Questions for Aristotle’s Politics, Book III

  • What do you think of Aristotle’s conjecture that “a city state is a sort of community, a community of citizens sharing a constitution, then, when the constitution changes its form and becomes different, it would seem that the city-state too cannot remain the same” (1276b)? How vital do you think a steady constitution is to the identity of the city-state?
  • Aristotle says in 1277b in lines 5-10 “one cannot rule well without having been ruled.” Do you think our rulers in our government embody this virtue? Would we better off if they did?
  • Why aren’t good citizens and good men the same? Is it better to be a good man or a good citizen?
  • If there is no common profit between the constitutions, which is the best constitution?

2 thoughts on “Questions for Aristotle’s Politics, Book III

  1. Lianna

    I think that a good man will make a good citizen. It is interesting because someone can be a good citizen without being a good person. While one can follow societies rules and meet the expectations, they can fall short of having the personality traits that would make them a good man. It is harder to be a good man than a good citizen. I think that it is better to be a good man because it usually means you are also a good citizen. I also think that it means more to be a good person rather than being a good citizen, because being a good man means having a character that is thoughtful, kind, etc.

  2. acavender Post author

    I suspect there are a lot of instances in which a good person will also be a good citizen. But there are also times where those two things might not coincide. The Athenian authorities, for example, didn’t think Socrates was a good citizen. Nor did the German authorities in 1943 think that Franz Jägerstätter was a good citizen.

    Were the authorities in those cases wrong? They were certainly good men, but were they good citizens?

Comments are closed.