The Final and Perfect Association College
Aristotle’s reasoning as to why he believed the Greek polis to be superior to other forms of associations can be found in Book 1.2 of his teachings in Politics. It contains an analysis of the individual components which make up a polis, the household and village, and why these associations on their own are unable to satisfy the needs of the individual. This has to do with Aristotle’s concept of happiness; since all human beings strive for happiness and the end goal of the polis is a “good life”, he considers the polis to be the “final and perfect association” (Aristotle 281). What is interesting, however, is that Aristotle teaches that all associations are based on unions between those who cannot exist without the other (Aristotle 280), yet his idea of a perfect association is one that is self-sufficient. In this paper, I will argue that Book 1.2 of Politics shows that the idea of a polis was unique at the time, because it was not dependent on kinship structure, but was instead based on the concepts of self-sufficiency and justice. It can also tell us about the major forms of government at the time, as well as Greek attitudes towards barbarians and the importance of the family unit. To do this, I will examine why Aristotle...
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