Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics

Aristotle's Critiques of Plato's Arguments

Many of Aristotle's views have stemmed from those of Plato. However, in Nicomachean Ethics and Politics, Aristotle criticizes four main arguments in Plato's Republic. They are: the way in which women and children should be held in common, the system of property, the organization of the government, and the concept of unity- the idea under which the previous three have stemmed. The problem in Plato's description of the ideal city is that it is too unified, and according to Aristotle, an excess of unity leads to a lack of self-sufficiency. In this idea lies the chief problem in Plato's attempt at creating an ideal republic.

In analyzing Plato's text, Republic, it is evident that the ideal state consists of three distinct classes of people who collectively make the system work. At the bottom of the social classifications is the productive class, which includes people such as doctors, farmers, teachers, and craftsmen. They are considered the least likely to rule because of their tendency to act upon the appetitive part of the soul; they focus more on the physical (money, food, and sex). One level higher stands the auxiliaries (officers), who are guided by the spirited part of the soul. Lastly, at the top of the...

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