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Types Of Slavery : By Aristotle

We all are very well known to the theory of slavery that was performed all around the world in 17 -18 century before its abolition . But there are some thinkers of Philosophy who had some ideas or views about slave and now I would like to use Aristotle as an example. He was an Greek philosopher who was inspired by Plato an great philosopher , Aristotle has given 2 types of slaves one – natural and the legal .

His thoughts about natural slave –

Aristotle describes a natural slave in his book Politics as “anyone who, while being human, is by nature not his own but of someone else…” Aristotle also states “he is of someone else when, while being human, he is a piece of property; and a piece of property is a tool for action separate from its owner.”Based on this quote, Aristotle defines natural slavery in two phases. The first part is the natural slave’s existence and characteristics. The second part is the natural slaves in society and how they interact with his or her master. According to Aristotle, natural slaves’ main features include being pieces of property, tools for actions, and belonging to others.

Aristotle’s work has come under controversy and criticism in recent years, with scholars arguing that “…the formulation of Aristotle’s account of slavery is riddled with inconsistency and incoherence.” Other scholars have argued that the state of natural slavery is ultimately alterable, since Aristotle’s conception of nature is as well.

In book I of the Politics, Aristotle addresses the questions of whether slavery can be natural or whether all slavery is contrary to nature and whether it is better for some people to be slaves. He concludes that

those who are as different [from other men] as the soul from the body or man from beast—and they are in this state if their work is the use of the body, and if this is the best that can come from them—are slaves by nature. For them it is better to be ruled in accordance with this sort of rule, if such is the case for the other things mentioned.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_slavery#:~:text=Aristotle

When he says that there some who had been slave due to conditions / legal he means they are either due to war or other natural calamities that has rendered them in this condition , he says them as having bad fortune or bad timing of life.

Slaves were not totally incapable of thought, but they only needed minimal amount of rational ability; just enough to understand and carry out their duties.

Similarly, slaves were not devoid of ‘virtue’, but once again, they only needed just enough to carry out their duties. But that ‘virtue’ was enough for them to be treated as human beings.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/slavery/ethics/philosophers_

We can now see how Aristotle’s argument comes together:

P1. Slavery is just and beneficial (for the slave and for the owner) if the enslaved naturally lacks the capacity to deliberate.
P2. There are some human beings who naturally lack the capacity to deliberate.
C1. Therefore, there are some human beings whose enslavement would be just and beneficial.
P3. Those who are enslaved typically lack the capacity to deliberate.
C2. Therefore, the typical slave is enslaved justly.

The first premise is clearly mistaken: humans who lacked the capacity to deliberate would benefit from competent guardians to look out for their welfare, not a lifetime of forced labor. Aristotle exhibits astonishing blindness to the abusive and degrading nature of slavery.

The second premise, that there are human beings who lack the capacity to deliberate, might be true in some cases – perhaps those with severe brain damage or advanced dementia – but they are certainly not who Aristotle had in mind.

The third premise is similarly mistaken: Aristotle systematically misidentifies who lacks the capacity for deliberation. It was probably true that enslaved people, forbidden real education and condemned to forced labor, did not have the intellectual abilities of the free Greek citizen. But Aristotle fails to see that this is not the inherent nature of enslaved people, but the result of slavery itself.

These were some thoughts of him that were used by him in his era but now this can not be used as no one will believe it to be true as it can be seen through above arguments , we need to follow every thing any scholar has said we need to have our own views also as people are free do to that but keeping in mind not to hurt that person reputation in public .

Published by Prisha Jain

I am an emerging new person who would like to be in the line of property development .

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