What is Aristotle
What is Aristotle’s idea of Politics in terms of the typology of constitutions, the best constitution, and government?
What are the philosophical implications for a reality based upon Einstein’s concept of a four dimens…
according to Aristotle there are three basic good forms of government—monarchy, aristocracy, and republic—but which one is best depends on the specific circumstances of a state.
In Politics, book three, Aristotle examines the different types of constitutions and tries to determine the best form of government. He argues that depending on the number of rulers there and on whether their rule is for the benefit of the majority or not, six forms of government can be established.
Virtuous rule by one man (he does not consider woman) is called a monarchy. If this forms is corrupted to serve the interests of the ruler, it becomes a tyranny. Good rule by a minority is called an aristocracy, while bad rule by this same minority is called an oligarchy. Good rule by many is called a republic, while its corrupted equivalent is democracy. From these basic types Aristotle discusses intermediate types, but these are only mixes of the fundamental ones.
As for which of the three positive types of government is the best one, he states that good rule by one or few is preferable because virtuous men are rare. However, later he also argues that the fewer the rulers, the more corruptible, which would make a republic ideal if enough virtuous men can be found.
However, Aristotle insists that the best form of government depends on the particular circumstances of the state and that one may have to settle for what is possible for it, even if it is not ideal.
So good government is defined by the fact that it serves the interests of the majority, it comes in three basic forms (monarchy, aristocracy, and republic), but ultimately it depends on what is achievable.
Aristotle’s discussion on types of government is much more nuanced and extensive than this. If you want to know more about it, I recommend you read his Politics. It is widely available online and it can be found here: http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/politics.html.
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