Every human does any action looking for a good. By doing all of our actions during our lives, we are trying to achieve the happiness, the best good.
Hi, I'm Aristotle. I guess you are interested in my way of thinking as a philosopher, don't you? Then, think about this:
Now, tell me: What do you think this "happiness", this "superior good" is? What is the key of happiness for us?
Maybe you could think this happiness is caused by pleasure, by physical pleasure. But wouldn't that make us slaves of our bodies, without thinking, like animals?
No, it isn't the pleasure. Could it be honor? It's very important for some people, but it isn't inside of you, it's based on what people think about you.
Most people think about wealth. Yes, it's very comfortable to be rich, but if you were trapped with all your money without the possibility of spend it, would you be happy?
Humans' best good can only be achieved by doing the thing that just humans can do. The best good is the intellectual activity. To reason.
Greece, 4th century BC. We find Aristotle, disciple of the great philosopher Plato, thinking in his loneliness. He has an interesting point about two subjects: ethics and politics.
And virtue? Virtue is in the middle. I explain myself:
Virtue isn't in a coward. It's an honorable quality to be brave. But don't think you will be perfect if you throw yourself inside a cage full of lions; it's equally unvirtuous to be a coward as to be a reckless. The balance between them is perfection, yes.
And total happiness? It's in the balance of virtue, physical goods and knowledge.
Aristotle thinks the best we can have isn't pleasure, honor or wealth.
My politic ideals? I'm not convinced by the usual ways of government...
If a few good rule, it would be an aristocracy. If they rule wrong, an oligarchy. No, everyone should be able to have power... Everyone rules, democracy. But it could turn into a demagogy...
If there is a bad person ruling, looking for personal good, it's tyranny. Very unpleasant. If a good person rules, looking for the others' good, it's a monarchy... I find it unequal and very difficult.
The famous disciple of Plato is convinced about the fact that knowledge, thinking and reasoning give the true realisation to the human being. It's the thing that we have been born to, not like animals.
I propose my own way of ruling: If there aren't many rich or poor people, rich people won't pay the government to have power and poor people won't reveal. So, we need to foment middle class. There will be a mixt system, with an assembly for the people. People will choose a selective government. The choosen ones must look for the common good and respect the laws, while people give them their consent.
The ethical thoughts conclude in a perfect balance of most important things in life as the key for reaching the happiness everyone looks for. Here is mentioned politic life. Which are his political thoughts?
Also, the most important virtue is justice, which makes people live together and starts politic life.
For Aristotle, justice, equity and following the rules are essential in a good government.
He ends up thinking about a different government, which is the best one in his opinion, and that represents his political ideas.