Aristotle 3 Essay Research Paper Aristotle s

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Aristotle 3 Essay, Research Paper Aristotle s Successful Attack on Socrates Proposal: Should Women and Children Be Held in Common? In Aristotle s Politics, Aristotle successfully criticizes Socrates proposal of having wives and children in common (Plato 449d) by pointing out a number of flaws in Socrates proposal. In the following pages, I will explain the view held by Socrates that women and children should be held in common as well as the reasoning behind his view as reported in Plato s Republic. Second, I will explain Aristotle s criticism of Socrates proposal as well as the reasoning behind his criticisms. Thirdly, I will assess the criticism given by Aristotle and explain why the criticism is successful. Socrates proposal of having women and children in common (Plato

449d) appears in Plato Republic in which Socrates attempts to define justice. In attempting to define justice, Socrates attempts to describe a just city. It is in this just city which Plato proposes the idea that women and children should be held in common. The idea comes in an overall system in which there are different levels of society, each following their own duty. Socrates proposes this system for the guardians, or the political leaders of the state, but he remains vague as to the application of this system to other classes in his state. For the purpose of this paper, I will not focus on the other parts of the state, and instead focus on the practice of holding women and children in common as it pertains to the guardian class. The system does not allow marriage, but has

specific rules about sexual relations and child rearing. Sexual relations are all meant to be sanctioned by the rulers and must occur only within one s own group. As far as keeping the children in common, They ll take the newborn children of good parents to the nurse in charge of the rearing pen situated in a separate part of the city. (Plato 460c) In regards to the children of the inferior groups, they will be exposed. Babies will also be exposed if they are born by parents who are out of their prime. People are not allowed to have sex with others who could be their children or parents based on their age. The system also outlines a system of addressing those around you based on age. Socrates specifically explains certain aspects of his proposal for holding women and children in

common. The main reasoning behind Socrates proposal is based in Socrates view of the function of the state. Socrates believes that the good of the state is superior to the good of the individual. His proposal shows that he sees unity of the state as the best way to achieve the ideal state. This is evident when Socrates says that holding women and children in common will alleviate the problems that come from dissension that arises between people because of the possession of money, children and families. (Plato464d) Socrates takes pride in this idea, as it will lead people to aim at the same goal, and, as far as possible, feel pleasure and pain in unison. (Plato464d) Socrates proposes that women and children be held in common in order to make the city united as one, with the good

of the state the highest good. Aristotle provides multiple criticisms of Socrates proposal showing that it is impractical to hold women and children in common based on unity. Aristotle begins by stating that Socrates has, in fact, taken unity to far as the goal of the state. This is because the nature of a state is to be a plurality, and in tending to the greater unity, from being a state it becomes a family, and from being a family, an individual. (Aristotle1261a20) He also argues that unity can be taken to a level that is not good for a state when he says that the extreme unification of states is not good: for a family is more self-sufficing than an individual, and a city than a family, and a city only comes into being when it is large enough to become self-sufficing.