The literature about Aristotle and Plato is extensively so for this reason, my purpose is to give the reader an brief understanding of the position of Aristotle and Plato on human nature and political and social relations. This paper starts with the crucial thoughts of Aristotle that one can identify on the issue of human nature and compare it with the thoughts of Plato. I continue with a brief explanation of the thought of Aristotle on social and political relations and as well compare it with the thoughts of Plato. Then I end this paper with a conclusion
Human nature plays a central role in ancient Greek thought and many Greek philosophers shed light on the human nature element to analyze social and political relations. In the following sections, I will discuss the thoughts of Plato and Aristotle about human nature.
In his work The Politics, Aristotle elucidates his thoughts about the state. One element of his approach is his attempt to relate human nature to the nature and creation of the state. Aristotle argues that one should perceive man as a political animal and that man is the only animal who has the gift of speech. Aristotle continues to argue that the power of speech describes the expedient and inexpedient and thus the just and the unjust. He considers the state is a creation of nature and puts the individual in relation to the whole with the argument that an individual is not self-sufficient. However, Aristotle distinct two individuals, namely the beast or the God, when one draws a link between an individual who is self-sufficient and the state. Aristotle argues that when an individual is self-sufficient, the individual is not a part of the state as in man by nature has a social instinct that is imperative to become a part of a state. A perfected man is the condition of man at best and thus should be perceived as the best of animals. However, Aristotle argues that when separated from law and confronted with injustice, man is in the worst condition and this condition is even worsened when a man is equipped with arms. Aristotle argues that the state is made up of households and for this reason he argues that one should first shed light on the management of a household. He argues that within a household, one can identify slaves and freemen and Aristotle uses the example of the master and the slave that supports this notion. He asked himself whether one is intended by nature to be a slave and in such a condition is expedient and right or is not all slavery a victim of nature. Aristotle attempted to answer this question in the context of reasons and facts with the example of rulers and subjects. He gives a simple example of a living creature. Aristotle explains that a creature consists of a soul and body and that one is by nature the ruler and the other the subject. Aristotle argues that one should look to the intentions of nature instead of the things that are corrupted as the body will often rule the soul when it is corrupted. Aristotle sees this as the true relation of the body and the soul. From this, Aristotle concludes that only the man who is in the most perfect condition, that is in a perfect state both of body and soul, is the