• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Expound and assess Aristotle's doctrine of natural slavery

Extracts from this document...


Expound and assess Aristotle's doctrine of natural slavery In book 1 of the Politics Aristotle introduces a discussion of the household, which he views as consisting of three essential relationships: master and slave, husband and wife and parent and child. His consideration of slavery is based not merely on its utility but also in terms of its justification. For Aristotle, the instruments of the household form its stock of property. These instruments can be either animate or inanimate but are intended for action rather than production. The slave is therefore classed as an animate instrument and thus is classified as the property of his master. As Aristotle puts it, "Anybody who by his nature is not his own man, but another's, is by his nature a slave." Aristotle then expands on this definition by offering an analogy for the relationship of master and slave. For Aristotle believes that there is a principal of rule and subordination in nature as a whole, especially in the realm of animate creation. This helps him to counteract suggestions that slavery is unjust, since "the relation of ruler and ruled is one of those things which are not only necessary but also beneficial." ...read more.


however this contradicts the idea that the slave is by nature a slave and thus to free them from the state to which nature has placed them would be wrong. However Aristotle can defend himself here, since the master is not required to feel any moral responsibility to the slave. Since the nature of the despotic rule of master to slave is characterised as being solely in the interests of the master, with any benefit that the slave receives being accidental (1278b32-7). Indeed presumably any friendship that might exist between master and slave could be characterised as one of utility, with the master benefiting from the slave's service in exchange for the slave gaining from having a master. However the suggestion that a master might utilise a steward to employ the slaves (1255b35) is more troubling, since the steward would himself be a slave. How therefore would he be a fit master, since presumably he would not have the capacity of reason that allows a master to know how to use slaves. While it might be argued that the steward could first take his orders from the master and thus not be exercising reason but merely recognising it, his position does still seem troubling. ...read more.


For indeed his character is not like that of Aristotle's natural slave who is incapable of reason, but like the child who has yet to develop it. As Schofield informs us, "the crucial difference, he might say, between a child and a natural slave is that the child can and normally will acquire strategic purposes of his own (even if his present capacity for deliberation is very underdeveloped), but the natural slave never can."7 1 This latter capacity allowing the humanity of the slave through separation of the slave from animal. 2 It does seem equally possible to accuse those who find Aristotle's slavery morally reprehensible are equally being affected by the custom of their times. 3 N. Smith in D. Keyt and F. Miller edd. A Companion to Aristotle's Politics p.154 4 W. Fortenbaugh in Barnes, Schofield, Sorabji edd. Articles on Aristotle 2 p.137 5 N. Smith in D. Keyt and F. Miller edd. A Companion to Aristotle's Politics p.148 6 Ibid 7 M. Schofield in G. Patzig ed. Aristoteles' Politik p.15 ?? ?? ?? ?? Christopher Bell For Harry Platanakis Wednesday 8th March 3pm ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Wordsworth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Wordsworth essays

  1. NATURE, natural, and the group of words derived from them, or allied to them ...

    a name for the mode, partly known to us and partly unknown, in which all things take place. For the word suggests, not so much the multitudinous detail of the phenomena, as the conception which might be formed of their manner of existence as a mental whole, by a mind

  2. Plato's Ethics and Political Philosophy.

    How does Plato relate the corruption of the state to the corruption of human nature? The state becomes corrupted when it increases in size and this leads to, " a multitude of occupations none of which is concerned with necessaries" (373b); thus there is a shift towards appetite desires.

  1. Explore the Relationship Between Literature and Politics In the Work of Romantic Authors.

    condemn Charles I and then condone Charles II, whereas Southey had 'hated George III (in his radical youth) but had praised his son (the Prince Regent)',33 'He did not loathe the sire to laud the son'.34 The poem also brands George III and the Prince Regent as tyrants due to

  2. Present an analysis of how the composers of your two prescribed texts (Brave New ...

    Similarly, a contrast of scenes is used in Bladerunner to illustrate Scott's concern that consumerism is a primary cause of inequality in humanity and nature. The atmospheric setting in the opening montage illustrates a pervading darkness, with fearful synthetic sounds and a high camera angle zooming down onto the streets of fiery urban decay titled "Hades, Los Angeles, 2019."

  1. Ellery Channing, Thoreau's friend and sometime walking companion called him a "poet-naturalist."

    So what kind of "scientist" was Thoreau himself? (4) He wrote one essay, which he said, was on a "purely scientific subject" "The Succession of Forest Trees." It explains why pines spring up when an oak wood is cut down and why the process would be reversed should a stand of pines be chopped down, provided both trees are common.

  2. Smith, Charlotte (Turner) 4 May 1749 - 28 October 1806.

    through the image of the two vaginal lips touching. As the lips touch, they do not consume or absorb each other. Fuss says: "Three words neatly summarize for Irigaray the significance of the two lips: `Both a once.' Both at once signifies that a woman is simultaneously singular and double (58).

  1. Coleridge, Samuel Taylor (1772-1834), English poet, critic, and philosopher, who was a leader of ...

    left for a trip to the Continent; Coleridge soon went his own way, spending much of his time in Germany. During this period he lost early sympathy with political radicalism and became interested in German philosophy, especially the 18th-century Idealism of Immanuel Kant and the 17th-century mystical writings of Jakob

  2. How does Gillian Clarke present the relationship between the human and the natural worlds ...

    The stanza continues with a description of what the garden looks like: the "spring's eye blind with algae", and the garden filled with "nettle and briar". It is clear from just these lines that Clarke's view of nature is not romanticised, it is not a benign pastoral idyll.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work