and whether these are merely conceived grounds to achieve power over an inferior group or whether this is just a way of subjugating others for power.17 

Men to Aristotle of a lower nature are not truly identified, but rather this is a weak argument presented for an existing institution of his time. It would be easy to argue that Aristotle seemingly believes natural slaves exist. Further, even had his time legal or conventional slavery occurred, Aristotle would argue that slavery is not based on nature is unjust in many cases. 

Microeconomics And Ancient Greece 

As with today, microeconomics is a major aspect of any society. Many of the commentaries presented by Aristotle remain valuable even today. This extends into an understanding of history and philosophy, and economics itself. Even Karl Marx referenced Aristotle’s politics in multiple areas of Das Capital.18 Like the other areas of politics, what is natural forms a large part of the argument throughout all of this. Importantly, Aristotle demonstrates and distinguishes between the natural forms of wealth and getting rich and the artificial types of wealth. Natural wealth is obtained through the management of the household: 

“In so far as the art of household management must either find ready to hand or itself provide such things necessary to life and useful for the community of the family or state as can be stored… There is a boundary fixed just as there are other arts for the instruments of any art and never unlimited either in number or size and riches may be defined as a number of instruments to be used in a household or an in a state.” 

Wealth, to Aristotle, is merely an instrument or tool and is not something to be desired and obtained for its own sake. But, as with today, some people did not believe this and sought power and wealth even in Aristotle’s time: 

“There is another variety of the art of acquisition which is commonly and rightly called an art of wealth-getting, and has, in fact, suggested the notion that riches and property have no limit… The kind already described as given by nature and the other is gained by experience and art.” 

Is argument around the meaning and nomenclature associated with the term natural. Through the section, we see that natural is again something that is directed towards the right and an end that is well-founded. Something unnatural is boundless and imprudent.19 There are limits and constraints as opposed to the natural. In this, Aristotle argues that there are always moral aspects to all aspects of life, including wealth. While wealth in itself is not bad, it needs to be distinguished between methods of gaining wealth that is considered natural and those that are unnatural in art. 

All natural things have a limit. And in this, those who seek wealth and power without end would find themselves in a category that Aristotle disapproved of. 

“Some persons are led to believe that getting wealth is the object of household management and that the whole idea of the lives is that they ought to either increase their money without limits or it at any rate not to lose it. The origin of this disposition in men is that they are intent upon living only and not living well; and as their dreams and desires unlimited, they also desire that the means of gratifying them should be without limits.” 

Man, to Aristotle, is by nature a political animal. Some men are leaders or natural rulers, and others are bound merely to follow. While Aristotle’s conception of natural slaves may be considered foreign today, the distinction between natural leaders and natural followers is something that can be addressed.20 For example, in studying economics and the best art of running a household or even a business, there is a natural art of gaining wealth. When this is followed, the pursuit is good and may even be honourable.21 

In modern Finance, some aspects of the financial system that seek money through speculation and merely build money from money are the types of finance that Aristotle would claim to be unnatural.22 In this, the distinction is separate from building and creating wealth and capital. To build capital and produce goods is natural.23 Creating and disseminating even consumer goods or capital items is in the realm of what Aristotle sought to be morally right. The alternative of seeking wealth through wealth and merely creating financial gains based on the speculation and promotion of financial products is well within the field of what Aristotle sought to be unnatural. 

Can We Utilise the Genetic Method In Analysing the State? 

Treating a system such as a government, political system, or state as a living organism, let alone anthropomorphising this concept, is considered not good scholarly practice in modern society. Yet, this practice was common at the time when Aristotle wrote. In doing this, we need to query whether the benefits that are obtained through the analogy outweigh the use of a comparison to a living item from something that is not living. 

However, the method utilised by Aristotle is beneficial and allows for an understanding of a complex topic that many individuals without further training can easily digest. While this concept can be considered somewhat false, few will fail to comprehend that the state is not a living organism and that the analogy is merely a rhetorical construct. Further, while Aristotle uses the analogy that the state has a living system, the philosopher would easily admit that the state is at least in part artificial and the deliberate and defined work of humans. That is, it does not grow or sprout from seeds naturally but comes from the artifice of those within the population. 

