Aristotle had a great influence on political ideology. Aristotle was a popular Greek philosopher, who lived in 384-322 BCE. He was born in Stagira town located in the Northern coast of Greece. His father was a court physician, but he died when Aristotle was young. Although little is known about Aristotle’s mother, it is believed that she also died when he was young. After the death of his parents, he was raised by his brother-in-law, Proxenus. At the age of seventeen, Aristotle was sent to Athens where he joined Plato’s academy to pursue higher education. Here, he proved to be an excellent scholar; thus he developed a good relationship with Plato. After the death of Plato, Aristotle did not take Plato’s position since there were some philosophical treatises they disagreed on. During his time, Aristotle developed various philosophical and scientific theories. Most of his innovations were crucial to the development of the modern theories although some are considered irrelevant. Aristotle is one of the renowned philosophers accepted by the western civilization due to his political ideology.
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Aristotle considered politics as a science arguing that it belongs to one of the three major arms of science. According to him, there is a contemplative, practical, and productive science. Contemplative science is concerned with truth and knowledge, practical sciences relate to acceptable actions while productive science deals with making useful objectives. Aristotle classified politics as a practical science, because its main concern is to ensure that the citizens are satisfied with the noble character portrayed (Nussbaum, 1987). Again, Aristotle argued that politics has some characteristics of productive science since it seeks to create, preserve, and reform political systems. Aristotle, therefore, understood politics as a normative discipline rather than an entirely empirical analysis.
In the “Nicomachean Ethics”, Aristotle described political science as the most authoritative science, because it dictates what has to be studied in other fields. Again, politics governs all the other practical sciences. Aristotle believed that ethics and politics were related. According to him, ethical and virtuous life is enjoyed by a person who participates in politics only. In “Nicomachean Ethics”, he said, “the end of politics is the best end. The main concern of politics is to create a character in people that makes them better and exposed to do noble actions.” The study of political science helps a person to understand the work of the politicians; according to Aristotle, their key role is to give laws “nomothetes” and the best constitution to the people (Nussbaum, 1987). This includes tolerating laws, customs, and morals of the citizens. After setting the constitution, the politicians have a responsibility to take the necessary measures in order to ensure that it is maintained. Again, they have a duty of introducing reforms when needed and preventing developments which can potentially destabilize political systems in place. All this falls under legislative science, which Aristotle considered to be more crucial than other political activities exercised.
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In conclusion, Aristotle’s ideology on political theories is essential in helping the students understand the idea behind political science. His argument that political science falls under a practical science connects with the ideologies discussed in class, because the class discussion gives a conclusion that political science should aim at ensuring that politicians and citizens possess acceptable actions. The ideology studied in class also connects directly to Aristotle’s argument that politics is a productive science that creates, preserves, and reforms political systems. The ideology studied in class argues that a good system of political science should develop, understand, and make changes in political systems for the interests of citizens. Aristotle’s philosophy is still relevant in helping today’s political science students to understand the values expected from politicians.
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