The different view of political thought from Plato and Aristotle

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Research Presentation 4

Classical Political Thought

The different view of political thought from Plato and Aristotle

Plato was an “Athenian philosopher in Ancient Greece during the classical period” (Gerson, 2017). He founded the Platonist school of thought, which was the first school of higher learning in the western society. It is seen that Plato had views on democracy which was crucial for the organization and structure of our political system today. Therefore, Plato’s view on democracy was that it was the bad form of government. Therefore, Plato conceptualized mass democracy in that everyone voted on everything. Plato was not a fan of democracy in that governments would be a tyranny of the many. This means that minority subjects had to take their orders from them masses.

Plato’s view on democracy was fundamental in organizing and structuring of our political system to today. In the modern society today, there is no pure democracy. The best attack to democracy was the development of a republic. This means that electorate representatives discussed and debated in forums on behalf of the electorate. Plato was fine with this style of government but he was not a fan of it either. This led to development of oligarchies and aristocratic governments. It is seen that oligarchies was a bad government in that there was an increases amount of corruption as new laws were create by merchants to increase their wealth. Currently, this is evident in the government such as the Wall Street influence in US Congress. On the other hand, aristocracy meant a noble government. This is because; the government relied on people to have their own power maintained. In conclusion, it is seen that Plato did not fancy democracy in that he feared the tyranny of the many. However, he supported democracy of representative, but prefers a monarch.

He was a Greek philosopher that made significant contributions to almost every aspect of human knowledge in the classical period (Gerson, 2018). For Aristotle, it is seen that democracy was not the best form of government. This is because; a rule in a democratic government was for and by the people. Therefore, just like Plato, Aristotle was also a critic of democracy. This means that his favorite government form was the “rule by the best over the rest” (Parry, 2019). Additionally, Plato argues that a good monarchy was better than democracy. Aristotle’s criticism on democracy was always insightful and prescient (Parry, 2019). This school of thought by Aristotle is relevant in the current Trump’s regime.

It is seen that democracy according to Aristotle would undermine the rule of law. A nation that is functioning therefore requires that every aspect is governed by rules and regulations (Parry, 2019). Without this, it means that those with most power would do what they want, hence tyrannizing everyone. On the other hand, Aristotle argues that a pure democratic government did not have laws in that what the people decided was final (Parry, 2019). This would lead to chaos in that the rule of law was being rendered obsolete.

Today, it is seen that the government have modern democracies where they have accepted the rule of law. This is important in that it draws the line between implementation and popular expression (Pontuso, 2019). In the contemporary western society, the rule of law is a primary aspect that stands along representative governments by popular election. This means that our current forms of governments is not actually democratic in Aristotle’s view.


Gerson, L. P. (2017). Plato, Platonism, and the History of Philosophy. What Makes a Philosopher Great?, 12-29. doi:10.4324/9781315676999-2

Gerson, L. P. (2018). Aristotle and Other Platonists. doi:10.7591/9781501716966

Parry, R. D. (2019). Plato on Democracy and Political Technē, written by Anders Dahl Sørensen. Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek and Roman Political Thought36(2), 380-382. doi:10.1163/20512996-12340221

Pontuso, J. F. (2019). Aristotle: Democracy and Political Science. Perspectives on Political Science48(3), 218-219. doi:10.1080/10457097.2019.1627815


Last Updated on March 17, 2020