Aristotle, Introductory Readings, transl. by T. Irwin and G. Fine, Hackett: Cambridge 1996
Heidegger, Being and Time, transl. by J. Stambaugh, SUNY Press: Albany 201
Political Theory and Political Stances.
Aristotle’s political theory emphasizes the role of the city-state for the ‘good life’ of the citizens, and evaluates collective organization by their capacity to be ‘good’ communities. Heidegger, o the other hand, enjoins students and teachers of the university to align themselves with the Nazi ideology and politics.
1.Why is the city-state superior in value to the other social formations Aristotle briefly introduces? Cite Aristotle, and explain his passages.
2.What makes a good citizen? Cite from the text and explain.
3.Aristotle’s city-state is stratified into classes, four of which are constituted by citizens. Class division is by wealth and descent (i.e. aristocracy in the later sense: people who inherit their social standing from their descent). The lowest class is that of the poor masses.
a.Trace oligarchic participation rights (voting, eligibility to positions and functions) and describe the power those rights confer to the classes (for the purpose of this question, distinguish only the upper classes and the lower class).
b.What are the participation rights of the poorest, and what are the powers from which the poorest are excluded? In particular, trace Aristotle’s position on ‘Who should rule?’
c.Critically discuss Aristotle’s reasons for his positive and negative proposal concerning the determination of rulership, and qualification for ruling.
Using main tenets of Nazi ideology and politics when the Nazis were in power, highlight affinities with both in Heidegger’s speech, also pointing to places where the affinity does not obtain, or you sense a reservation. Your discussion needs to address at least three kinds of affinity.
One of them will be ideas about leadership and ruling expressed in the speech. Explore Heidegger’s positions, and place them into the Nazi ideology and the Nazis’ actual politics of leadership.
[Use the points on the Nazis in the summary, or other sources on Nazi ideology and strategy. Don’t forget to reference your sources.]
Point to similarities between Aristotle’s mixed oligarchic system and US institutions and/or the functioning of our political system. Contrast the choices and the powers of the highest rulers in the three systems:
• Aristotle’s governing ‘Council’ (a collective of ruling upper class members elected from the upper classes)
• The “Führer”
• US President
[a short paragraph for each]
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