Aristotle's Politics

The Role of the Household in Aristotle's Politics

Aristotle notes two political communities that are âlessâ? than the polis: the household and the village. Of these two communities, the household receives far more discussion and is the foundation of much of Aristotleâs political theory. The origins of the household are found in the basic human partnership between a male and female for the sake of reproduction. The household arose from the male-female partnership and it is arranged to fill the basic needs of daily life. As well as supplying these basic needs, the most important task of the household is the education of women, children, and slaves in virtue that is conducive to living in the polis.

In Book Two of the Politics, Aristotle rigorously defends the household and objects strongly to the communism of women and children found in Platoâs Republic. Plato believed that the household would create a conflict between the public and the private interests of the polis, and he responds to this problem by removing private interests such as wives, children, and private property entirely. Aristotle argues that these devices viewed by Plato as private interests are not the sources of dispute in the polis, but rather, that these disputes come about as a result of human wickedness...

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