In part, the point being made by Aristotle is that there is a natural association between people and that at scale, this forms into a state. However, while it is natural for people to congregate and form social relationships, this and the creation of a state does not occur without individuals actively seeking to achieve something.24 But, what follows is that it is also something that nearly always occurs. Whenever a group of individuals start interacting, and societies grow from families and tribes into towns, a political system develops and eventually forms into the state when it becomes large enough.25 As a consequence, Aristotle would note that this is an indication that the state is, in fact, natural. 

Defining the Term Natural 

The terms natural law and human nature need to be considered by defining “natural”. Unfortunately, despite the depth of definition that Aristotle frequently seeks to present, the development of what we refer to as natural is comparatively undefined and unrefined. Aristotle notes that “what each thing is when fully developed we call nature”. This definition does not reference the undeveloped outside world but rather identify a thing with its “nature” or idealised state. 

The nature of a thing represents the state to which something should be applied. In this, it may be what it is now or what it aspires to be. There is an anthropomorphic basis to the “intentions of nature” within the work of Aristotle.26 In this, the philosopher seeks to set that which is natural as that which should occur when things are in a good state. 

The Despotic Soul and The Appetite of Royal Rule 

In discussing how the soul rules the body despotically, Aristotle is not attempting to personify the concept of body and soul in reference to a hierarchy of rulership but rather to note that the mind sets the path used by the body. In this, it is also argued that the intellect and the passions are not subject the same way. Aristotle discusses these concepts in the chapter where he discusses the natural slave. In understanding this, we need to consider whether the physical aspects of the self are enslaved to the mind.27 

Equally, when we are subject to passion or desire, it may be that we need to consider whether the intellect and the mind are subject to enslavement by the body. 

Man, The Political Animal 

In referencing humanity as a political animal, Aristotle compares humanity to other socially active creatures, including bees and ants. The distinction is in how humanity differs from all other animals. While these form a hive, they are not political. In this concept, humanity alone can be considered a rational political animal. At other points, Aristotle notes that man is a rational animal. In such a series of references, there follows to be a connection between the political and rational aspects of humanity. 

In such an analysis, we can further distinguish the state as both natural and a human institution that develops whenever groups of people start to interact and extend this into being referred to as a rational institution. In such an analysis, we would see the state as a work of reason. However, as with all aspects of humanity, the measure of reason is not complete, and passion also forms a part of the state.28 The enmity and sense of otherness for people outside of the tribal in groups or political groups we most associated with remains a system that allows the hatred both inside and outside those who band together. While people in the in-group generally act mutually beneficially, those we see as outsiders are treated far more negatively.29 

The Role of Property and the State 

The natural progression and development of the state, as Aristotle envisioned it, grows from the family and the clan in the village and finally the city and the state. In this discussion, Aristotle has a conception of humanity based on abandoned ideas. Such ideas include the enslavement of other people. In this, Aristotle refers to them as possessions or property, leading him to talk about the management and control of property. While this aspect of Aristotle’s philosophy would be seen as objectionable today, the concepts around property remain valid. 

Aristotle’s analysis of the family and property incorporates a deep investigation into household economies. Household management is fundamental to some of the analyses conducted by the philosopher. In this, Aristotle notes that without property held in private hands, there could be nothing to manage in a household and a family could exist. At best, the household would be relegated to a primitive bestial state.30 

In Plato’s Republic, the individuals and society are separated into different classes. This allows Plato’s guardians in the Republic to remain ignorant of the household economy or property management. Without any education in this area, these individuals are expected not to know or desire private property and live without households or family. As with many other individuals seeking a utopia Socrates through the lens of Plato, seeks to change humanity to fit a desired political system.31 The hubris that results from these individuals, including Stalin and Mao, is to believe that by implementing their system upon others, they will have the right to choose and implement policies against the wills of all they control and manage. 

