Aristotle: His Messages of Virtue and Moderation in Politics

Essay by ngandhiCollege, UndergraduateA, September 2006

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Aristotle (b. 384 - d. 322 BC), was a Greek philosopher, logician,

and scientist. Along with his teacher Plato, Aristotle is generally

regarded as one of the most influential ancient thinkers in a number

of philosophical fields, including political theory. Aristotle was

born in Stagira in northern Greece, and his father was a court

physician to the king of Macedon. As a young man he studied in

Plato's Academy in Athens. After Plato's death he left Athens to

conduct philosophical and biological research in Asia Minor and

Lesbos, and he was then invited by King Philip II of Macedon to tutor

his young son, Alexander the Great. Soon after Alexander succeeded

his father, consolidated the conquest of the Greek city-states, and

launched the invasion of the Persian Empire. It was in this

environment that Aristotle's' views and ideas of politics developed.

As Alexander's teacher, Aristotle had a close tie to the political

powers of Athens.

Because of this tie Aristotle wrote Politics as a

guide to rulers as to how to govern a country. In Politics Aristotle

lays out his ideal form of Government. It contains thought provoking

discussions on the role of human nature in politics, the relation of

the individual to the state, the place of morality in politics, the

theory of political justice, the rule of law, the analysis and

evaluation of constitutions, the relevance of ideals to practical

politics, the causes and cures of political change and revolution,

and the importance of a morally educated citizenry. He stressed that

the ideal citizen and ruler must possess certain virtues, such as

wisdom, temperance and courage. And the work as a whole echoes

Aristotle's dominant theme of moderation. Politics is an excellent

historical source because of the close tie Aristotle had to the

everyday business of government in...