Political Theory Hobbes Aristotle

Essay by bjorketreerCollege, UndergraduateA-, February 2004

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This essay presents an examination of the relationship that existed between thought and action at the origin of the political as represented within the text of Aristotle's Politics and the evolution of this relationship as seen in the modern period in the writing of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan. By comparing and contrasting the tenets of the practices and perceptions of the respective periods of the authors a conclusion will be made as to the present implications that remain relevant today.

Beginning with the political science of Aristotle and perhaps one of his most famous declarations in Politics, "From these things it is evident, that the city belongs among the things that exist by nature, and that man is by nature a political animal 1253a2)." The analysis will begin as to the practices and perceptions, or the thoughts and actions of antiquity which began as politics as a natural extension of the world.

This line from The Politics illustrates two distinct but related domains that support this organic perception and it is here that Aristotle lays the foundations for his political theory in Book I by arguing that the city and political rule are "natural." The first states that the formation of cities is natural and the second pertains to the concept that man is by his own nature a political being.

When Aristotle writes, "...the city belongs among the things that exist by nature..." (1253a2) it is stating that each city begins as a collection of koinônias. These associations are the bonds that men create between each other as a result of their natural social inclination and include the husband-wife community, the master-slave community, the village and or the clan, which are included within the realm of the household. The argument begins with human beings connected in pairs because they...