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Extra info for Aristotle's Politics: A Critical Reader
L l 70b29-33� . Such a number is possible for a mere tribe (ethnos) , but not for a political community. And why not? The answer is in the highest degree characteristic. " In such a case, again, it is impossible to prevent strangers from quietly obtaining the rights of citizens. 2 A second fundamental distinction is to be found in the social organization of the Greek State. The political life of Sparta or Athens rested on the basis of Slavery. The citizen-body might trace its descent to a conquering race which had reduced the original possessors of the country to a position of more or less complete subjection, and lived upon their agricultural labour, as in the one case; or the slaves might be procured through war and a slave-trade, as in the other.
When this is admitted, it will be found that Aristotle is by no means averse to recognizing the forms of laws com mon to man and the lower stages of existence, and that he has little sym pathy with that idea of a total breach between the two, in the ma in tenance of which our spiritual interests have often been s upposed to be in volved . Putting metaphysical questions aside, we have now to ask, What is Aristotle's ground for regarding the State as man's destination and good? 1 1 On the conception of Law compare K.
L l 44b30-l l 45a2 ) , has its sphere not only in private life, but also in the ordering of State-affairs: and the Politics adds that the virtue of the best man, the perfect virtue, is equivalent to the virtue of the ruler (Vl l . l 4. 1 333a l l - 1 2) . Thus we find that the individual who realizes his chief good or happiness is necessarily a citizen. And the strongest expression which Aristotle has given to this view is to be found in his statement that the individual is posterior to the State, and a part of it.