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The Political Thought of Plato and Aristotle: How to Read and Understand the Founders of Western Political Philosophy (PDF)


The Political Thought of Plato and Aristotle PDF Download




If you are interested in learning more about the foundations of Western political philosophy, you might want to read The Political Thought of Plato and Aristotle by Ernest Barker. This classic book, first published in 1906, offers a comprehensive and insightful analysis of the political ideas of two of the most influential thinkers in history. In this article, we will give you an overview of the main themes and arguments of the book, as well as show you how to download the PDF version for free.




The Political Thought Of Plato And Aristotle Pdf Download


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Who were Plato and Aristotle?




Plato (427-347 BC) and Aristotle (384-322 BC) were ancient Greek philosophers who lived in Athens during the golden age of Greek civilization. They were both students of Socrates, another famous philosopher who taught them how to question everything and seek wisdom through dialogue. Plato founded the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world, where he taught philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, and other subjects. Aristotle was one of his most brilliant pupils, who later became the tutor of Alexander the Great, the king who conquered most of the known world at that time. Aristotle also founded his own school, called the Lyceum, where he wrote extensively on various fields of knowledge, such as logic, ethics, politics, biology, physics, metaphysics, and more.


Plato and Aristotle are widely regarded as the founders of Western political philosophy, because they were among the first to systematically examine the nature and purpose of politics, as well as the best forms of government and society. They also addressed fundamental questions such as what is justice, what is happiness, what is virtue, what is the good life, what is the role of reason and emotion in human affairs, and so on. Their works have influenced countless thinkers throughout history and continue to inspire and challenge us today.


What are the main differences between Plato and Aristotle's political thought?




Although Plato and Aristotle shared some common assumptions and values, they also had significant differences in their political thought. Here are some of the main contrasts between them:



  • Justice: For Plato, justice is an ideal concept that transcends human conventions and opinions. It is based on the idea that there is a universal order or harmony in the cosmos that humans should imitate in their souls and societies. Justice means that everyone performs their proper function according to their natural abilities and talents. For Aristotle, justice is a more practical and relative concept that depends on human agreements and circumstances. It is based on the idea that there is a natural law or reason that humans should follow in their actions and interactions. Justice means that everyone receives their fair share according to their merit and contribution.



  • Democracy: For Plato, democracy is a flawed and dangerous form of government that leads to tyranny. He criticizes democracy for being ruled by the ignorant masses who are easily swayed by demagogues and false promises. He also argues that democracy undermines morality and excellence by allowing everyone to pursue their own selfish interests and pleasures. For Aristotle, democracy is a preferable form of government that respects freedom and equality. He defends democracy for being ruled by the majority who have a common interest in the common good. He also argues that democracy fosters virtue and education by allowing everyone to participate and deliberate in public affairs.



  • The ideal state: For Plato, the ideal state is a utopian and hierarchical society that is ruled by philosopher-kings who have the highest wisdom and virtue. He proposes a radical reform of the existing social and political structures, such as abolishing private property, family, and money for the ruling class, and dividing the population into three classes: guardians, auxiliaries, and producers. He also advocates a strict censorship and education system that shapes the citizens according to the ideals of justice and goodness. For Aristotle, the ideal state is a realistic and mixed society that is ruled by a constitutional government that balances the interests of different groups and classes. He accepts the diversity and complexity of the existing social and political realities, such as the existence of private property, family, and money for all citizens, and the variation of political regimes across different states. He also advocates a moderate and flexible approach to law and education that adapts to the needs and circumstances of each state.



How did Plato and Aristotle influence later political thinkers?




Plato and Aristotle's political thought have had a profound and lasting impact on the development of Western political theory. Here are some examples of their influence on later political thinkers:



  • Medieval political theory: Plato and Aristotle's works were preserved and transmitted by Islamic scholars who translated them into Arabic and commented on them. They were later reintroduced to Europe by Christian scholars who translated them into Latin and integrated them into their theological doctrines. Some of the most prominent medieval political thinkers who were influenced by Plato and Aristotle were St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Marsilius of Padua, and Dante Alighieri.



