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Republican city-state politics and morality in action

Author: XiongWenChi
Tutor: LinShangLi
School: Fudan University
Course: Political Theory
Keywords: City-state republic Virtue of action Sovereignty sharing Ethics of virtue Politicians Education
CLC: D091.2
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2006
Downloads: 923
Quote: 2
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Today Concerning the study of Aristotle’s Political Philosophy, there are two main schools, the one is the modern republicanism, which takes the modern liberal politics for granted and wants to borrow some constructive factors form polis; and the other is neo-Aristotelianism, which somehow criticizes the modern politics and wants to find some certain true politics. All of these are our best assistants to understand Aristotle.On the basis of modern Aristotle’s studies we construct our research, and emphasize that a successive Aristotle’s political philosophy study should be carried in the vivid circumstances of Greek Polis, and the understanding of Aristotle’s Polis should be a political one, that is, only in the horizon of politics, a true understand of polis will be possible.Politeia in polis means the self-ruled group of citizens against any despotic ruling, which refuses any similar element of the relationship between lord and slave. In the historical practices of polis, the most destroying factors focus on the stasis of two or more parts of the citizens, which are the struggle for the sovereignty of polis. The overwhelming aim of any practical parties is to set up its own despotism over all others, which consequently ruins the Politeia, thus compositing the most tragically drama in polis.The political justice is the most thoughtful element for Aristotle to resolve the stasis, which is the δικη, the most equitable division, on the problem of sharing sovereignty in citizen group. To catch the deepest meaning of Aristotle’s political justice we should keep in mind that the sharing of sovereignty in citizen group is not the individualism of modern politics, but a kind of proportional sharing among the different parts in a polis. In practice such sharing will come true in the way of mixed Politeia. When the sovereignty of a polis is shared in such a way, we should say that is the true Politeia, in other words, the Republic.Such Politeia will come true on the basis of αρετη, a kind of noble action of citizen, and which has nothing to do with modem Moral. As we know that in polis, politics goes always in the circles of honor and power, which are the aims of most importance for ancient citizens and the most impetus factor for polis to progress. But in the other hand, such aim will probably light the flames in the heart of some political careerists, who may lost the moderation and hunt for unlimited political power, and the most powerful rule is the tyranny, which inside polis will be despoticrule over his fellow citizens, outside will be an imperial all over the world. At this time, the Politeia has been murdered.The failure of sharing sovereignty always comes from the corruption of moderation of citizens and politicians, from the corruption of αρετη, and at this time the common sovereignty degenerates into despotic rule.αρετη for polis includes the ethical one and the intellectual one. Ethical αρετη basically concerns the passions of pleasure and pain, and so the education will begin with passions, and the main part of such education will reasonably be music. One of the intellectual αρετη is phronesis, which is a practical wisdom especially for statesman, not for the citizen mass, and the most important education for such αρετη is the political philosophy, and Aristotle’s political philosophy is the education for future statesman and legislator.And the last step of political education is to understand and enjoy the nobleness and self-sufficiency in a kind of leisure, which is σχολη. According to Aristotle, such σχολη is indispensable for polis to keep a fine Politeia, and the statesman who can enjoy such σχολη will get a holy self-sufficiency, will never lost his moderation to seek tyranny and imperial, and instead takes the justice Politeia as the noblest political ideal.

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CLC: > Political, legal > Political Theory > History of Political Science,History of Political Thought > World History of Political Thought > Ancient times
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