Aristotle believes that some people are by nature slaves. What Is his argument for that claim? Do you agree with Aristotle that a slave-holding society can be democratic? According to Aristotle, a slave is the property of its master, and that any piece of property can be regarded “as a tool enabling a man to live”. The slave, therefore, is a living tool of the master, whose purpose is to allow the master to live well. A slave belongs to a master, but a master doesn’t belong to a slave.
The rule of a master over a slave, then, is exercised with a view to the master’s and the slave’s goals or nterests. He represents slaves as a tool in his definition of slavery. Aristotle continues his definition of slave by explaining that those people who are “slaves” are naturally born as slaves and they are naturally the property of some one else.
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“Those who are as different [from other men] as the soul from the body or man from beast – and they are in this state if their work is the use of the body, and if this is the best that can come from them – are slaves by nature….
For he is a slave by nature who is capable of belonging to another – which is also why he belongs to another – nd who participates in reason only to the extent of perceiving it, but does not have it. ” Slaves are tools but they are alive and they belong to their masters. But when he widens his explanations about slavery, he states that all slavery instituted by human convention Is not compatible with Justice by saying “the distinction between slave and free Is one of convention only, and In nature there Is no difference, so that this form of rule Is based on force and Is therefore not Just. Therefore, If someone Is not naturally born as a slave, it is unjust to refer him as a slave in his opinion. This critic of Aristotle means that if the slavery is built up my laws or is enforced by some particular communities; these are unjust because they are unnatural and they have no equivalency in nature. In his arguments, the people the laws treat as slaves and those they treat as free which could Justify the legal difference are indistinguishable. So, when Aristotle claims are scrutinized it is obvious to see that in some points Aristotle seems as accepting that some in fact, some legal methods which make people “slaves” are unjust.
But he defends some dfferences between people and these differences make slavery Just. If legal slavery represents these Inherent differences It Is Just, but If It Is contrary to his then It Is totally unjust. Aristotle also states In Polltlcs that: the one strong for servile labor, the other upright, and although useless for such services, useful for political life in the arts both of war and peace. But the opposite often happens–that some have the souls and others have the bodies of freemen.
And doubtless if men differed from one another in the mere forms of their bodies as uch as the statues of the Gods do from men, all would acknowledge that the inferior class should be slaves of the superior. It is clear, then, that some men are by nature free, and others slaves, and that for these latter slavery is both expedient and right. ” and this claim takes us to the point that distinguishing the differences among people. Also, there are some natural differences between people and these differences can Justify slavery or being someone’s living tool.
Human beings are divided into groups according to different categorizations. “The first partnerships among human eings would have been between “persons who cannot exist without one another. ” There are two groups of people in this case; “male and female for the sake of reproduction. ” and he continuous this discrimination by explaining the second partnership:”the naturally ruling and ruled, on account of preservation. ” First, the ones who have less knowledge and who have more knowledge to manage with life.
First group cannot properly exercise the practical virtues on their own and they have less chance to achieve the happiness. So, to treat someone as a “living tool” as Aristotle did, is not a complication to achieve the happiness. Furthermore, it is better to do so in order to give him the best possible use of that entity for the happiness. “Where then there is such a difference as that between soul and body, or between men and animals, the lower sort are by nature slaves, and it is better for them as for all inferiors that they should be under the rule of a master.
For he who can be, and therefore is, another’s and he who participates in rational principle enough to apprehend, but not to have, such a principle, is a slave by nature. ” By looking all these things Aristotle indicates about slavery, still it is not valid to defense the existence of slavery no matter what. Because in Aristotle arguments he defends that to be a natural slave is better for a slave, but to decide such an important in a human beings life is not possible, therefore not valid or ethic.
Because it is unknown that if someone really unable to sustain his life and achieve the happiness especially for a short time of period. People may give their whole life to achieve the happiness and they can reach this aim maybe at the end of their lives, nd die as a happy human being without being treated as a slave by someone else’s orders. Aristotle claims that natural slaves are people Whose condition is such that their function is the use of their bodies and nothing better can be expected of them. But by saying that he does not exactly mean “not able to think or understand. ” Because if it was so that would be impossible for masters to expect all those things that slaves virtue is. But they are not the only one who are incapable to understand it, it is the majority of the society. Thus, if that would be an acceptable argument that, it would be necessary to agree that most people are incapable of true virtue and therefore they are all slaves which is impossible and completely absurd. Also another issue can be changed in a contrary way to what Aristotle claims.
He distinguishes people as slaves and non-slaves, or the ruled ones and the rulers. But this grouping method can be collected in one group by using some techniques such as education. Even assuming that to be natural slave is natural and Just;it is quite logical to give a ualified education to group which includes “the slaves” and elevate them to the identical level as the rulers are. It is much beneficial to look for solutions rather than just categorizing people and treat them by some criteria without even questioning their rationality.
Although the basic claims Aristotle makes, he is unable to explain not explain why some people are both weak and also have lack of knowledge and why some people are both strong and capable of knowledge. His arguments are also weak about why the children of natural slaves appears like natural rulers and how someone can ecome a slave even that not being captured in a war r how one can become a slave while he or she is the child of a natural master.
When it is looked from different perspectives and from the society that we live in, all these reasons given above makes us to stand Just opposite to Aristotle’s thoughts and believing that it is unjust to enslave someone no matter what. Nobody is capable enough to decide whether someone has enough knowledge or not; or unable to sustain their lives and achieve the happiness, therefore it does not make any sense to try clarify the slavery is Just in today’s conditions.