Born in the year of 384 B. C. Aristotle was seen as conventional for histime, for he regarded slavery as a natural course of nature and believed thatcertain people were born to be slaves due to the fact that their soul lacked therational part that should rule in a human being; However in certaincircumstances it is evident that Aristotle did not believe that all men who wereslaves were meant to be slaves. In his book Politics, Aristotle begins with the Theory of The Household,and it is here that the majority of his views upon slavery are found.
With thebeginning of Chapter IV, Aristotle’s idea of slavery is clearly defined. “Theinstruments of the household form its stock of property : they are animate andinanimate : the slave is an animate instrument, intended (like all theinstruments of the household) for action, and not for productions. ” Thisdistinction between action and production, is based upon the understanding that’production’ is a course in which a result is desired beyond the immediate actof doing. Where as, the simple act of completing a task is identified as’action’.
Aristotle, who believed that life was action and not productiontheorized that slaves were instruments of life and were therefore needed to forma complete household. In fact Aristotle went as far as to say that a slave wascomparable to a tame animal, with their only divergence in the fact that a slavecould apprehend reason. For he concluded that a slave and animals only use wasto supply their owners with bodily help. At the end of the Theories of the Household, Aristotle explains howslaves are different from andy other types of people, in the sence that they arethe only class who are born into their occupation and become property of theirmasters.
In examining this relationship we find that he thought that whilemasters were the masters of the slaves, they still held a life other than thatof being master; However, Aristotle believed that not only was the slave aslave to his master, but the slave had no other life or purpose than belonging. From this consideration we begin to understand Aristotle’s views on therelationship between Master and Slave. At the beginning of Chapter V of the Theory of the Household, thedistinct role of master and slave is defined. There is a principle of rule and subordin-action in nature at large : it appearsespecially in the realm of animate creation. By virtue of that principle, the soul rulesthe body; and by virtue of it the master, who possesses the rational faculty of the soul,rules the slave, who possesses only bodilypowers and the faculty of understanding thedirections given by another’s reason. It was Aristotle’s views on the human soul that gave grounds to hisarguments for slavery.
It was his beliefs that the soul was divided into twoparts, being the rational faculty and the capacity for obeying. Aristotlepostulated that a freeman was innately born with the rational faculty while “Aslave is entirely without the faculty of deliberation. ” And with his views hefelt as though it was necessary for there to be a natural ruling order, whereas,the body was ruled by the soul, and those with the natural rational facultywithin their soul should rule others without. This relationship, Aristotlefound to be an essential element in his idea of master and slave being two partsforming one common entity.
It was his belief that a man’s body was the representation of his innerself and that it was nature’s intentions to distinguish between those who wereborn to be freemen and those born to be slaves. However, we see that Aristotlehave somewhat reservations upon his beliefs that all slaves corresponded to hismold. With such quotes as “But with nature , though she intends, does notalways succeed in achieving a clear distinction between men born to be mastersand men born to be slaves. ” we begin to see that Aristotle was not asconservative as believed.
In fact, we start to understand the left-wingattitudes that Aristotle held. At the end of Chapter V of the Theories of theHousehold, Aristotle concludes “The contrary of nature’s intentions, however,often happens: there are some slaves who have the bodies of freemen-as thereare others who have a freeman’s soul.”Aristotle in his Theories of the Household, allocates a full section(section 9 chapter VI), to the explanation of the relationship