New Bulgarian University What Is a Citizen According to Aristotle Report No plagiarism , very precise and self explanatory , i would appreciate a very good

New Bulgarian University What Is a Citizen According to Aristotle Report No plagiarism , very precise and self explanatory , i would appreciate a very good case studied references to Nigeria, cause i am from nigeria Set text:
Aristotle: Biography and History
Aristotle’s life was primarily that of a scholar. However, like the other ancient philosophers, it
was not the stereotypical ivory tower existence. His father was court physician to Amyntas III
of Macedon, so Aristotle grew up in a royal household. Aristotle also knew Philip of Macedon
(son of Amyntas III) and there is a tradition that says Aristotle tutored Philip’s son Alexander,
who would later be called “the Great” after expanding the Macedonian Empire all the way to
what is now India. Clearly, Aristotle had significant firsthand experience with politics, though
scholars disagree about how much influence, if any, this experience had on Aristotle’s
thought. There is certainly no evidence that Alexander’s subsequent career was much
influenced by Aristotle’s teaching, which is uniformly critical of war and conquest as goals
for human beings and which praises the intellectual, contemplative lifestyle. It is noteworthy
that although Aristotle praises the politically active life, he spent most of his own life in
Athens, where he was not a citizen and would not have been allowed to participate directly in
politics (although of course anyone who wrote as extensively and well about politics as
Aristotle did was likely to be politically influential).
The Texts
The most important text for understanding Aristotle’s political philosophy, not surprisingly, is
the Politics. However, it is also important to read Nicomachean Ethics in order to fully
understand Aristotle’s political project. This is because Aristotle believed that ethics and
politics were closely linked, and that in fact the ethical and virtuous life is only available to
someone who participates in politics, while moral education is the main purpose of the
political community. As he says in Nicomachean Ethics at 1099b30, “The end [or goal] of
politics is the best of ends; and the main concern of politics is to engender a certain character
in the citizens and to make them good and disposed to perform noble actions.” Most people
living today in Western societies like the United States, Canada, Germany, or Australia would
disagree with both parts of that statement. We are likely to regard politics (and politicians) as
aiming at ignoble, selfish ends, such as wealth and power, rather than the “best end”, and
many people regard the idea that politics is or should be primarily concerned with creating a
particular moral character in citizens as a dangerous intrusion on individual freedom, in large
part because we do not agree about what the “best end” is. In fact, what people in Western
societies generally ask from politics and the government is that they keep each of us safe from
other people (through the provision of police and military forces) so that each of us can
choose and pursue our own ends, whatever they may be. This has been the case in Western
political philosophy at least since John Locke. Development of individual character is left up
to the individual, with help from family, religion, and other non-governmental institutions.
More will be said about this later, but the reader should keep in mind that this is an important
way in which our political and ethical beliefs are not Aristotle’s. The reader is also cautioned
against immediately concluding from this that Ar istotle was wrong and we are right. This
may be so, but it is important to understand why, and the contrast between Aristotle’s beliefs
and ours can help to bring the strengths and weaknesses of our own beliefs into greater clarity.
The Politics, Book I
a. The Purpose of the City
Aristotle begins the Politics by defining its subject, the city or political partnership. Doing so
requires him to explain the purpose of the city. (The Greek word for city is polis, which is the
word that gives us English words like “politics” and “policy”). Aristotle says that “It is clear
that all partnerships aim at some good, and that the partnership that is most authoritative of all
and embraces all the others does so particularly, and aims at the most authoritative good of
all. This is what is called the city or the political partnership” (1252a3) (See also III.12). In
Greece in Aristotle’s time the important political entities were cities, which controlled
surrounding territories that were farmed. It is important to remember that the city was not
subordinate to a state or nation, the way that cities are today; it was sovereign over the
territory that it controlled. To convey this, some translations use the word “city-state” in place
of the world ”polis.” Although none of us today lives in a polis , we should not be too quick to
dismiss Aristotle’s observations on the way of life of the polis as irrelevant to our own
political partnerships.
Notice that Aristotle does not define the political community in the way that we generally would, by
the laws that it follows or by the group that holds power or as an entity controlling a particular
territory. Instead he defines it as a partnership. The citizens of a political community are partners,
and as with any other partnership they pursue a common good. In the case of the city it is the most
authoritative or highest good. The most authoritative and highest good of all, for Aristotle, is the
virtue and happiness of the citizens, and the purpose of the city is to make it possible for the citizens
to achieve this virtue and happiness.
A city is not just a big village, but is fundamentally different: “The partnership arising from
[the union of] several villages that is complete is the city. It reaches a level of full selfsufficiency, so to speak; and while coming into being for the sake of living, it exists for the
sake of living well” (1252b27). Although the founders of cities create them for the sake of
more comfortable lives, cities are unique in making it possible for people to live well. Today
we tend to think of “living well” as living a life of comfort, family satisfaction, and
professional success, surrounded by nice things. But this is not what Aristotle means by
“living well”. As we have seen, for Aristotle “living well” means leading a life of happiness
and virtue, and by so doing fulfilling one’s telos. Life in the city, in Aristotle’s view, is
therefore necessary for anyone who wishes to be completely human. (His particular concern is
with the free men who are citizens). “He who is without a city through nature rather than
chance is either a mean sort or superior to man,” Aristotle says (1253a3), and adds “One who
is incapable of participating or who is in need of nothing through being self-sufficient is no
part of a city, and so is either a beast or a god” (1253a27). Humans are not capable of
becoming gods, but they are capable of becoming beasts, and in fact the worst kind of beasts:
“For just as man is the best of the animals when completed, when separated from law and
adjudication he is the worst of all” (1253a30). Outside of the context of life in a properly
constructed city, human happiness and well-being is impossible. Even here at the very
beginning of the Politics Aristotle is showing the link between ethics and politics and the
importance of a well-constructed city in making it possible for the citizens to live well.
