Aristotle discusses the ideal state and citizens. In his ideal state,
Aristotle states about the features of citizens and answers the question of
who sould be citizen? . The concept of citizen is very important in his
ideal state, because according to Aristotle citizens have the fullest
sovereign power, and it would be ridiculous to deny their participation in
the state management.
Aristole’s inspiration is from biology. It depends on teleology.
Teleology is about purposefullness.Everything has a purpose. So the
form of the citizen is like that. Aristotle argues that citizens have a
common purpose for the stability of association, because they are the
most important part of society.
According to Aristotle, a citizen is one who participates
in giving judgement and holding office. For citizens membership on
juries has no limitation or to be a member of an assembly. But there is no
agreement as what constitutes a citizen generally. The citizens will
necessarily vary according to the constitution. In a democracy, the all
poor people could be citizens; however in an oligarchy the rich people
are going to be citizens. It means in an oligarchy only rich people will
give judgement and hold office.
Aristotle states that resident foreigners and slaves are not citizens.
Because citizens are a particular class of men, the others (slaves,
foreigners, workers…) don’t have the function of ruling and being ruled
according to Aristotle. Therefore the occupations of others are different
from the citizens.Aristotle makes discrimination in society. Many people
couldn’t have right to be citizens because of their occupations or
situations in society.
Aristotle argues some virtues about the citizens and rulers. At first
he states that the virtue of the citizen must be in relation with the
constitution. There are many types of constitutions. In each constitution
there are different virtues. For instance in Aristocracy courage is the
main virtue but in monarchy wisdom is the main virtue. So it is hard to
explain certain virtues for citizens. With the consideration of
circumstances we can say some virtues for citizens. But the most
important and main virtue of the citizen is to contribute to the stability of
association as it is mentioned. Aristotle states that the virtues of ruler and
ruled person are different. He states that the virtue of ruler is practical
wisdom and the ruled person should have correct opinion. Of course, the
concept of correct opinion should conform to the constitution.
According to Aristotle citizens should have so much features
,which are seemed to be impracticable in society. Aristotle argues that
citizens should participate in judgement and hold office. That means the
good citizen must have the knowledge and ability both to rule and to be
ruled. It is very hard to find a citizen who fits these qualifications,
because every person can not have the ability to ruling. Aristotle wants to
explain the form of citizen with teleology. A citizen should have a
purpose for the stability of the association. But I think a citizen should
not to be compelled to rule.