Aristotle: the politics and Max Weber: What is politics?
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Aristotle and Weber views on Politics
The aim of this essay is answering questions about Aristotle and Weber’s views on politics. To keep the discussion flowing, the answers shall be answered separately.
ARISTOTLE1) According the Aristotle, why is the “state”, or “political community”, the highest good?
It is possible to say that Aristotle’s views on politics are reductionist. To explain how the polis works, he goes from the smallest unit, the tribe; to the biggest, the state. Nevertheless, each part of the city is intertwined and work as a collection of parts that have some functions and common interests. Aristotle considered that individuals need the polis, as they would not be able to thrive without a city. That way, the construction of a city is one of the most virtuous endeavors men can do, as it provides human with a place to develop and interact.
2) What makes someone a citizen?
In layman’s terms, a citizen is someone who has the power to take part in the deliberative decision-making process of a city. That way, citizens are a group of men who aim to live in a community, working together toward a greater good. A citizen, then, is someone who takes part in its city’s political life and expresses its opinion. 3) How many different types of government does Aristotle list, and how are they different from each other (what makes them different from each other?
Aristotle lists five different types of government. He then separates them according to their virtue. He lists the forms of government from less virtuous to most upright. For instance, he considers that forms of government where all the power lies on a single person to be the most easily corrupted and less useful. To him, tyranny and monarchy are the worst forms of government, since they only benefit the person in charge, leaving all the citizens behind. The same happens with the oligarchy, a kind of government that only favors the wealthy. On the other hand, we have constitutional governments and democracy. The first intends to give power to all citizens but does not. Democracy, to Aristotle, is the best form of government as it distributes the power to all the polites.
WEBER1) How does Weber define politics?
To Weber, politics is the pursuing of a portion of power within the state. That power can be attained by influencing through any authority, the decisions of the state. However, the is no such thing as politics without association. It is only through association that ordinary men and women are capable of influencing their states. 2) How does Weber’s definition of the “state”. and political community (association) compare to that of Aristotle’s?
To Weber, a state is a series of political relationships that does not have a particular end but to provide a background where the citizens can politically interact with each other. However, a Weberian state is not as loosely based on the Aristotelian view of a state. To the German philosopher, the state has the means to use force over their citizens to keep order and peace. Aristotle, on the other hand considers that the citizens have an obligation to the state, and they are capable of expressing their opinions without fearing the state, as it is only an institution where the citizens take decisions and not a power structure on its own, as Weber would think.
3) Explain the “three legitimations of domination?
It seems that in Weber’s idea of a state, it has to find ways to legitimate its yoke over the citizens. That is why he describes three ways states use to legitimate their domination.
The first is the authority of the “eternal yesterday”, which is exerted by the patriarchy and the patrimonial Prince; King or any traditional ruler.
The second relates to the charisma of an individual leader who dominates using its might to convince the others of what is right or wrong.
The third is the domination by virtue or legality. This type refers to the validity of any legal rule based on a series of standards and laws that disallow citizens from going to their state.