  • Modern political theory: Plato and Aristotle's works were rediscovered and reinterpreted by Renaissance humanists who revived the classical learning and culture. They were also challenged and criticized by Enlightenment philosophers who advocated reason, liberty, and progress. Some of the most influential modern political thinkers who were influenced by Plato and Aristotle were Niccolo Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, and Karl Marx.



  • Contemporary political theory: Plato and Aristotle's works are still relevant and debated by various schools and traditions of political thought that address the current issues and challenges of our times. Some of the most prominent contemporary political thinkers who are influenced by Plato and Aristotle are Leo Strauss, Hannah Arendt, John Rawls, Michael Sandel, Martha Nussbaum, and Alasdair MacIntyre.



Why is it important to read Plato and Aristotle today?




Reading Plato and Aristotle today is important for several reasons. First, it helps us understand the origins and evolution of Western political philosophy, as well as its strengths and weaknesses. Second, it exposes us to different perspectives and arguments that can enrich our own thinking and judgment. Third, it challenges us to reflect on our own values and assumptions that shape our political views and actions. Fourth, it inspires us to seek wisdom and virtue that can improve ourselves and our society.


Plato and Aristotle's political thought are not only historical artifacts or academic exercises. They are living sources of insight and wisdom that can help us navigate the complex and uncertain world we live in. They can also help us appreciate the diversity and richness of human thought that transcends time and place.


How to download the PDF of The Political Thought of Plato and Aristotle?




If you want to read The Political Thought of Plato and Aristotle by Ernest Barker in full detail, you can download the PDF version for free from this link: https://archive.org/details/politicalthought00barciala. Here are the steps to download it:



  • Click on the link above to open the webpage of the book.



  • On the right side of the page, you will see a box that says "Download Options".



  • Select "PDF" from the list of formats available.



  • A new window will pop up that says "Download this book".



  • Click on the button that says "Download" or "View PDF".



  • The PDF file will start downloading or opening in your browser.



  • You can save it to your device or read it online.



Conclusion




In this article, we have given you an overview of The Political Thought of Plato and Aristotle by Ernest Barker, a classic book that analyzes the political ideas of two of the most influential thinkers in history. We have also shown you how hope you have enjoyed reading it and learned something new. We also hope you are inspired to read more about Plato and Aristotle's political thought and how they can help you understand and improve your own political life.


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about the topic:



Q: What are the main sources of Plato and Aristotle's political thought?


  • A: The main sources of Plato's political thought are his dialogues, especially The Republic, The Laws, and The Statesman. The main source of Aristotle's political thought is his treatise called Politics, as well as his other works such as Ethics, Rhetoric, and Metaphysics.



Q: What are the main similarities between Plato and Aristotle's political thought?


  • A: Some of the main similarities between Plato and Aristotle's political thought are that they both believe that politics is a natural and necessary activity for humans, that politics is based on ethics and aims at the common good, that politics requires rationality and virtue, and that politics is influenced by human nature and culture.



Q: What are the main criticisms of Plato and Aristotle's political thought?


  • A: Some of the main criticisms of Plato and Aristotle's political thought are that they are too idealistic and unrealistic, that they are too elitist and authoritarian, that they are too conservative and resistant to change, that they are too sexist and patriarchal, and that they are too ethnocentric and exclusive.



Q: What are some contemporary applications of Plato and Aristotle's political thought?


  • A: Some contemporary applications of Plato and Aristotle's political thought are that they can help us evaluate and compare different political systems and regimes, that they can help us understand and address various political problems and dilemmas, that they can help us develop and cultivate our political skills and virtues, and that they can help us appreciate and respect our political heritage and diversity.



Q: Where can I find more information about Plato and Aristotle's political thought?


A: You can find more information about Plato and Aristotle's political thought from various sources, such as books, articles, podcasts, videos, courses, websites, blogs, forums, etc. Some examples of reliable and accessible sources are: - The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: https://plato.stanford.edu/


- The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: https://www.iep.utm.edu/


- The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps podcast: https://historyofphilosophy.net/


- The Partially Examined Life podcast: https://partiallyexaminedlife.com/


- The School of Life YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/schooloflifechannel


  • - The Great Courses Plus online learning platform: https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/



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