Political thought- Aristotle Views on Slavery
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Political thought- Aristotle Views on Slavery
Views on Slavery by AristotlePresented by-Sanket GogoiB.A., LL.B (Hons)Dept. of Law, Guwahati University
The person who is not his own men is a Slave. According to Aristotle- Slave is a living possession and property of his master. Though he has sufficient power to understand and follow reason he has no reasoning power
In order to develop-1. Moral and2. Intellectual Excellence P.S.- Development of these faculties needs leisure which can be provided only my slavery.
Three Grounds on which Aristotle justified Slavery-1. Natural.2. Usefulness.3. Expediency.
Nature provides different persons with different qualities and ordains that superior should rule over the inferior. Acc. to Aristotle another general rule of nature is that the inferior should be subordinate to the superior. Nature has endowed the masters with intellectual strength and bestowed physical strength on the slaves.
Aristotle asserts that masters should be free from material worries so the they may be able to concentrate on the public affairs. Aristotle says that slavery is not only useful to the master but also to the slave, because he is also to share the virtue of his master and get elevated.
Aristotle says that during his time slavery played a vital role in the maintenance and operation of the Greed economy. A major portion of the population residing in the city-state consisted of states and their emancipation would have greatly upset the balance of power in the city-state and damage the social fabric. This would have given rise to social disorder and chaos.
First, Aristotle wrongly assumes that some are born to rule because they are intelligent and virtuous. This is contrary to the modern notions of equality which assumes that all are born equal and some develop the faculties which equip them to rule over others. Secondly even we accept Aristotles conception that only superior should rule over the inferior. On the other hand Aristotle presumes the existence of only two classes the master and slaves.
Thirdly, Aristotle treats slavery as a hereditary institution and asserts that some people are by nature slaves. Finally, his theory of slavery is also contrary to the notions of social justice. On the other hand he considers the slavery essential to enable the masters to devote themselves fully to the service of the society, but on the other hand he does not acknowledge their importance or properly reward them for their services. This is clear violation of the notion of social justice