Essay Assignment 4/17/15
Word Count: 1,597
The Ideals of Commerce of Aristotle vs. John Locke
Aristotle and John Locke are two of the more prominent philosophers of their respective time periods when historically analyzing political philosophy. Each philosopher has many written sources of their beliefs and ideals, many of which go against the ‘norms’ of the societies of their time period. Second Treatise of Government, by John Locke, and Aristotle’s Politics, written by Aristotle, both outline each philosopher’s ideal political regime in which each political system described is tailored to each individual’s self-thinking. Past experiences as well ...view middle of the document...
John Locke was part of a few big moments in history as he was part of the English Civil War (1640-1652) as well as the Restoration (1660) and Glorious Revolution (1688). In the First Treatise of Government, Locke refutes the notion of the divine right of kings and in the Second Treatise he goes on to investigate the true and natural foundations of government in which he defines the purposes and limits of government.
The first difference in evaluation of economy/commerce between both Aristotle and Locke is established with the difference in their definition of politics or political power. According to Aristotle, “since we see that every city is some sort of community, and that every community is constituted for the sake of some good (for everyone does everything for the sake of what is held to be good), it is clear that all communities aim at some good, and that the community that is most authoritative of all and embraces all the others does so particularly, and aims at the most authoritative good of all,” (Aristotle, Politics, 1252a 1-6, Bk 1, Ch. 1). Aristotle then goes on to say that the city is natural but the fulfillment of nature is not inevitable as people are needed to care for this aspect of politics.
Aristotle does not believe the care of others can be done in a heartless manner or involve heartless people for true fruition whereas Locke does not necessarily factor the reality of humanity as well as unity into the equation. Locke defines political power as, “a right of making penalties of death, and consequently all less penalties, for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defense of the commonwealth from foreign injury; and all this only for the public good,” (Locke, Second Treatise of Government, Ch. I, 3). Compared to Aristotle, Locke’s preliminary definition of political power is much more vain in reality and it places a value on the people within the community that does not parallel the value of the people in the community Aristotle is speaking of when making an example of his beliefs/ideals based on political regime.
The role of the people also plays a role in the difference of commerce between both philosophers as they try to rationalize the role of the people and the effect that commerce would have on them. Aristotle’s Economics was essentially a two-part series that examined the effect commerce has had and would have on humanity. Aristotle uses the term ‘Nature’s Way’ as it means that nature will supply every creature with what it needs to live. With that said, he goes on to describe human beings as having problems when it comes to this so called reality. Aristotle feels that acquisition of property has been a problem with humanity for years and he does not say that simply for a reaction from his audience. In chapter 8 of Politics, Aristotle expounds on how human beings essentially pursue all modes of acquisition. He speaks on...