The Politics And The Ideal Polis
In the Politics, Aristotle develops and articulates what he sees as an ideal polis for people to use as an ideal model, so much of this chapter will center on how Aristotle articulates this idea.
While Aristotle maintains that the preservation of a political system should remain as the top priority of any polis, he grants exceptions to regimes whose rulers have become tyrannical to the point where the ruler forces citizens to perform actions that do not seem to be just or right.
Hence it is important to have both virtuous citizens and virtuous people, and the distinction between these kinds of people will be made clear in this thesis. In this chapter, I discuss how a household association progresses to a polis. Next, I examine key features of an ideal polis and the role that citizens play in it. Within that conception, I discuss the role of the ruler.
In addition to these, I stress the importance and the purpose that education has within a polis. Educating upcoming citizens within the polis allows the polis to prosper. I look at Aristotle’s treatment of slaves, women, farmers and artisans and consider why they were not recognized as citizens. While Aristotle does not recognize these groups as citizens, he does see each group as essential to the polis. Finally, I discuss non-ideal political systems with respect to the ideal polis.
In order to be an effective ruler of a polis, one cannot just settle on one system of handling conflicts that arise within a polis, because sometimes another perspective can solve the problem. Having the background knowledge of how other polities conduct their regime give other rulers ideas about how to react to certain dilemmas and inconsistencies that occur.
Similar to the virtuous life seen in the Ethics, it is equally important to have a conception of an ideal polis. It provides an ideal model for people to see how the best polis functions.