In Book 3, Chapter 9 of the Politics, Aristotle criticizes one Lycophron the sophist for asserting that law is a compact and a guarantor among the citizens of the just things. According to Hobbes, Lycophron is correct, and the law is exactly what he said it was, no more, no less. Focussing on Aristotle’s reasons for rejecting the adequacy of understanding society in terms of a social compact, and Hobbes’s reasons for endorsing this notion, discuss their fundamental differences concerning the origin and purposes of civil society.
Aristotle disagrees that the main purpose of the city should be to
protect against injustice (which varies in different systems of government).
A well-functioning city requires such protection, no doubt, but it must also
work towards ensuring its inhabitants live well for the sake of self-sufficiency.
To this end, Aristotle cites intermarriage between families and engagement
in politics as important elements of a city.
Intermarriage is “the work of
affection,” which is the “intentional choice of living together.” (p. 99 1281a1,
40-45) Affection bonds citizens in a virtuous way that transcends a simple
partnership against injustice.
Similarly, “political partnerships must be
regarded as being for the sake of noble actions, not for the sake of living
together. (Aristotle talks in Book 1, Chapter 2 about how political discourse leads
to better life.
This is the section we had to read to write the essay
comparing Aristotle to Plato.)