Open main menu

Page:Aristotle's Politics.djvu/15

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


cc. 1, 2. Definition and structure of the State.

The state is the highest form of community and aims at the highest good. How it differs from other communities will appear if we examine the parts of which it is composed (c. 1). It consists of villages which consist of households. The household is founded upon the two relations of male and female, of master and slave; it exists to satisfy man's daily needs. The village, a wider community, satisfies a wider range of needs. The state aims at satisfying all the needs of men. Men form states to secure a bare subsistence; but the ultimate object of the state is the good life. The naturalness of the state is proved by the faculty of speech in man. In the order of Nature the state precedes the household and the individual. It is founded on a natural impulse, that towards political association (c. 2).

cc. 3–13. Household economy. The Slave. Property. Children and Wives.

Let us discuss the household, since the state is composed of households (c. 3). First as to slavery. The slave is a piece of property which is animate, and useful for action rather than for production (c. 4). Slavery is natural; in every department of the natural universe we find the relation of ruler and subject. There are human beings who, without possessing reason, understand it. These are natural slaves (c. 5). But we find persons in slavery who are not natural slaves. Hence slavery itself is condemned by some; but they are wrong. The natural slave benefits by subjection to a master (c. 6). The art of ruling slaves differs from that of