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Aristotle - Essay Example

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PHILOSOPHY ESSAY ARISTOTLE The philosophical concepts, ideologies and writings of Aristotle have influenced a plethora of wide-ranging subjects and disciplines, both in a positive manner where Aristotle has been lauded for the representation of his beliefs, and also in a disapproving way where the thinker’s ideologies have suffered a backlash from critics and commentators…
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In a comparative assessment of political systems, Aristotle’s remarks on the perversions of democracy have proved to be a prominent tenet of political discussion and questioning. As a staunch realist, the Greek philosopher propagated the assumption that the idea of a government, which in essence is perfect, complete or best is one which is unattainable and utopian. Sidgwick (1892) argues that Aristotle’s categorization of the kinds of governments is not his own, but it is in fact the result of a pursuit to represent the ideas of his predecessor and teacher, Plato by stating the former’s concepts with an augmented degree of even greater disagreements for the various types of political systems to possibly avoid allegations of unoriginality or literary theft (Sidgwick 141-144). Aristotle’s primary premise is based upon his definition of the constitution which he describes as an association of positions that are reliant upon the degree of authority or power possessed by various social classes in their division amongst the citizens. In the philosopher’s categorization of the ultimate political system in comparison with one which is perverted, the underlying variable is the quantity of rulers in each scenario or governmental setup. Aristotle establishes that in the case of ‘rule by many’ as opposed to ‘rule by one’, democracy is a term linked with a perverted depiction of an otherwise positive concept of polity, which leads to the incidence of corruption, unequal distribution of wealth, anarchy and a consequent obliteration of the state. It should however be noted at no point does Aristotle completely discredit democracy as a hollow shell by presenting alternating scenarios where the degree of its perversion is decreased. The main criticism that Aristotle places on the system of democracy is how demagogues are able to manipulate and eventually direct the perceptions, opinions and emotions of the public such that laws begin to lose meaning and government decrees begin to hold more significance. When such situations prevail, a democratically elected leader is transformed into a monarch or a an implicit dictator who imposes a repressive rule over the people, without the people even being aware of it, as everything happens under the veil of democracy. It is also believed that when power is vested in the hands of poor people, who are illiterate and uninformed, they will not be able to execute effectively the responsibilities that come with holding esteemed positions. In stating so, however, Aristotle does agree that a complete exclusion of the lower class from the affairs of the state is not an appropriate option because taking such an action would increase animosities and discrepancies between the rich and the poor rather than bridging the differences. Capitalist democracies of today have failed to recognize that a mere label of democracy that is apparently working on the basis of equality and justice is not enough to claim that the workings of a political system are successful when a vast global population that lives below the poverty line is suffering so greatly. For Aristotle, democracy still stands as a form of government which has a lesser degree of perversion in comparison wit ... Read More
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