Plato and Aristotle’s Forms of Government

Topics: Government, Oligarchy, Democracy Pages: 6 (2292 words) Published: October 5, 2012
Plato and Aristotle’s Forms of Government
Throughout history, the idea of government has always been altered, discussed, and argued due to the many variation philosophers have created. Plato, a well- known philosopher is known for his book The Republic in which he discusses politics and the way society should run in order to achieve a just society. Plato was born into a aristocratic and dominant family. He lived from 428 B.C to 48 B.C. (Dale 22). Throughout his life, Plato never ceased to expand his knowledge which lead him to create a school of his own; Plato’s Academy. One of Plato’s students, who attended Plato’s academy, was another well-known philosopher named Aristotle. Aristotle was a Greek philosopher born in 384 B.C., as a young child Aristotle was greatly associated with Macedonian court because his father, Nichomachus, was a court physician to King Amanitas II of Macedonia. During his lifetime, Aristotle wrote many narratives, although only few of them managed to exist today. One of his most well known writing was Politics in which he discussed the way human societies were governed and structured. Both Aristotle and Plato have different views on how a government should be formed and the various aspect of society.

In The Republic, Plato begins discussing the meaning of justice and its impact on society. As a student of Socrates, Plato also believes teaching through dialogue in a sense that through discussion on will reach the correct conclusion. To Plato justice is not the idea of fairness rather its is the idea of ethical pursuit. Plato discusses two ways to find out what justice cannot argue; find something to represent an individual, a government, and the reasons to pursuit being just. He believes that people of a society should purse justice for the sake of justice rather than what it brings you, although people tend to pursue it for both. What can justice bring to an individual according to Plato? Justice can bring an individual a happy life and a happy soul. It is finding the proper arrangement of the soul that helps an individual became just. If an individual is deemed just then the society itself will be able to pursue justices. The characteristics of an individual are incorporated within their government since the government is a larger representation of the individual.

In his book, Plato describes three types of cities: city of necessity, city of luxury, and the feverish city. The city of necessity is the city of four to five people who all have their own division of labor. Since Plato believes in the pursuit of one’s natural talent in order for a society to run smoothly, the population within the city of necessity are to do their own jobs in which they are naturally better at doing. This is Plato’s ideal city where the idea of a just society can occur. The city of luxury is somewhat like the city of necessity except it has more luxurious items that are not needed but desired. The feverish city is where the people of the society only consume food and lay around. According to Glaucon who suggested to Socrates that the city of necessity is not going to satisfy the common people because it is in human nature to want luxuries as well as the basic necessities (30). This is where the city of luxury is displayed and can then become the feverish city. To be able to achieve a society with all the possibilities that Plato discusses, the role of guardian must come into action.

Plato describes one’s soul as having three parts: the appetite, the honor and courage, and this wisdom. The appetite can be compared to Sigmund’s Freud theory of the id in a sense that it is centered on our desires. It is the appetite that always craves more and until what is desired is achieved the appetite will not be satisfied, if ever. The honor and courage aspect is the ability to defend oneself, which can be compared to the super-ego of Freud’s theory. It is this aspect of the soul that can somewhat control the appetite,...
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