Private property is critically important in any working society.32 Aristotle notes that the state is itself natural but is formed naturally of individual units constructed from the family. From this, the family itself is a natural unit. The argument presented is thus that all components that go into the making of the state must also be natural. Hence, this deductive argument expounds that property itself is a natural part of human life.33 Property here is noted to be one of the key aspects required to maintain a family and ensure that different groups of families remain cohesive. 

Further, without property, each family would need to maintain a charity relationship with the state. In this way, the groups form into the systems Plato saw in his class-based hierarchical system where identity was no longer found either personally or in a group. This theory can be seen in that of the Communist state. As with Plato’s Republic, the concept of family promoted by Mao, Marx, Stalin and Lenin downgraded the value of the family, seeking to destroy the role of this unit into insignificance and for it to fade out of existence.34 Under Mao, such conditions occurred within both the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. Although, at the same time, these governments sought to expunge all property and religion, the inability to eliminate family units that naturally occurred stopped the government from removing all private property. 

The Natural and Unnatural Art of Money 

The early Christian church and Islamic religions each hold that Usery is a sin and discouraged moneylending and charging out money for interest in what we commonly see as the foundation of banking today.35 Likewise, Aristotle held a view aligned with many contemporary modern-day Islamic scholars who see that “begetting money by money” is an “unnatural” act. Human nature incorporates both vice and virtue, and many pursue gain for the sake of gain itself.36 In this, they seek money, forgetting that it is not an end. 

The traditional fable of King Midas reminds and informs us of the outcomes of greed in a manner analogous to that of Scrooge in Charles Dickens’s Christmas story.37 However, this fate is not universal. Not all individuals who love and worship money face an untimely or degrading end. However, in this analysis, it is necessary to remind the reader of why Jesus referred to money as the root of all evil. Further, it was noted to be harder for the rich man to enter heaven than for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye.38 

Each of these analyses needs to be remembered that seeking money for many sakes does not achieve happiness as Aristotle defines it. On the contrary, it can aid in creating a pleasurable life and providing more than the necessary comforts. However, when people forget the nature of life and strive only for more, they also forget why they seek wealth. To Aristotle, it is important to remember that life is not merely the eternal pursuit of individual items that increase for their own sake but to seek an end in itself.  

Relating Fortune and Happiness 

The majority of individuals fail to think through the consequences of their actions or even what and why they are doing and look to gain wealth and money for the sake of wealth and money. This makes the ability to market and promote the concepts given by Aristotle difficult. The majority of people in society will seek the more vulgar aspects of life and incomplete goods.39 This is the part of life that is readily available and comes without sacrifice. When compared to those goods that can only be achieved through virtue and sacrifice, to some, the momentary pleasure they can be achieved now seems the better option. 

However, let’s take such an approach to its logical extreme and imagine a society where all individuals follow such a system of ethics, politics and the family. We end up in a state that won’t function.40 Where are many individuals within society remain inclined to seek fame, wealth and power and the ability to rule over others, it is only when we have sufficient individuals within society who seek virtue and freedom that we end up with a modern liberal system that allows for the rule of the many by the many. 

Questions and Reflections 

In order to best understand and comprehend the work, we must question it and think about our understanding by challenging ourselves. Through this, we can learn how to question our own comprehension and whether we have been thorough in understanding what we have read. 

  • Document the various arguments that Aristotle makes for claiming that the state is more important than the family and answer how this differs from the position taken by Plato in the Republic. 
  • Name the three relations in the family according to Aristotle. 
  • Can an enslaver and enslaved person be friends, and when are they, enemies? How does this integrate with modern conceptions of freedom? 
  • What are the two uses to which anything may be applied? 
  • How did Thales make himself wealthy? 
  • Can an enslaved person have virtue, according to Aristotle? 
  • What does Aristotle note to be the least honourable method of gaining wealth? 


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