What is Aristotle's notion of politics?

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cathibee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

With Politics following directly after Aristotle’s work on ethics, the philosopher sees politics as a primarily ethical affair.  In other words, ethics should be an inherent par of politics if politics were to be effective.  Aristotle follows these introductory ideas with some very specific ideas for his ideal “polis” or city-state.

Each citizen is to have a specific role, according to his or her talents and preferences.  Aristotle points to the necessity of balance in labor, where each person contributes to the effective and happy lives of all the others collectively.

The government, according to Aristotle, should also be set up in such a way as to help all citizens to achieve a happy life, which in turn would involve goods of the material goods, goods of the mind, and goods of the soul.

All entities and collective entities, from the government to families to individual citizens, in Aristotle’s ideal were to maintain a sense of perfect balance in everything they did.

For Aristotle, the political ideal was therefore an integrated affair among citizens and political official, where each was to maintain the health and happiness of the other.