Aristotle Aristotle discusses the ideal state and citizens. In his ideal state, Aristotle states about the features of citizens and answers the question of who sould be citizen? . The concept of citizen is very important in his ideal state, because according to Aristotle citizens have the fullest sovereign power, and it would be ridiculous to deny their participation in the state management. Aristole’s inspiration is from biology. It depends on teleology.
Teleology is about purposefullness.Everything has a purpose. So the form of the citizen is like that. Aristotle argues that citizens have a common purpose for the stability of association, because they are the most important part of society. According to Aristotle, a citizen is one who participates in giving judgement and holding office. For citizens membership on juries has no limitation or to be a member of an assembly.
But there is no agreement as what constitutes a citizen generally. The citizens will necessarily vary according to the constitution. In a democracy, the all poor people could be citizens; however in an oligarchy the rich people are going to be citizens. It means in an oligarchy only rich people will give judgement and hold office. Aristotle states that resident foreigners and slaves are not citizens.
Because citizens are a particular class of men, the others (slaves, foreigners, workers..) don’t have the function of ruling and being ruled according to Aristotle. Therefore the occupations of others are different from the citizens.Aristotle makes discrimination in society. Many people couldn’t have right to be citizens because of their occupations or situations in society. Aristotle argues some virtues about the citizens and rulers. At first he states that the virtue of the citizen must be in relation with the constitution. There are many types of constitutions.
In each constitution there are different virtues. For instance in Aristocracy courage is the main virtue but in monarchy wisdom is the main virtue. So it is hard to explain certain virtues for citizens. With the consideration of circumstances we can say some virtues for citizens. But the most important and main virtue of the citizen is to contribute to the stability of association as it is mentioned. Aristotle states that the virtues of ruler and ruled person are different. He states that the virtue of ruler is practical wisdom and the ruled person should have correct opinion.
Of course, the concept of correct opinion should conform to the constitution. According to Aristotle citizens should have so much features ,which are seemed to be impracticable in society. Aristotle argues that citizens should participate in judgement and hold office. That means the good citizen must have the knowledge and ability both to rule and to be ruled. It is very hard to find a citizen who fits these qualifications, because every person can not have the ability to ruling.
Aristotle wants to explain the form of citizen with teleology. A citizen should have a purpose for the stability of the association. But I think a citizen should not to be compelled to rule. Bibliography Aristotle politics Philosophy.