Aristotle's Politics

Aristotle’s Critique of Plato’s Republic

In book two of Aristotle’s Politics, Aristotle defines his ideal state by criticizing the values put forward in Plato’s The Republic. In doing so, Aristotle censures Plato’s idea of state unification through sharing as much as possible, including wives, children, and property. Aristotle counters that Plato’s concept is detrimental to the state’s unity because it prevents the individual citizen from achieving his or her maximum role in society and being as happy as possible. In critiquing Plato’s constitution, Aristotle provides solutions of his own that promote the diversity of function within the state and allow for each citizen to achieve his maximum role in society.

Throughout book two of Politics, Aristotle’s discrepancies with Plato’s ideal state revolve around the idea of communal sharing. Aristotle first attacks Plato’s suggestion that men must share the women of the city and that their children be taken from their mothers at birth and raised in state nurseries. Aristotle argues that Plato’s reasoning behind his claim (to unify the state) is illogical because, in time, all citizens will become the same, which is detrimental. Instead, Aristotle contends that diversity in terms of experience and specialty is essential. He...

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