The Politics, Book III
a. Who Is the Citizen?
In Book III, Aristotle takes a different approach to understanding the city. Again he takes up
the question of what the city actually is, but here his method is to understand the parts that
make up the city: the citizens. “Thus who ought to be called a citizen and what the citizen is
must be investigated” (1274b41). For Americans today this is a legal question: anyone born in
the United States or born to American citizens abroad is automatically a citizen. Other people
can become citizens by following the correct legal procedures for doing so. However, this rule
is not acceptable for Aristotle, since slaves are born in the same cities as free men but that
does not make them citizens. For Aristotle, there is more to citizenship than living in a
particular place or sharing in economic activity or being ruled under the same laws. Instead,
citizenship for Aristotle is a kind of activity: “The citizen in an unqualified sense is defined by
no other thing so much as by sharing in decision and office” (1275a22). Later he says that
“Whoever is entitled to participate in an office involving deliberation or decision is, we can
now say, a citizen in this city; and the city is the multitude of such persons that is adequate
with a view to a self-sufficient life, to speak simply” (1275b17). And this citizen is a citizen
“above all in a democracy; he may, but will not necessarily, be a citizen in the others”
(1275b4). We have yet to talk about what a democracy is, but when we do, this point will be
important to defining it properly. When Aristotle talks about participation, he means that each
citizen should participate directly in the assembly – not by voting for representatives – and
should willingly serve on juries to help uphold the laws. Note again the contrast with modern
Western nation-states where there are very few opportunities to participate directly in politics
and most people struggle to avoid serving on juries.
Participation in deliberation and decision making means that the citizen is part of a group that
discusses the advantageous and the harmful, the good and bad, and the just and unjust, and
then passes laws and reaches judicial decisions based on this deliberative process. This
process requires that each citizen consider the various possible courses of action on their
merits and discuss these options with his fellow citizens. By doing so the citizen is engaging
in reason and speech and is therefore fulfilling his telos, engaged in the process that enables
him to achieve the virtuous and happy life. In regimes where the citizens are similar and equal
by nature – which in practice is all of them – all citizens should be allowed to participate in
politics, though not all at once. They must take turns, ruling and being ruled in turn. Note that
this means that citizenship is not just a set of privileges, it is also a set of duties. The citizen
has certain freedoms that non-citizens do not have, but he also has obligations (political
participation and military service) that they do not have. We will see shortly why Aristotle
believed that the cities existing at the time did not in fact follow this principle of ruling and
being ruled in turn.
b. The Good Citizen and the Good Man
Before looking more closely at democracy and the other kinds of regimes, there are still
several important questions to be discussed in Book III. One of the most important of these
from Aristotle’s point of view is in Chapter 4. Here he asks the question of “whether the
virtue of the good man and the excellent citizen is to be regarded as the same or as not the
same” (1276b15). This is a question that seems strange, or at least irrelevant, to most people
today. The good citizen today is asked to follow the laws, pay taxes, and possibly serve on
juries; these are all good things the good man (or woman) would do, so that the good citizen is
seen as being more or less subsumed into the category of the good person. For Aristotle,
however, this is not the case. We have already seen Aristotle’s definition of the good man: the
one who pursues his telos, living a life in accordance with virtue and finding happiness by
doing so. What is Aristotle’s definition of the good citizen?
Aristotle has already told us that if the regime is going to endure it must educate all the
citizens in such a way that they support the kind of regime that it is and the principles that
legitimate it. Because there are several different types of regime (six, to be specific, which
will be considered in more detail shortly), there are several different types of good citizen.
Good citizens must have the type of virtue that preserves the partnership and the regime:
“[A]lthough citizens are dissimilar, preservation of the partnership is their task, and the
regime is [this] partnership; hence the virtue of the citizen must necessarily be with a view to
the regime. If, then, there are indeed several forms of regime, it is clear that it is not possible
for the virtue of the excellent citizen to be single, or complete virtue” (1276b27).
There is only one situation in which the virtue of the good citizen and excellent man are the
same, and this is when the citizens are living in a city that is under the ideal regime: “In the
case of the best regime, [the citizen] is one who is capable of and intentionally chooses being
ruled and ruling with a view to the life in accordance with virtue” (1284a1). Aristotle does not
fully describe this regime until Book VII. For those of us not living in the ideal regime, the
ideal citizen is one who follows the laws and supports the principles of the regime, whatever
that regime is. That this may well require us to act differently than the good man would act
and to believe things that the good man knows to be false is one of the unfortunate tragedies
of political life.

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