Aristotle and Slavery

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I am of the opinion that slavery was one of the issues on which Aristotle had to walk the fine line. He is often criticized by modern scholars for condoning slavery. But, would a public renunciation of slavery by a teacher to the rich and powerful have had any influence in speeding the abolition of it? Hardly. However, it certainly would have been detrimental to the well-being of Aristotle himself. Slavery has been practiced since the beginnings of civilization, and most likely even before that. Slavery has been a factor in the economy of many societies and states up to our present times. Slaves have been forced to do the dirty, physically exhausting, and dangerous work that needs to be done but that the free men are loath to do. Not so long ago, slavery was a state-run enterprise in the Soviet Union: Slaves (political prisoners) were used in uranium mines and to clean nuclear-powered submarines of radioactive waste. In Aristotle's Greece the owning of slaves was not only an economic but also a cultural practice. By and large, Aristotle's pupils came from the upper strata of society, from prosperous oligarchs and kings. Ownership of slaves was indicative of social status; it showed that one was rich enough to afford to keep them. It would have been unthinkable for them not to own slaves. But I can't imagine Aristotle upholding slavery on principle. Through his lectures and writings on ethics and morals, Aristotle was constantly trying to persuade men that it is to their own benefit to live a virtuous life and to allow the next fellow to do likewise. At the same time, he had no illusions about the nature of man, expressed very directly in this statement: For man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but, when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all; since armed injustice is the more dangerous, and he is equipped at birth with arms,
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