Every time when I discuss politics I can not help but to think back on two people that so long ago have reasoned and imagine political theories that are still in use today. Plato and Aristotle are considered to be “Founding Fathers” of modern political theories. I armed myself with Hacker Andrew’s Political Theory: Philosophy, Ideology, Science: New York: Macmillan, 1961 and took a stroll down the “philosophical memory lane”.
In order to compare the political theories of two great philosophers of politics we need to examine each theory in depth. Plato is regarded by many experts as the first writer of political philosophy, and Aristotle is recognized as the first political scientist. They each had ideas of how to improve existing societies during their individual lifetimes. It is necessary to look at several areas of each theory to seek the difference in each.
The main focus of Plato is a perfect society. He creates a blueprint for a utopian society, in his book The Republic, out of his dislike for the tension of political life (Hacker 24). This blueprint was a sketch of a society in which the problems he thought were present in his society would be eased (Hacker 24). Plato sought to cure the afflictions of both human society and human personality (Hacker 24). Essentially what Plato wants to achieve is a utopia.
Aristotle, unlike Plato, is not concerned with perfecting society. He just wants to improve on the existing one. Rather than produce a blueprint for the perfect society, Aristotle suggested, in his work, The Politics, that the society itself should reach for the best possible system that could be attained (Hacker 71). Plato relied on the deductive approach, while Aristotle is an example of an inductive approach (Hacker 71). Utopia is a solution in abstract, a solution that has no concrete problem (Hacker 76). There is no solid evidence that all societies are in need of such drastic reformation as Plato suggests (Hacker 76).