Aristotle and Plato: two political thoughts. Discuss similarities and differences between the two.
Plato was the father of the “Utopian” idea in which several features were essential. He broke down the human soul in three parts; Desire spiritual and rational. Plato addresses the three features as being key to the establishment of the perfect society. If every person counterweights with the whole of society and these features than society can understand each other and progress and work towards the advancement of the society. Aristotle takes the same concept but more clearly defines it and takes it to the next level that goes beyond the perfect state and allows its applications to influence the whole system rather that purely serve as its basis. Aristotle has a perfect society but is not as nearly exaggerated as that of a utopia. Aristotle takes a more lenient attitude in his philosophy in general, in which its application is easier to real life. Aristotle sees only two parts to the human soul; the philosophical/ theoretical and the rational. Superficially one may derive from this that the human soul is far deeper than that of Plato’s partitions. In fact Aristotle regards human individual more than Plato does. Aristotle believes that each and every human has the philosophical/ theoretical dimension to him or her but the distinguishing feature is the ability to be rational. Plato uses the analogy of golden, silver and iron souls to distinguish the differences.
The scales on which both philosophers regard the human soul on are consequently determinate to the whole political structure and system more so in Plato’s utopia. To be able to recognize the difference of perspectives, looking at what qualifies one to become a ruler is essential. Plato claims that the pre-determined level of a soul is the definite feature of the ruler. The king must be of a golden soul who also happens to be a philosopher. Aristotle takes the latter part of this interpretation and applies it to the rational part of the human soul and defines it as being the determinate factor unique characteristic that qualifies to be the leader. The soul classification of Plato creates a blatant hierarchical system that I personally see as a huge flaw to Plato’s utopia and therefore more agree with Aristotle’s view that all citizens are free and that the leader can only be if here were rational. One may think what if there were many people who are rational? The answer I find to that is exactly supports the hierarchal system he purposes. Aristotle proposes that the whole of the society in general should determine who is the leader, more like a democracy but with smaller terms and more watchdog councils set up but in a structure where all rational people have a turn to benefit society. On the contrary Plato sees that only the one philosopher king can rule, which in reality causes severe complications and more room for error as iron soul and silver soul have no say in society and only serve as the wheels for the progress of society, as oppose to Aristotle who believes all free men are born equal opening the possibility for interaction and understanding, giving the potential of all people of becoming good citizens. Both philosophers express the modern terms of nature of nurture but with a political significance. Plato believes that the predetermined soul level is the humans nature which one cannot escape and is part of no matter what, and Aristotle believe that our nature is equal in all of us and the nurture is the next significant factor that can lead to the ability of rationalism.
The orientation of the whole of society within itself without relation to the ruling structure in both philosophers society conflict and conduct totally differently. Plato continues and to use his classification system throughout the whole of society. Aristotle proposes a far less hierarchical society. Both perfect societies are based on the ultimate goal of achieving happiness for all. Plato claims happiness can be easily achieved once all the different classes co-operate with another, with each accepting their position in society, mainly due to the reason no matter what social class one is they are essential and part of this perfect society. In extreme cases on can compare this to communism where each has a role assigned by the state and must work with it or will lead to the collapse of the whole of the society. This strict system that is based solely on class has been obviously seen to collapse as in Eastern Europe in the latter part of the centaury. Aristotle takes are far more relaxed view that in application may have a more long lasting lifespan. Aristotle sees that the happiness of society can be found through the pursuing of leisure. Aristotle strictly emphasizes the importance of leisure seeking but recognizes that this must exist in specific environment. The role of family and the union of family are encouraged in many aspects in Aristotle’s philosophy. In fact one can actually identify many aspects of the political structure of the perfect society based around the family structure, where there exists a ruler who could be seen as the father but in many aspects a family is not a totalitarian state and is more like a cooperation, still lead but not alone. Family takes the role of providing the nurture in the souls and also provides the drive for leisure seeking and essentially leading to the perfect society. Aristotle leaves no part of societies citizens isolated. Plato prefers to look at the isolation he puts the citizens in as soul categories that one must accept to be happy. Applying both points of views parallel, I can see very little competition in which Plato may prevail. Applying Plato’s specific points of views to modern societies would cause havoc and would lead to a society far from that of a perfect one. It is also important to apply this to the society he essentially wrote it for in the first place. Such structures have been set up century after century regimes upon regimes in all parts of the world, resulting to each and every ones failure.