Aristotle Essay

1256 words - 5 pages

Born in the year of 384 B.C. Aristotle was seen as conventional for his time, for he regarded slavery as a natural course of nature and believed that certain people were born to be slaves due to the fact that their soul lacked the rational part that should rule in a human being; However in certain circumstances it is evident that Aristotle did not believe that all men who were slaves were meant to be slaves.In his book Politics, Aristotle begins with the Theory of The Household, and it is here that the majority of his views upon slavery are found. With the beginning of Chapter IV, Aristotle's idea of slavery is clearly defined. 'The instruments of the household form its stock of property : they are animate and inanimate : the slave is an animate instrument, intended (like all the instruments of the household) for action, and not for productions.' This distinction between action and production, is based upon the understanding that 'production' is a course in which a result is desired beyond the immediate act of doing. Where as, the simple act of completing a task is identified as 'action'. Aristotle, who believed that life was action and not production theorized that slaves were instruments of life and were therefore needed to form a complete household. In fact Aristotle went as far as to say that a slave was comparable to a tame animal, with their only divergence in the fact that a slavecould apprehend reason. For he concluded that a slave and animals only use was to supply their owners with bodily help.At the end of the Theories of the Household, Aristotle explains how slaves are different from andy other types of people, in the sence that they are the only class who are born into their occupation and become property of their masters. In examining this relationship we find that he thought that while masters were the masters of the slaves, they still held a life other than that of being master; However, Aristotle believed that not only was the slave a slave to his master, but the slave had no other life or purpose than belonging. From this consideration we begin to understand Aristotle's views on the relationship between Master and Slave.At the beginning of Chapter V of the Theory of the Household, the distinct role of master and slave is defined.There is a principle of rule and subordin-action in nature at large : it appearsespecially in the realm of animate creation.By virtue of that principle, the soul rulesthe body; and by virtue of it the master, who possesses the rational faculty of the soul,rules the slave, who possesses only bodilypowers and the faculty of understanding thedirections given by another's reason.It was Aristotle's views on the human soul that gave grounds to his arguments for slavery. It was his beliefs that the soulwas divided into two parts, being the rational faculty and thecapacity for obeying. Aristotle postulated that a freeman was innately born with the rational faculty while 'A slave is entirely without the faculty...

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