Discuss Aristotles view on women and how it impacts his theory of political virtue.

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Midterm Exam

Part A, Q. 2

Aristotle makes a fundamental argument that women are inferior to men, drawing upon various arguments including that women are deformed males, males play the central role in reproduction, women having different souls, and so forth. (Mawhinney, 2021) However, he also insists on the importance of women in the ethical life of the polis. This essay will discuss Aristotle’s view on women and how it impacts his theory of political virtue.

According to Aristotle, a household is comprised of several groups with varying forms of relationships. The household, in essence, is the most important form of community in the city. Aristotle argues, “Household management has proved to have three parts: [I] one is mastership (which we discussed earlier), [2] another that of a father, and [3] a third, marital.” (Aristotle 1998, p.21, 1259a35) Aristotle makes a hierarchical argument where men were at the top, ruling and fulfilling the role of a master, a father, and a husband. Aristotle however, distinguishes the relationship of a slave and a master from that of a man and a woman, since the nature of the latter is comprised of free individuals. He also talks about how the different the nature of relations should be in a household; “ instead, he rules his wife the way states-man does, and his children the way a king does.” (Aristotle 1998, p.21, 1259a40)

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The conventions at the time dictated the position of women to be subjugated. Women were allowed no legal or democratic participation, were subject to the men of their family, and were essentially minors. Hence the position of Aristotle reflects the social convention at the time.

Aristotle makes the argument of men ruling over women, as according to him, men are naturally superior to women. According to him, “the relation of male to female is by nature a relation of superior to inferior and ruler to ruled.” (Aristotle 1998, p. 8, 1254b10) As per his assessment, women are ...

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