At Aristotle's Heart: The Possibility of Achieving the Good Life
Human beings do not exist in isolation. First, they come together in pairs, male and female, and also master and slave. These pairs next form a household and bring together more people under one roof. A grouping of households forms a village: "The final formation, formed of several villages, is the state" (Saunders 59). This level is the level of self-sufficiency, and it is the level that assures the possibility of achieving the good life. Every state exists by nature, just as the earlier associations are by nature. The state thus belongs to the class of objects which exist by nature. This further indicates that man is a political animal.

For Aristotle, we begin with a capacity for goodness of character and for producing the good in society, but what happens next determines how effective this will be. This means that the capacity must be developed. Again, Aristotle sees certain good in nature and in the elements of nature placed within us but also feels that education and social learning determine how that capacity will be used and developed in life. Political science offers a means of analyzing the good and how to achieve it. The state is a necessary control on the human being, and Aristotle sees the state as ennobling man in a way that man in the state of nature could never achieve:

For as man is the best of all animals when he has reached his full development, so he is worst of all when divorced from law and justice (Saunders 61).

 
 
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