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The Politics (Classics) Paperback – 31 Dec 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson; 1 edition (31 Dec. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140444211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140444216
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Aristotle was born at Stageira, in the dominion of the kings of Macedonia, in 384 BC. For twenty years he studied at Athens in the Academy of Plato, on whose death in 347 he left, and, some time later, became tutor of the young Alexander the Great. When Alexander succeeded to the throne of Macedonia in 335, Aristotle returned to Athens and established his school and research institute, the Lyceum, to which his great erudition attracted a large number of scholars.

After Alexander's death in 323, anti-Macedonian feeling drove Aristotle out of Athens, and he fled to Chalcis in Euboea, where he died in 322. His writings, which were of extraordinary range, profoundly affected the whole course of ancient and medieval philosophy, and they are still eagerly studied and debated by philosophers today. Very many of them have survived and among the most famous are the Ethics and the Politics.


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About the Author

Aristotle was born at Stagira, in the dominion of the kings of Macedonia, in 384 BC. For twenty years he studied at Athens in the Academy of Plato. Some time later, became the tutor of young Alexander The Great. His writings have profoundly affectedthe whole course of ancient and medieval philosophy.

T. A. Sinclair was Professor of Greek at the Queen's University of Belfast for 27 years.

Trevor J. Saunders is Professor of Greek at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.


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Since, then, the question of legislation has been left unexamined by previous thinkers, presumably we had better investigate it more closely for ourselves, together with the question of constitutions generally, so that our philosophy of human conduct may be as complete as possible. Read the first page
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By B. Alcat on 23 Nov. 2004
Format: Paperback
Aristotle was an important thinker, born in 384 BCE at Stagirus (a Greek colony), who is considered by many the founder of the realist tradition in Philosophy. He wrote many noteworthy books, among which "The Politics" stands out. "The Politics" is one of the first books I read at university, and even though it took me a lot of time to read it, I ended up being grateful to the professor that included it as obligatory reading material for History of Political Ideas I :)
In "The Politics", the author begins by analyzing the human being, that is in his opinion a political animal by nature. Afterwards, he explains what are, for him, the origins of the polis: family, small village and then, polis. Aristotle says that even though the polis is the last chronologically, it is all the same the most important, because it is autarchic. The polis (not exactly like our states, but similar to them in some aspects) is a natural community, because it answers to something that human beings need. Only in the polis will men find perfection, only there will they be completely human. Aristotle distinguishes between citizens and non-citizens (the vast majority), and points out that only citizens have political rights. The author delves in many other themes, for example the causes of revolution, the good and bad forms of government, and the "ideal" form of government. What is more, he also considers several constitutions, and talks about the adequate education that forms good citizens for the polis.
Now, why should you read a book that was written many centuries ago and that on top of that isn't especially easy to read?. The answer is quite simple: "The Politics" is worth it.
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62 of 75 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback
I'm not a philosopher or philosophy student, but I like The Politics a lot -- some of it. I think what I find boring in the book is what Aristotle found most interesting: the analysis of different types of constitution, which was best, the flaws of each and so on. To my pragmatic mind this seems a strange interest. You live under a certain constitution, and it has flaws and benefits to a greater or lesser degree, and that's it! What does it matter that another constitution is better or worse; or that one can imagine a better or worse constitution! I must say that Aristotle's obsession with the mean seems bonkers to me. "The law is the mean" seems more helpful to me than his application of this idea to ethics. He must have been a passionate man, subject to violent extremes of behaviour.
Aside from this idee fixe -- the doomed philosophical wish to regulate human behaviour -- Aristotle seems immensely sensible. I love his characterisation of wealth as a tool, or the comment that an official becomes worthy of respect when they become an official (which applies to royalty too), or the comment that the drawback of communal ownership is that people take less care of things owned by many people than things they own themselves, or the comment that it s pleasant to have money because only then can we make a gift of it. Aristotle seems much more aware of human nature than Plato is, although I enjoy The Republic, not as a practical plan of a state but as an immense artistic creation, like a novel or a play, or (because of the depth of the thought) like an author's whole oeuvre: Shakespeare or Dickens or Henry James.
My favourite part of The Politics is the last two books, on education. It's astonishing to learn of the importance the Greeks attached to music. When did music become a pastime for us?
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul Marks on 2 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very interesting - but a reminder that Aristotle never fully freed himself from Plato's collectivism. Still, full disclosure, I am on Lycophron's side of the argument - I do not believe that the state exists to make people "just and good" or that it is the job of "the legislator" to map out the lives or character of people. I hold that law exists to apply the non aggression principle of justice - hands-off non aggression in terms of the bodies and goods of individuals and voluntary associations, this view is attacked by Aristotle just as Plato attacks it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DF POMPEY on 25 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
Excellent value and service
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Hughes on 10 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great job, would recommend
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