Aristotle's View on Man as a Political Animal

“Man is by nature a political animal” (Aristotle and Reeve 4). In this regard, Aristotle insinuated that it is difficult for a man to live with no political association or in anarchy. There are certain needs for a man which can only be fulfilled by a political association. Therefore, Aristotle suggests that a man is highly dependent on the political association. It is important for a man to participate in political associations. The human life quality is not given shape by the society where the man lives but by nature. Additionally, Aristotle adds that the person who is not dependent must be an angel or a beast. Aristotle has proved his statement that man is a political animal with the help of an abundance of personalities. The definition of the statement is said to be have relations with the other statements of Aristotle that a man is a rational animal. Aristotle used his normal method of empirical observation to conclude that people tend to unite with other human beings to introduce a community. The human being can flourish and become successful only with the help of this association.

Furthermore, it is important to note that this statement does not mean that a man cannot survive on his own without the association or the community. According to Aristotle, human beings are able to cope with solitary life. Aristotle claims, that human beings can exploit their potential, if he or she has to live as a polis. Therefore, he defined people as a zoon politicos.

Nevertheless, Aristotle mentioned that bees and cranes have equal tendencies of introducing their communities. Therefore, ‘a man is a political animal’ is a proclamation that was derived from the statement from other Aristotle's work. Aristotle says that a man is a political animal and there are others that support that politics as a dirty game. Among all the animals, human beings have the potential of being extremely virtuous and good and therefore, connecting with Aristotle's statement, it can be concluded that a man is linked with wickedness and badness. The extent to which a human being is good depends on whether the man lives in a community (polis) or a city. He adds that the cause for it is the nature where the city exists, and also a man as a political animal by nature. Mulan " Richard (346) acclaimed that “from the definition, it is clear that a city-state grows naturally and a man is a political animal by nature and not by fortune cities.”

According to the great philosopher, human beings try so much to improve the way they live by creating a "good" society. The statement means that according to nature, a human being is needed to either live in a city or a community (Polis). Those people who view politics as a dirty game have their own experiences, which have made them have their perception about politics being a dirty game. Making the observation about the politics of Aristotle and other people's perspectives about politics, the discussion intends to fully examine the rationale on Aristotle's view that man is naturally a political animal. There are two questions that are going to be tackled in this discussion. The two issues are connected with the politics as a dirty game, and ‘dirty’ men who participate in politics. The knowledge that Aristotle had in matters concerning the state theory and his experiences enabled him to conclude that a man is a political animal by nature. Politics is a word that is derived from a Greek word ‘polis’ which means a city-state. A city-state is the most desirable social organization form.

Politics is defined by David Easton as the allocation of values which are authoritative (1981). This means that politics entails several processes whereby. The government responds to the pressure that it is getting from society by allocating, rewards, penalties and benefits. Politics always takes place within a polis (community). A society is organized through an exercise of political authority. According to the great philosopher, the interest of all is the rule by many. For instance, it is impossible for a hyena to snatch prey from a lion, and the smaller animals will be always able to give their preys to the bigger animals like buffalo, lion, cheetahs and the others. The cause for it was the number of the perceptions that have been accumulated previously concerning past instincts and experiences. Aristotle's statement that a man is a political animal by nature is fully supported by the fact that just like other animals, human beings have the capability of coming together and develop a political body (Kullman 95).

Aristotle and Reeve (94) stated that “Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god. ”

In respect to animals such as cows, they can form a group and live together as a herd or herds. Bees can live as a swarm and sheep can form the association and live as a flock, which means that animals have the capability of acting under the control of their leaders (Mulgan " Richard 344). Therefore, the sovereignty of any given group depends on the strength of a head member. The same can be said concerning a state which has the mandate of executing laws that are supposed to be used by human beings. Competing needs, conflicting opinions, opposite interests and different desires exist in the society. Therefore, the human beings need laws that can help them maintain the relationships with other people in the community (Mulgan " Richard 340).

Conversely, human beings highly recognize that in order for them to influence the rules that are given to them by their leaders, they must unite and work together in society. According to Aristotle, human beings can achieve a good life when they work together as citizens in their societies. Aristotle highly condemns capitalism and institution of slavery. It has been caused by other people, customs and laws. Only the social context shows that the full potential of any man is developed. Any political life is very superior to other forms of life because it helps human beings see themselves in true conditions.

To sum up the above mentioned, a man is more developed animal than the other animals. He or she is driven to congregate, and the state formation is a representation of the highest form of development. Human beings are connected with the political bonds that are the reflections of difference between people in the society. Aristotle concluded that, “Hence it is evident that the state is a creation of nature, and that man is by nature a political animal. And he who by nature and not by mere accident is without a state, is either a bad man or above humanity; he is like the Tribe less, lawless, heartless one, whom Homer denounces — the natural outcast is forthwith a lover of war; he may be compared to an isolated piece at draughts” (Aristotle and Reeves 169).

Works Cited

Aristotle, and C. D. Reeve. Politics. Hackett Pub. Co, 2009.

Kullmann, Wolfgang. "Man as a Political Animal in Aristotle." A Companion to Aristotle's Politics. pp. 94-117, 1991.

Mulgan, Richard G. "Aristotle's Doctrine that Man is a Political Animal." Hermes.

pp. 438-445, 1974.

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