Aristotle And Plato

1792 Words 8 Pages
“It is hard for a city composed in this way to change, but everything that comes into being must decay” (Republic 546a). Both Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Politics present frameworks of governance where regimes inevitably change forms. Neither a dynastic kingship nor a classless democracy can possibly survive indefinitely. Plato and Aristotle analyze this change in depth, each providing a distinct view: Plato’s cycle of regime corruption and Aristotle’s web of possible regime transitions. In these frameworks, Plato and Aristotle both agree on five regime types: kingship, the rule of a virtuous person; timocracy or aristocracy, the rule of a group of virtuous people; tyranny, the rule of an individual by force; oligarchy, the rule of …show more content…
Both agree that the change begins with a desire for absolute equality. The democratic leaders redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor, sometimes through malicious lawsuits or other means. This ends the reciprocal equality of the city, with those of larger virtue having less than they deserve and those of less virtue having more than they deserve. The formerly wealthy create a faction, determined to regain what they deserve by right of their virtue. Then they will “[set] up one man as their special champion…. [and] when a tyrant arises, this special leadership is the sole root from which he spouts” (Republic 565c). In their quest to establish equality, the wealthy will blindly support he who fights for them. With their support, this champion of the wealthy will gain total control and establish a tyranny where democracy once was. Aristotle believes that the wealthy will form an oligarchy instead of a tyranny because their champion will come from within their own ranks. Such champions “because of their inexperience in military matters, they do not try to become tyrants” (Politics 1305a12). Regardless of how much support the wealthy’s champion gains, he will not have the militaristic skills necessary to create a tyranny. Aristotle lists several ways for the wealthy class to establish an oligarchy. For instance, “in Megara…. the popular leaders expelled many of the notables in order to declare the latters' wealth public property, until they made numerous exiles. The exiles then returned, defeated the people in battle, and established an oligarchy" (Politics 1304b35). Despite the differences in the transformations themselves, both of these frameworks include the mistreatment of the wealthy in a democracy, causing them to create a faction and change the

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