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Comparing the differences of purpose of government according to Philosophers. (Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, and Locke) - Term Paper Example

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Comparing the differences of purpose of government according to Philosophers. (Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, and Locke)

Some of the difficulties that society in the classical period faced are the same as what society experience today. For example, the question on whether to have a democratic, aristocratic, tyrannical or oligarchy was handled by in the classical period by Aristotle yet the same question still presents when discussing modern forms of governments. Thus, it is true to say that philosophers of classical period and modern philosophers are still faced with the same question on what is the purpose of the government and how does the government exercise its powers. According to Plato’s idea of an ideal state, the structures and functions in society should be explored in relation to the structure of individual soul. According to him, the individual soul is the different parts of the body in which the workers were the productive part that is represented by the abdomen, the solders that are the protective part represented by the chest and philosopher kings are the governing part that is represented by the head. From this classification, Plato envisioned the government, solders and workers each performing a different function in the state. The state as represented by the head can be seen to control and direct the functioning of other parts of the state as the whole body. This means that the government which is represented by the head, has the role of coordinating the activities all other parts of the society (Chang 71). Plato’s stand as expressed in the Laws presents and authoritarian view of government and authority. He claims that for a society to prosper, the authority must impose the right conditions on the people. Further, for maintenance of this prosperity, the authority should be iron fisted in dealing with the people (Crombie 178). My view is that this form of government does not allow the people to exercise their rights freely since all the power rests on the rulers and the people cannot question the decisions made by such a government. A government that functions under such ideals might become tyrannical thus denying the people their rights to exercise their opinion freely. Plato and Aristotle differed in their views of the functioning of the government where Plato’s idea of government was a centralized system with power resting in the hands of a few individual who belong to a political class and they exercised sovereignty over laws governing the land. His idea of the soul and the body where governing is a function of the head means that the government is a reserve of a few who are able to climb to the highest pinnacle of society. I find Aristotle’s government functioning as a more suitable one since it allows for the governing of the people through a constitution. This is a favorable system given that the sovereign power lies with the people and the government exercises such powers according to the demands of the society. Aristotle sees the functioning of the government as determined by the aspirations of people that is enshrined in the constitution. According to him, the functioning and purpose for which the society sets up a government is enshrined in the will of the people and is further expressed through the constitution. The government function is based on the different forms that they take. Aristotle claims that the role of government will vary depending on whether it is a tyranny, aristocracy, an oligarchy or a democratic government (Simpson 215). Aristotle stated in his definition that a constitution is an organization of offices particularly one that has sovereignty over all the others in the society. In this definition, Aristotle recognized offices as the constitution and not a written law. A government will function differently, he argues, when ...Show more
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Summary

The purpose for which governments should exist has been a preoccupation of philosophers from the classical period to the modern societies. While Plato and Aristotle represent classical philosophers, Hobbes and Locke are a part of what is seen as modern philosophers…
Comparing the differences of purpose of government according to Philosophers. (Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, and Locke)
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