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John Lockes and Aristotles Understanding of Moral Life - Essay Example

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Th paper "John Locke’s and Aristotle’s Understanding of Moral Life" is aimed to give an analysis of similarities and differences between John Locke and Aristotle’s understanding of moral life and model of governance. This included an examination of rights that should be accorded to the people…
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John Lockes and Aristotles Understanding of Moral Life
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John Locke and Aristotle’s understanding of moral life and model of governance Introduction John Locke and Aristotle both focused their attention on how humans coped in a free state of nature, contrary to a structured society. They also explored how government was formed and the purpose that such governments served on behalf of the people. Further, Locke and Aristotle had a common interest in terms of advocating for the equality of people. This included an examination of rights that should be accorded to the people. In terms of governance, Locke and Aristotle concur that deviations with regard to the rule of law may be necessary at times; however, their primary reasons tend to differ (Maloy, 2009).
Similarities and differences between John Locke and Aristotle’s understanding of moral life and model of governance
While both thinkers focus on extralegal action, their intention is deepen mankind’s understanding of the competing to political theory. According to the Lockean view, self-preservation, liberties and estates causes men to support the legitimacy of government. On the other hand, Aristotle suggests that, the wants and interests of mankind must be secured, for political life to exist. However, Aristotle also explains that every regime aims for a common good and exist for the sake of living well. On another note, Locke reiterates that, human organizations exist in a state of nature where they have different ends, ties and bound (Maloy, 2009). This position is similar to Aristotle’s; however, he does not distinguish what is social or political. Aristotle considers social organizations to be part of the political community. Further, Aristotle asserts that men cannot live without the polis or government. Aristotle considers political association to be the most sovereign. Further, he views politics as part and parcel of human life. Politics according to Aristotle plays a role in fulfilling all aspects of human needs (Edmundson, 2013).
Conversely, Locke differentiates social and political and suggests that while men are social by nature, their politics is not guided by nature. Locke further states that government is also not natural and its role is limited when it comes to serving human interests. Locke considers salvation to be the most important good and is not influenced by the government. According to Locke, the non-governmental organizations tend to be more effective in realizing most human goals. He considers an open and voluntary society as necessary to enhance the free exploration of competing ideas. Locke further views smaller organizations to be less dangerous compared to the government. The smaller institutions do not have absolute power, and as such, are not in a position to coerce others (Forde, 2011).
While Aristotle considers polis to be social and natural, Locke, on the other hand, views government as an institution that should serve the people. He further views the government as an institution that should enforce natural laws. According to Locke, governments should exist because not every person obeys the law. On the other hand, while Locke’s notion of virtue is similar to Aristotle’s view of individual excellence, Locke’s idea of political power is still narrow compared to Aristotle’s. On the other hand, Aristotle contends that political interaction is a necessity to achieve virtue.
Edmundson, W.A. (2013).Politics in a State of Nature. Ratio Juris, 26(2), 149-186.
Forde, S. (2011). “Mixed Modes” in John Lockes Moral and Political Philosophy. Review of
Politics, 73(4), 581-608.
Maloy, J.S. (2009).The Aristotelianism of Lockes Politics. Journal of the History of Ideas,
70(2), 235-257. Read More
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