Aristotle Slavery Essay

1388 words - 6 pages

Aristotle believes that some people are by nature slaves. What is his argument for that claim? Do you agree with Aristotle that a slave-holding society can be democratic?

According to Aristotle, a slave is the property of its master, and that any piece of property can be regarded "as a tool enabling a man to live". The slave, therefore, is a living tool of the master, whose purpose is to allow the master to live well. A slave belongs to a master, but a master doesn't belong to a slave. The rule of a master over a slave, then, is exercised with a view to the master's and the slave's goals or interests. He represents slaves as a tool in his definition of slavery. Aristotle continues his ...view middle of the document...

In his arguments, the people the laws treat as slaves and those they treat as free which could justify the legal difference are indistinguishable.

So, when Aristotle claims are scrutinized it is obvious to see that in some points Aristotle seems as accepting that some in fact, some legal methods which make people “slaves” are unjust. But he defends some differences between people and these differences make slavery just. If legal slavery represents these inherent differences it is just, but if it is contrary to his then it is totally unjust. Aristotle also states in Politics that:

“Nature would like to distinguish between the bodies of freemen and slaves, making the one strong for servile labor, the other upright, and although useless for such services, useful for political life in the arts both of war and peace. But the opposite often happens--that some have the souls and others have the bodies of freemen. And doubtless if men differed from one another in the mere forms of their bodies as much as the statues of the Gods do from men, all would acknowledge that the inferior class should be slaves of the superior. ... It is clear, then, that some men are by nature free, and others slaves, and that for these latter slavery is both expedient and right.” and this claim takes us to the point that distinguishing the differences among people.

Also, there are some natural differences between people and these differences can justify slavery or being someone's living tool. Human beings are divided into groups according to different categorizations. “The first partnerships among human beings would have been between “persons who cannot exist without one another.” There are two groups of people in this case; “male and female for the sake of reproduction.” and he continuous this discrimination by explaining the second partnership:“the naturally ruling and ruled, on account of preservation.” First, the ones who have less knowledge and who have more knowledge to manage with life. First group cannot properly exercise the practical virtues on their own and they have less chance to achieve the happiness. So, to treat someone as a “living tool” as Aristotle did, is not a complication to achieve the happiness. Furthermore, it is better to do so in order to give him the best possible use of that entity for the happiness.

“Where then there is such a difference as that between soul and body, or between men and animals, the lower sort are by nature slaves, and it is better for them as for all inferiors that they should be under the rule of a master. For he who can be, and therefore is, another's and he who participates in rational principle enough to apprehend, but not to have, such a principle, is a slave by nature.“

By looking all these things Aristotle indicates about slavery, still it is not valid to defense the...

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