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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsA Treatise On Government - BOOK II - Chapter III
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A Treatise On Government - BOOK II - Chapter III Post by :kellymonaghan Category :Nonfictions Author :Aristotle Date :January 2011 Read :3273

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A Treatise On Government - BOOK II - Chapter III

admitting that it is most advantageous for a city to be one as
much as possible, it does not seem to follow that this will take place
by permitting all at once to say this is mine, and this is not mine
(though this is what Socrates regards as a proof that a city is
entirely one), for the word All is used in two senses; if it means
each individual, what Socrates proposes will nearly take place; for
each person will say, this is his own son, and his own wife, and his
own property, and of everything else that may happen to belong to him,
that it is his own. But those who have their wives and children in
common will not say so, but all will say so, though not as
individuals; therefore, to use the word all is evidently a fallacious
mode of speech; for this word is sometimes used distributively, and
sometimes collectively, on account of its double meaning, and is the
cause of inconclusive syllogisms in reasoning. Therefore for all
persons to say the same thing was their own, using the word all in its
distributive sense, would be well, but is impossible: in its
collective sense it would by no means contribute to the concord of the
state. Besides, there would be another inconvenience attending this
proposal, for what is common to many is taken least care of; for all
men regard more what is their own than what others share with them in,
to which they pay less attention than is incumbent on every one: let
me add also, that every one is more negligent of what another is to
see to, as well as himself, than of his own private business; as in a
family one is often worse served by many servants than by a few. Let
each citizen then in the state have a thousand children, but let none
of them be considered as the children of that individual, but let the
relation of father and child be common to them all, and they will all
be neglected. Besides, in consequence of this, (1262a) whenever any
citizen behaved well or ill, every person, be the number what it
would, might say, this is my son, or this man's or that; and in this
manner would they speak, and thus would they doubt of the whole
thousand, or of whatever number the city consisted; and it would be
uncertain to whom each child belonged, and when it was born, who was
to take care of it: and which do you think is better, for every one to
say this is mine, while they may apply it equally to two thousand or
ten thousand; or as we say, this is mine in our present forms of
government, where one man calls another his son, another calls that
same person his brother, another nephew, or some other relation,
either by blood or marriage, and first extends his care to him and
his, while another regards him as one of the same parish and the same
tribe; and it is better for any one to be a nephew in his private
capacity than a son after that manner. Besides, it will be impossible
to prevent some persons from suspecting that they are brothers and
sisters, fathers and mothers to each other; for, from the mutual
likeness there is between the sire and the offspring, they will
necessarily conclude in what relation they stand to each other, which
circumstance, we are informed by those writers who describe different
parts of the world, does sometimes happen; for in Upper Africa there
are wives in common who yet deliver their children to their respective
fathers, being guided by their likeness to them. There are also some
mares and cows which naturally bring forth their young so like the
male, that we can easily distinguish by which of them they were
impregnated: such was the mare called Just, in Pharsalia.
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A Treatise On Government - BOOK II - Chapter IV A Treatise On Government - BOOK II - Chapter IV

A Treatise On Government - BOOK II - Chapter IV
des, those who contrive this plan of community cannot easily avoidthe following evils; namely, blows, murders involuntary or voluntary,quarrels, and reproaches, all which it would be impious indeed to beguilty of towards our fathers and mothers, or those who are nearlyrelated to us; though not to those who are not connected to us by anytie of affinity: and certainly these mischiefs must necessarily happenoftener amongst those who do not know how they are connected to eachother than those who do; and when they do happen, if it is among thefirst of these, they admit of a legal expiation, but amongst thelatter

A Treatise On Government - BOOK II - Chapter II A Treatise On Government - BOOK II - Chapter II

A Treatise On Government - BOOK II - Chapter II
as a community of wives is attended with many other difficulties,so neither does the cause for which he would frame his government inthis manner seem agreeable to reason, nor is it capable of producingthat end which he has proposed, and for which he says it ought to takeplace; nor has he given any particular directions for putting it inpractice. Now I also am willing to agree with Socrates in theprinciple which he proceeds upon, and admit that the city ought to beone as much as possible; and yet it is evident that if it iscontracted too much, it will be no