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Aristotle’s Views on Origin of State
“Man is a political animal, destined by nature for state life.”
“State exists for the sake of good life and not for the sake of life only.” (Aristotle)
Aristotle was of the view that the origin of the state is present in the inherent desire of man to satisfy his economic needs and racial instincts. The family is formed by male and female on the one hand and master and slave on the other hand. Then they work for achievement of their desires. They live together and form a such family in household which has its moral and social unity and value.
Aristotle said, “Family is the association established by nature for the supply of man’s everyday wants. But when several families are united and the association aims at something more than the supply of daily need, then come into existence the village. When several villages are united in a single community, perfect and large enough to be quite self-sufficing, the state comes into existence, originating in the bare needs of life and continuing in existence for the sake of good life.”
Three elements are essential to build the state on perfect lines i.e., fellowship, practical organization and justice. A man without state is either a beast or a God. According to Aristotle, “he who by nature and not be mere accident is without a state is either above humanity or below it, he is tribe-less, lawless and heartless one.”
The family is natural and inborn instinct, similarly the state is also natural for individuals. Baker
said, “The state is the natural home of the fully grown and natural man. It is an institution for the moral perfection of man to which his whole nature moves.”
Aristotle was of the view that state is a “Political Koimonia”
, an association which represents a functional unity of varied and reciprocal parts made by the pursuit of a common aim in which their nature, their habits and their training lead them all to join. Maclwain
said, “The state is a kind of Koimonia which is a supreme over all others, and embraces them all.”
State is an association of human being and the highest form of association existing for the sake of perfect and healthier life.
Functions of the State
The state is not merely an association of associations but it is a highest natural association for pursuits of spiritual class of common life of virtue.
The state is based on the element of justice
It also aims at the highest good of the community for its proper realization of demands and needs in it.
The state functions to ensure a perfect and self-sufficing life of all its components members.
The state also ensures to fulfill all the natural needs of its members and to provide opportunities to the individuals for the attainment of moral, intellectual and physical excellence.
According to Aristotle, “Man is essentially good and the function of the state is to develop his good faculties into a habit of good actions.”
Rule of Law
Aristotle believed in natural laws but not the natural rights. The absence of law is the negation of good laws and this meant lack of constitutional laws. Law was superior to the Government because it checked the latter's irregularities. Rule by law was better than personal rule because law had as impersonal quality which the rules lacked.
paid tribute to Aristotle in these words, “the supremacy of law is accepted by Aristotle as a mark of a good state and not merely as an unfortunate necessity.”
Justice means that every citizen in the state should abide by the dictates of law and fulfill its moral obligation towards community members. According to Aristotle there should be two kind of justice:
It is mainly concerned with voluntary commercial transaction like sale, hire, furnishing of security, acquisition of property etc.
It deals with proper allocation to each person according to his capacity and worth.
Aristotle emphasis that reward and honors should not be offered to the virtuous few but to others as who collectively contribute in the welfare of the state and should be proportionately rewarded.