What is politics?
According to Aristotle, writing in the fourth century BC, politics was the search for the good life. In this reading, then, politics has a moral and philosophical component (what is a good life?). Our modern term Politics comes from Ancient Greek Politikos, having to do with the polis, the ancient Greek city-state. One of the sayings coined by Aristotle was that man is a “Political Animal.” Aristotle said: "From these things it is evident, that the city belongs among the things that exist by nature, and that man is by nature a political animal" (1253a1-3). By this statement, Aristotle meant to suggest two things: Cities (governments) exist by nature, they are natural. If not part of the city, you were beast, or god. Must exist because men not self-sufficient require the cooperation of others in order to survive and thrive. And, that we only experience our humanity as we interact with others in the polis, in the society, in the government, need other people in order to live the good life. According to a more recent definition; politics is who gets what, when, and where? The understanding of why is the job of Political Science. Domestic Example/Domestic Politics: funding for schools or for prescription drugs for seniors (settle through political system). International Example/International Politics: Control over borderlands between Eritrea and Ethiopia (settle through diplomacy, arbitration, or war). Think about this definition: politics is who gets what, when, and where? By this definition, politics not only happens in states, but it happens in organizations, NGOs and businesses, even universities and families. You’ve heard someone say this before, “so much politics at the office.” More conventional definition, one that fits more what we will deal with in this class: Politics is the art or science of government. Sub definitions: Governments administer states. States have a monopoly of violence in territory.
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