"Man is, by nature, a political animal"
- Aristotle classifies man as a political animal
- We are naturally social and by nature are members of society, not self-interested
- We are incomplete in society- it would be impossible to survive or achieve a good life
- This is a communitarian view- your society is part of your identity
- This contrasts with the view of an atomist, a view that believes first and foremost we are individuals, therefore we are self-interest and solely concerned with the individual
- We have to accommodate all, as we are responsible for the others around us
- At all times we have to consult others and there would have to be a set of laws to ensure we can work together
- The important piece of evidence of our being as social creatures is language; there would be no need for it if we didn’t interact with others.
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- Suggests most of us crave the company of others
- No-one would be happy living in isolation
- Biologically designed to have company (Family)
- Loneliness is an undesired emotion
- Isolation is a form of punishment
- The craving is to an extent-> it varies from person to person, some need it more than others
- Used to support Aristotle’s claims
- These children have grown up outside of society or have had limited human interaction
- Therefore usually lack linguistic and other skills
- Genie -> at the age of 13, she had spent most of her life isolated from human contact, strapped to a potty chair or in a cot. She had virtually no language, couldn’t walk properly and constantly sniffed, spat and clawed.
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- Language is evidence that we are meant to live together
- If we were meant to live in isolation, why is there language?
- Believes nature is a force that had designed human beings and intends for us to live socially
- From a modern scientific perspective, this is false
- However, language can still be used to argue for our social nature from the perspective of revolutionary biology
- From an evolutionary perspective, we evolved from a form of primate that already lived together in groups and had developed our communication skills.
- We were social before we were human
- Those who live outside society are more like animals than humans
- Without socialisation and interaction with other people, we would lack humanity
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- Only in a society that all our needs as humans can be met
- He claims that as humans we want to achieve personal happiness and flourishing (Eudemonia)
- The best way to live, is what he calls the Polis (city state)
- This is the best state for making meeting human needs
- Only in a society that is self sufficient and large that we can develop culture, language, literature, art, music, philosophy, education and the like
- You cannot have these in smaller groups that are more vulnerable and more concerned with survival
- The individual has no independent importance
- It’s merely a ‘building block’ to fit into the pre-existing structure of society
- “He who is unable to live in society, who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god; he has no part of a state, a social instinct is implanted in all men by nature”
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- Just because it is natural to live in groups, does it mean we have a moral obligation to follow the rules of the group we live in?
- Can people only floruish within a well-developed society? Why?
- Do we always entirely conform to the values and ways of thinking of our society?
- If its true that our identity comes from society, how do we function in a multi-cultural society?
- if we are products of our envirnoment, how can we appreciate other cultures?
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