Plato and Aristotle: A comparison

Essay by jojomooUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, July 2004

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It has been an attempt of many great thinkers in the past to try and establish the grounds for which to have a most successful society. One such philosopher is the renowned Plato. In his work The Republic he sets up his concepts for a perfect society and the ways for it to be put into practice. An additional intellectual that spoke on governance of civilization is Aristotle. He used his writings in Politics to establish what he felt was the way society should be set up and run. One of the main differences between these two most influential political thinkers is that Plato is often viewed as a political philosopher whereas Aristotle is a political student of government. Plato's concern was mainly with a theory while Aristotle was concerned with practical politics. Aristotle studied human behavior and compared actual cities. Aristotle focused primarily on what he could actually see and touch, nothing was imagined.

He analyzed and studied actual constitutions in place at his time. Plato used a more speculative approach to his structure of society. Plato's main design was how to create a perfect society, whereas Aristotle centered more on improving existing governments and creating a composition that works best.

Plato can justly be called the founder of political theory itself. He was the first ancient thinker to write systematically on the subject of politics. To Plato there was an implicit dualism including firstly the material world and secondly the world above which included only ideas and thoughts. He is primarily concerned with a prescription to follow within society. Furthermore his ultimate goal was happiness explained as justice over injustice. To extend his influence in the world in which he lived, Plato founded the school known as the Academy. It is because of the death of...