What Are the Types of Political Regimes According to Aristotle?June 26, 2021
Aristotle was not only concerned with how the ideal site should be, but also with the regimes of other known states of his age, and divided the existing regimes into two main parts as governments oriented towards the public interest and those oriented towards their own private interests. Undoubtedly, this partitioning points out more clearly the distinction between good regimes and bad regimes.
According to Aristotle, in contrast to the three good political regimes or types of constitutions, there are three corrupted, corrupted and corrupted political regimes or constitution types. This second partitioning has largely been made taking into account the number of those holding the power. Thus, good political regimes are respectively the monarchy based on the rule of a single man, the aristocracy based on the rule of more than one competent and noble person, and the politi regime based on the rule of the majority. Tyranny occurs when the kingdom goes astray and turns into a regime where individual interests are pursued, not the public interest. The corruption of the aristocracy leads to the emergence of the oligarchy regime, and the degeneration of the polity, which is the rule of the majority, leads to the emergence of the democracy regime. Thus, three good regimes are ranked against three bad ones.
Well-functioning political regimes are the kingdom based on the rule of a single wise man, the aristocracy based on the rule of a small group of sages, and the polity, a majority regime operated by well-educated citizens. When the kingdom corrupts it turns into tyranny, when the aristocracy corrupts it turns into oligarchy, when its politics corrupts it turns into democracy.
Aristotle did not neglect to discuss which of the three regimes listed above is superior to the others. Accordingly, of course, it would be the most ideal regime for a wise ruler to rule the majority from one hand, but according to Aristotle, such a wise ruler is a very rare condition and it is impossible to find a complete human being on earth. Therefore, an aristocracy based on the rule of more than one wise man is a more reasonable rule. But Aristotle accepts that even the aristocracy is a high ideal, and therefore he defends and emphasizes the politi regime, which is the most based on majority rule among all regimes (Copleston, 1997: 90).
Regardless of the regime, the established state should never go to extremes, should not go to extremes, should follow a reasonable and middle path, in accordance with a general principle that permeates Aristotle’s understanding of morality and politics. When we look at Aristotle’s understanding of morality and politics, it is seen that he took care to adopt a realistic attitude in all matters, and avoided theoretical and idealized judgments that are contrary to human nature. Because, as a person with political experience, who has been in the palace of Aristotle, Alexander the Great, directly experienced the administrative stalemates in Athens, and witnessed firsthand how the administrative setbacks devastated the citizens from time to time, while shaping his political views, there was a secret criterion of what is viable and what is not. It is understood that this is always taken into account. In terms of his political views, Aristotle followed a relatively realistic line, especially in the field of politics, while Plato had an idealistic appearance, especially in the context of his work The Republic.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook