Philosophy

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Q. In his account of the power relationships in the Greek household in the Politics, Aristotle argues that it is natural for wives to be subordinate to husbands, children to their father and enslaved people to those who claim to be their ‘masters’. What arguments does Aristotle use to justify the subordinate position of enslaved people to masters? Be ready to identify three arguments and say what you think of them.1.2.2 Let us begin by discussing the relation of master and slave, in order to observe the facts that have a bearing on practical utility, and also in the hope that we may be able to obtain something better than the notions at present entertained, with a view to a theoretic knowledge of the subject.3. For some thinkershold the function of the master to be a definite science, and moreover think that household management, mastership, statesmanship and monarchy are the same thing, as we said at the beginning of the treatise; others however maintain that for one man to be another man’s master is contrary to nature, because it is only convention that makes the one a slave and the other a freeman and there is no difference between them by nature, and that therefore it is unjust, for it is based on force.4. Since therefore property is a part of a household, and the art of acquiring property a part of household management (for without the necessaries even life, as well as the good life,is impossible), and since, just as for the definite arts it would be necessary for the proper tools to be forthcoming if their work is to be accomplished, so also the manager of a household must have his tools, and of tools some are lifeless andothers living (for example, for a helmsman the rudder is a lifeless tool and the look-out man a live tool—for an assistant in the arts belongs to the class of tools), so also an article of property is a tool for the purpose of life, and property generally is a collection of tools,and a slave is a live article of property.5. And every assistant is as it were a tool that serves for several tools; for if every tool could perform its own work when ordered, or by seeing what to do in advance, like the statues of Daedalus in the story,a(Links to an external site.)or the tripods of Hephaestus which the poet says ‘autonomously enter the company of the gods,’b(Links to an external site.)—if thus shuttles wove and quills played harps of themselves, master-craftsmen would have no need of assistants and masters no need of slaves. Now the tools mentioned are instruments of production, whereas an article of property is an instrument of actionc(Links to an external site.); for from a shuttle we get something else beside the mere use of the shuttle, but from a garment or a bed we getonly their use.6. And also inasmuch as there is a difference in kind between production and action, and both need tools, it follows that those tools also must possess the same difference. But life is doing things, not making things; hence the slave is an assistant in the class of instruments of action. …7. These considerations therefore make clear the nature of the slave and his essential quality: one who is a human being belonging by nature not to himself but to another is by nature a slave, and a person is a human being belonging to another if being a man he is an article of property, and an article of property is an instrument for action separable from its owner.But we must next consider whether or not anyone exists who is by nature of this character, and whether it is advantageous and just for anyone to be a slave, or whether on thecontrary all slavery is against nature.8. And it is not difficult either to discern the answer by theory or to learn it empirically. Authority and subordination are conditions not only inevitable but also expedient; in some cases things are marked out from the moment of birth to rule or to be ruled. And there are many varieties both of rulers and of subjects (and the higher the type of the subjects, the loftier is the nature of the authority exercised over them, for example to control a human being is a higher thing than to tame a wild beast; for the higher the type of the parties to the performance of a function, the higher is the function, and when one party rules and another is ruled, there is a function performed between them)9—because in every composite thing, where a plurality of parts, whether continuous or discrete, is combined to make a single common whole, there is always found a ruling and a subject factor, and this characteristic of living things is present in them as an outcome of the whole of nature, since even in things that do not partake of life there is a ruling principle, as in the case of a musical scale.a(Links to an external site.)However, this matter perhaps belongs to an investigation lying somewhat outside our subject.10. But in the first place an animal consists of soul and body, of which the former is by nature the ruling and the latter the subject factor. And to discover what is natural we must study it preferably in things that are in a natural state, and not in specimens that are degenerate. Hence in studying man we must consider a man that is in the best possible condition in regard to both body and soul, and in him the principle stated will clearly appear,—since in those that are bad or in a bad condition it might be thought that the body often rules the soul because of its vicious and unnatural condition.11. But to resume—it is in a living creature, as we say, that it is first possible to discern the rule both of master and of statesman: the soul rules the body with the sway of a master, the intelligence the appetites with constitutional or royal rule; and in these examples it is manifest that it is natural and expedient for the body to be governed by the soul and for the emotional part to be governed by the intellect, the part possessing reason, whereas for the two parties to be on an equal footing or in the contrary positions is harmful in all cases.12. Again, the same holds good between man and the other animals: tame animals are superior in their nature to wild animals, yet for all the former it is advantageous to be ruled by man, since this gives them security. Also, as between the sexes, the male is by nature superior and the female inferior, the male ruler and the female subject. And the same must also necessarily apply in the case of mankind generally;13. therefore all men that differ as widely as the soulfrom the body and the human being from the lower animal (and this is the condition of those whose function is the use of the body and from whom this is the best that is forthcoming)—these are by nature slaves, for whom to be governed by this kind of authority is advantageous, inasmuch as it is advantageous to the subject things already mentioned. For he is by nature a slave who is capable of belonging to another (and that is why he does so belong), and who participates in reason so far as to apprehend it but not to possess it; for the animals other than man are subservient not to reason, by apprehending it, but to feelings.14. And also the usefulness of slaves diverges little from that of animals; bodily service for the necessities of life is forthcoming from both, from slaves and from domestic animals alike. The intention of nature therefore is to make the bodies also of freemen and of slaves different—the latter strong for necessary service, the former erect and unserviceable for such occupations, but serviceable for a life of citizenship (and that again divides into the employments of war and those of peace); though as aalthough because misfits do occur its justice is criticized.matter of fact often the very opposite comes about —slaves have the bodies of freemen and freemen the souls only;15. since this is certainly clear, that if freemen were born as distinguished in body as are the statues of the gods, everyone would say that those who were inferior deserved to be these men’s slaves; and if this is true in the case of the body, there is far juster reason for this rule being laid down in the case of the soul, but beauty of soul is not so easy to see as beauty of body. It is manifest therefore that there are cases of people of whom some arefreemen and the others slaves by nature, and for these slavery is an institution both expedient and just.16.But at the same time it is not difficult to see that those who assert the opposite are also right in a manner. The fact is that the terms ‘slavery’ and ‘slave’ are ambiguous; for there is also such a thing as a slave or a man that is in slavery by law, for the law is a sort of agreement under which the things conquered in war are said to belong to their conquerors. Now this conventional right is arraigned by many jurists just as a statesman is impeached for proposing an unconstitutional measure; they say that it is monstrous if the person powerful enough to use force, and superior in power, is to have the victim of his force as his slave and subject; and even among the learned some hold this view, though othershold the other.17. But the reason of this dispute and what makes the theories overlap is the fact that in a certain manner virtue when it obtains resources has in fact very great power to use force, and the stronger party always possesses superiority in something that is good,a(Links to an external site.)so that it is thought that force cannot be devoid of goodness, but that the dispute is merely about the justice of the matter (for it is due to the one party holding that the justification of authority is good-will, while the other identifies justice with the mere rule of the stronger); because obviously if these theories be separated apart, the other theories have no force or plausibility at all, implying that the superior in goodness has no claimto rule and be master.18. But some persons, doing their best to cling to some principle of justice (for the law is a principle of justice), assert that the enslavement of prisoners of war is just; yet at the same time they deny the assertion, for there is the possibility that wars may be unjust in their origin and one would by no means admit that a man that does not deserve slavery can be really a slave—otherwise we shall have the result that persons reputed of the highest nobility are slaves and the descendants of slaves if they happen to be taken prisoners of war and sold. Therefore they do not mean to assert that Greeks themselves if taken prisoners are slaves, but that barbarians are. Yet when they say this, they are merely seeking for the principles of natural slavery of which we spoke at the outset; for they are compelled to say that there exist certain persons who are essentially slaves everywhereand certain others who are so nowhere.19. And the same applies also about nobility: our nobles consider themselves noble not only in their own country but everywhere, but they think that barbarian noblemen are only noble in their own country—which implies that there are two kinds of nobility and of freedom, one absolute and the other relative, as Helen says in Theodectesa(Links to an external site.):But who would dare to call me menial,The offspring of gods on both sides?Yet in so speaking they make nothing but virtue and vice the distinction between slave and free, the noble and the base-born; for they assume that just as from a man springs a man and from brutes a brute, so also from good parents comes a good son; but as a matter of fact nature frequently while intending to do this is unable to bring it about. It is clear therefore that there is some reason for this dispute, and that in some instances it is not the case that one set are slaves and the other freemenby nature;20 and also that in some instances such a distinction does exist, when slavery for the one and mastership for the other are advantageous, and it is just and proper for the one party to be governed and for the other to govern by the form of government for which they are by nature fitted, and therefore by the exercise of mastership, while to govern badly is to govern disadvantageously for both parties (for the same thing is advantageous for a part and for the whole body or the whole soul, and the slave is a part of the master—he is, as it were, a part of thebody, alive but yet separated from it;21 hence there is a certain community of interest and friendship between slave and master in cases when they have been qualified by nature for those positions, although when they do not hold them in that way but by law and by constraint of force the opposite is the case). And even from these considerations it is clear thatsupervision of slaves’ tasks, and acquisition of slaves.the authority of a master over slaves is not the same as the authority of a magistrate in a republic, nor are all forms of government the same, as some assert. Republican government controls men who are by nature free, the master’s authority men who are by nature slaves; and the government of a household is monarchy (since every house is governed by a single ruler), whereas statesmanship is the governmentof men free and equal.22 The term ‘master ’ therefore denotes the possession not of a certain branch of knowledge but of a certain character, and similarly also the terms ‘slave ’ and ‘freeman.’ Yet there might be a science of mastership and a slave’s science—the latter being the sort of knowledge that used to be imparted by the professor at Syracuse (for there used to be a man there who for a fee gave lessons to servants in their ordinary duties); and indeed there might be more advanced scientific study of such matters, for instance a science of cookery and the other such kinds of domestic service—for different servants have different functions, some more honorable and some more menial, and as the proverb says,Slave before slave and master before master.a(Links to an external site.)23The slave’s sciences then are all the various branches of domestic work; the master’s science is the science of employing slaves—for the master’s function consists not in acquiring slaves but in employing them. This science however is one of no particular importance or dignity: the master must know how to direct the tasks which the slave must know how to execute. Therefore all people rich enough to be able to avoid personal trouble have a steward who takes this office, while they themselves engage in politics or philosophy. The science of acquiring slaves is different both from their ownership and their direction—that is, the just acquiring of slaves, being like a sort of warfare or hunting. Let this then stand as our definition of slave and master.Book Seven of the Politics treats the social regulation of marriage and education. Here are a few key points.Aristotle asserts that he correct and best ages for marriage are: men: 37; women 18 so that their periods of peak fertility and reproductive power coincide. “There should be no divergence of physical power, with the husband still able to beget but the wife unable to conceive. … ” This assertion about the naturally appropriate age for reproduction justifies Greek marriage practices, in which young women in their (late) teens were married to men in their thirties who had likely recently inherited the estates of their fathers.• men should be neither as strong as athletes nor weakened from old age• women need a similar mid-range level of fitness. The legislator can encourage fitness in pregnancy by establishing rituals that require a daily walk to a shrine of goddesses who preside over childbirth.• 1335 b 19 there is a place for family planning to limit the size of the family in order to ensure good outcomes. If miscarriage must be induced it should be done “before sense and life have begun in the embryo”• adultery during peak child-bearing years is highly problematic (because it interferes with the entitlement of free citizen men to hand their property down to their genetic children)• Chapter 17 discusses the education of the young, the goals of which are to move the freeborn infant male through the period of youth until the ruling element of his soul is suitable for ruling others in the household. diet, exercise, limited exposure to indecent pictures and formal education all have a role in this.Aristotle’s account of the beehiveThe social behavior of insects was extremely fascinating to ancient thinkers. Bees are so small, and yet it is relatively easy to observe that they behave in a highly organized way.In ways that parallel his approach to the natural qualities of human social organization, Aristotle describes the social organization of bees in ways that project Greek cultural assumptions about gender and status onto the world of the bees.Q. What ideas about Greek households and society does Aristotle project on to his account of the bees and the beehive? What assumptions, stereotypes, or ideas about social status in human society are reinforced by Aristotle’s account of the natural bee society? Be ready to describe and discuss three examples of this in this passage.History of Animals8 (9).40.623b-626b[Aristotle is discussing bees] Their working methods and way of life show great complexity. After the hive has been handed over to them clean, they build the wax combs, bringing the drops from the flowers and especially from the trees, from willow and elm and others that are very gummy. With this they also smear the floor against the other creatures; thebeekeepers call this dusting. They also build upthe entrances if they are wide. They fashion first combs in which these bees themselves are produced, then those in which the so-called kings and the drones are produced. Now their own they are always fashioning, those of the kings when there is much production of young, and those of the drones if there are signs that honey is plentiful. They fashion those of the kings next to their own (and theseare small) and the drones’ combs on to them; these are less in size than those of the bees. They begin the webs from above, starting from the top of the hive and woven continuously below, and they make many webs down to the floor. The apertures both for the honey and for the grubs have mouths at both ends: for there are two apertures about one base like that of the double cups,one aperture inside and one outside. The weavingsattached to the hives around the beginnings of the combs, as far as two or three rows in a circle, are shallow and empty of honey; the fuller combs are those that have been most thoroughly plastered with wax. …Some say that the drones fashion combs by themselves both in the same hive and in the one comb (by dividing it with the bees), but that they make no honey but both they and the young feed on that of the bees. The drones spend most of the time inside, but if they fly out they are borne up in a mass to the sky, whirling around and apparently exercising themselves; after doing this they come back inside and feast. But the kings do not fly out except with the whole swarm, neither for foraging nor for anything else. They say too that if the swarmhas strayed they turn back, tracking the leader by scent until they find him. It is said that he is even carried by the swarm when he is unable to fly, and that if he perishes the swarm perishes; and that if they do survive for some time and make no combs, no honey is produced and the bees soon perish.The bees pick up the wax by scrabbling at the blossoms busily with their front feet; these they wipe off onto the middle feet, and the middle ones on to the bent parts of the hind ones; having done this they fly away carrying the load, and are clearly weighed down. On each flight the beedoes not go on to flowers different in form; it goes for example from violet to violet, and does not touch any other before it has flown back to the hive. And having arrived at the hive they shake themselves,and three or four bees attend to each. What they pick up is not easy to see, nor has their method of working it been seen; but the collecting of the wax has been observed on olive trees, since owing to the leaves’ density the bees remain in the same place for longer.After this they nest. Nothing prevents there being grubs [=infant bees] and honey and drones in the same wax.Now if the leader is alive, they say that the drones are produced apart, but that otherwise they are generated in the bees’ cells by the bees, and that these drones become more spirited; and for this reason they are even called drones with stings, not because they have them but because they wish to strike but cannot. The drones’ cells are larger. Sometimes they fashion the drones’ combs separately by themselves, but as a rule among those of the bees; that is why one cuts them out.There are several kinds of bees, as we have said before: two of leaders, the better one red, the other black and more variegated and twice the size of the good working bee. The best beeis small, round and variegated; another is long…. A different one is the so-called robber, black and broad-bellied. Another is the drone; this is the biggest of all, but stingless and sluggish. There is a difference between the bees produced from those that forage in domesticated plants and the bees produced from those foraging in the mountain plants; for those from the forest-foragers are hairier and smaller and more industrious and fiercer. Now the good working bees work to make the combs even, with the outer covering all smooth; and there is one form of the comb, for example all honey or grubs or drones; but if it happens that they make all of them in the same comb, there will be continuously one form constructed through a mixed heap. But the long bees make the combs uneven and the cover bulging …, and moreover the embryos and everything else placed at random. From them come the bad leaders and many drones and the so-called robbers, but very little or no honey.The bees sit over the combs and use their body heat to ‘cook’ them and make them productive; if they do not do this the combs are said to perish and become cobwebby. And if they can save the rest of the comb by sitting over it, this bad part becomes like a piece eaten away; otherwise whole combs are destroyed. In the corrupted parts small grubs are produced which grow wings and fly away. Further, the bees set upright the combs that are falling, and put props under them so that they can pass underneath; for when they have no way of approach they do not sit on them and then they become cobwebby.The robber and drone, once produced, do not work but damage the work of the others; and when caught they are killed by the good working bees. The latter also readily kill the majority of the leaders, especially the bad ones, so that there should not be a multiplicity of them to disperse the swarm. They kill them mostly when the hive is not producing many young and when no swarming is about to happen; at these times they destroy even the combs of the kings, if they have been prepared, because kings lead the swarms out. They destroy the drones’ combs too if there are signs of a shortage of honey and the hives are not well stocked with honey; and it is then that they fight most over the honey against those who take it, and expel the drones that are present, and are often seen sitting out on the hive-stand. The small bees are very hostile to the long kind and try to expel them from the hives; and if they defeat them, this is believed to become an extremely good hive. But if the others are left in charge of themselves, they are idle and achieve nothing good but actually die themselves before the autumn. Whenever the working bees kill, they try to do it outside the hive; and if one dies inside they take it out likewise. The so-called robbers not only damage the combs in their own hives but also enter those of others if they are not detected; if caught, they are killed. It is difficult for them to escape detection, for not only are there guards at every entrance but the robber himself, if he has got in undetected, through over-filling himself is unable to fly but rolls about in front of the hive so that it is difficult for him to escape.The kings are not themselves seen outside except in the company of a swarm, and in the swarms the other bees are seen to be in close order around the king. When a swarm is about to take flight, a monotonous and peculiar hum is made for some days, and two or three days beforehand a few bees fly round the hive; whether the king is also among these has not yet been observed because it is not easy. When they have all collected, they fly off and the ordinary bees divide up around each of the kings; but if a small group happens to settle near a large group, the small group changes its place to join the large one, and if the king whom they have abandoned accompanies them they destroy him. Such then are the events surrounding the departure and swarming.They have bees appointed to each of the tasks, for example some are flower-gatherers, others are water-gatherers, and others smooth and level the combs. They bring water when they are rearing young. They do not settle on any animal flesh nor eat cooked food. There is no customary time for them to begin work, but if they have their needs provided and are in good condition, it tends to be in the height of spring that they set to work, and when the weather is fine they work continuously. Moreover a bee newly produced works straightaway on the third day after shedding its case, if it has food. And when a swarm has taken up its position, some detach themselves to go for food, and then come back to them again.In hives that are thriving the production of embryo bees lapses for only about the forty days after the winter solstice. When the young have grown, they put food by them and smear a coating over; the grub itself, when it is able, splits the covering and comes out. The creatures that develop in the hives and damage the combs are cleaned out by the good working bees, but the other bees because of their bad character look on unconcerned at the destruction of the work. When the bee-keepers are lifting the combs they leave food for the bees through the winter, and if it lasts out the winter the hive is preserved, but otherwise if there is wintry weather they die there and if there are fine spells they desert the hive. For food they use honey both in summer and in winter; but they also store another food resembling wax in its hardness, which some namesandarake.Bees are attacked most by wasps and by the birds called titmice, also by swallow andbee-eater. They are hunted also by the marsh frogs which they encounter when they go to the water; for this reason the frogs too are hunted by thebee-keepers out of the marshes from which the bees get water; the keepers also remove the wasps’ nests and the swallows that are near the hives and thebee-eaters’ nests. Bees flee from no animals except each other. Their fighting is both against themselves and against the wasps. Outside they attack neither each other nor any other animal, but beside the hive they kill any that they overcome. Those that sting perish because the sting cannot be removed without the intestine; for often thebee is saved if the person stung takes care and squeezes out the sting; but in losing the sting thebee dies. By stinging they kill large animals, for example a horse before now was killed by bees. But the leaders are the least ill-tempered and sting least.Bees that die are carried out [note: this is the same Greek word as is used for human funeral rites]. And in all other respects the animal is very clean; hence they often even fly off to discharge their excrement because it is ill-smelling. They are annoyed, as we have said,by unpleasant smells and by perfumes; hence they sting even those who use them. They die because of various circumstances, especially when a number of leaders is produced and each leads away a section of them. …In regard to the kind of bees which we have saidis bad and makes the combs roughly, there are somebee-keepers who say that it is chiefly the young ones that do this out of ignorance; the current year’s bees are young. Nor do the young ones sting in the same way; hence the swarms can be carried, for they consist of young bees. When the honey has run short they expel the drones, and the bees are supplied with figs and sweet things. The older bees work inside and are hairy because they stay in, while the young ones fetch from outside and are smoother. They also kill the drones when there is no longer room for themselves to work; for they are in the innermost part of the hive. Before now, when a hive had been unhealthy, some of the bees attacked a hive belonging to others, and as they were winning the battle they began carrying out the honey; but when thebee-keeper started to kill them, the others then came out to attack them and began repelling them, and refrained from stinging the man.The diseases mostly attack hives that are thriving, including the so-calledkleros: this is a formation of little grubs on the floor, and from them as they grow a sort of cobwebs invades the whole hive, and the combs decay. Another disease develops as a sort of laziness in the bees and a bad smell in the hives.Thyme is a source of food for bees, and the white is better than the red. Their place should be not warm in the heat of summer, but warm in the winter. They sicken especially when the plant they are working on is mildewed. When there is a strong breeze, they carry a stone upon themselves as ballast against the wind. If there is a river near, they drink from nowhere else but there, having first stored their load; but if there is not, in drinking elsewhere they vomit up the honey and proceed at once to work.They have a double season for making their honey, spring and autumn; the spring honey is sweeter and paler and in general better than the autumn honey. And the best honey comes from new wax and young plant-growth….All the bees discharge their excrement either while flying away, as we have said,or into one comb. The small bees tend to be workers more than the large ones, as we have said; their wings get worn away at the edges, their colour is dark, and they are sunburnt. The bright and showy ones, as with women, are lazy. Bees seem to like the sound of a rattle, and so people say they collect them into the hive by rattling pots and counters. It is not clear, however, if they hear itat all, and whether they act thus through pleasure or through fear. The bees drive out both the lazy ones and those that do not save. The tasks have been divided, as we have said before, and some are working at combs, some at the honey, some at erithake; and some are shaping combs, others are carrying water to the cells and mixing it with the honey, others are on their way to work. At daybreak they are silent until onebee arouses them by buzzing two or three times. Then they all fly out together to work, and on returning they are noisy at first but gradually become less so until a singlebee flies round buzzing as though signaling for sleep; then suddenly they are silent. The hive is diagnosed to be strong by the amount of noise and by the movement of bees going out and coming in; for then they are working at grubs. They are most hungry when they begin after the winter. But they become lazier if one leaves behind too much honey when harvesting the combs; on the contrary one should leave the combs in proportion to the population; they work with less spirit also if too few are left. They become lazier also if the hive-box is large; for they labor with less spirit. The harvest from a hive is a pitcheror three half-pitchers, and the thriving ones yield two pitchers or five half-pitchers, and a few three pitchers.

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