Aristotle "being in act and being in power"

Classified in Philosophy and ethics

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For any regime, the best regime is always going to be the regime that is most connected to the end. It meets the end of political life most fully.

Why does Plato hold that Thymos and reason ground that which is considered the best regime (specifically speaking, the.

The Callipolis is the best regime on Plato’s view because it meets the end most fully. Democracy falls afoul of the end and is a degenerate regime.


 Rule on the basis of reason


 Material Appetites



Material Appetites

Cause: The upper class begin to favor themselves


Love of Money vs. Poor

Cause: Honor is valuable to the forces of wealth especially if that wealth is not based on principal


 Freedom and Equality

 Poor Many vs. The rich few

 Cause: Gap between rich and poor widens

 The many insist on liberation and all desires are unleashed

 All the appetites are unleashed and faction might occur


Love of desire

tyrant - savage appetites vs. Everyone

Cause: the poor few turn against the remaining oligarchs and whipped up by demagogues(political leaders who appeal to desires instead of reason)

Plato –  The Best Regime is the Callipolis-- known as the city of noble simplicity

The Callipolis is the best because it is ordered on the basis of merit in such a way that all natures are satisfied.

Characteristics: rule by few, philosopher kings who possess some superiority in reason and thymos. These rulers direct those who are merely thymotic and not preeminent in reason. This group, in turn, govern those who are awash in their appetite for material things.

Why does Plato hold that Thymos and reason ground that which is considered the best regime. Thumos and reason are determinants of human beahavior.Thuous is important for self-governing and self-rule.  

Aristotle – Aristotle holds that a regime is good insofar as it rules with a view to the common good and on the basis of merit. A bad regime  does not do either. Monarchy- is rule by one for the common good, Aristocracy- is rule by a few good with a view that is best for the city and those sharing in it, and Polity- is when many govern on the basis of good laws and institutions with a view to the common advantage..

How many rule

For the sake of the whole

For the sake of the ruler


Monarchy (Parent & child)

Tyranny (Mastery/slavery)


Aristocracy (parent & parent)

Oligarchy (Rule by the few rich)


Polity (Timocracy)

Democracy (Ruled by many poor)

Aristotle claims that a monarchy is the best regime that is a mere ideal because it is not often a ruler is god like and, by extension, a virtuous person. Aristotle, will argue that only a small percentage of society is virtuous. The monarchy is best absolutely because it is the best meritorious person ruling for the common good. The monarchy is a mere ideal because Aristotle will say that it is very rare to find  person who is godlike/perfectly virtuous.

An aristocracy is directly perfectionist, it inculcates eudiamonia in the citizens and makes virtue a condition of full citizenship. This is the second best because it is ruled by the group who is most eudiamon, who has the most virtue. The group of people who rule the aristocracy are a subset of those few virtuous people in society.

Polity – indirectly perfectionist. It creates conditions favorable to the cultivation of Eudaimonia by citizen. So its orderly, lawful and moral. It’s institutions and laws most meritorious, not the people .

The monarchy, aristocracy, and polity are all meritorious but in different ways.

In the monarchy the king is the most meritorious person whereas in the aristocracy the group of rulers are the most meritorious.

Cicero- The best regime is the mixed commonwealth formed through an institutional system of checks and balances involving all three elements of good regimes. Monarchy- authority and power. Aristocracy – virtue, merit, wisdom. Democracy- the love of liberty. By incorporating all three of these things the commonwealth is more durable, orderly, and stable— less liable to degenerate into a tyranny, oligarchy, or mob rule.  In accord with natural law and is more durable and achieves end of city more fully. Because of the system of checks and balances the mixed commonwealth succeeds in meeting the end of the city more durably and more reliably.  

The problem is that the three unmixed regimes tend to slip into their degenerate forms.

Good Rule: in accord with natural law for a particular community

Bad Rule: Not in accord w/ natural law and Not for the sake of a particular community

Types of rule

Good (Rule on basis of natural law for the sake of the preservation of the commonwealth)

Bad (Rule on basis contrary to natural law not for the sake of the preservation of the commonwealth)


Monarchy: key value lies in power held by one. Excludes everyone but monarch from administration of justice

Tyranny: Monarch ceases to act on basis of natural law and preservation of commonwealth and acts in self interest


Aristocracy: key value is merit

Oligarchy: Becomes concerned with ruling for rulers own sake in a way that is contrary to natural law


Democracy: key value is liberty

Mob-Rule: Commonwealth does not exist, liberty taken to excess becomes chaotic and turns into form of slavery to the passions of the crowd

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