Borkowski Paweł
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48(2012)3 - Papers

Paweł Borkowski

The concept of the ideal political constitution in Aristotle

  • language: Polish


Summary

The aim of the paper is to examine Aristotle’s ideas concerning the best form of government, or constitution of a political community. As emerged from the research, Aristotle distinguishes and discusses four types of the ideal constitution, namely: i) an absolutely perfect or ideal system of government, one which he identifies as either a kingship or aristocracy; ii) a universally ideal government, one which is functionally based upon the middle class of the citizenry and is not to be confused with polity intended as a more specific type of constitution; iii) a relatively ideal government, a form adapted to a particular condition of either the entire population or some of its parts; iv) and finally, a technically ideal government, which is coherently organized in accordance with a number of precisely defined postulates. One general conclusion of the study is that Aristotle, far from prescribing any perfect constitution apparently suited to each city state, rather tends to combine requirements of reason and virtue with actual circumstances of ordinary life.

 

 
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46(2010)1 - Articles

Paweł Borkowski

Individual prevention as an essential characteristic of paternalism

  • language: Polish


Summary

The paper explains one important feature of paternalism, a system of political rule operating nowadays in so-called welfare states. Paternalism de facto and de jure aims at a comprehensive control of human behaviour, including actions which mainly or exclusively influence the agents themselves. For the purposes of the paper this specific tendency of paternalist governments is termed ‘individual prevention’. Individual prevention appears to be based upon the general assumption that human beings, if left unsurveilled, may behave in a self-destructive manner or, at least, become harmful to themselves. Consequently, the followers of paternalist idea argue that the state, with its proper legislative, administrative and penal measures, ought to prevent its members from harming themselves and thus to extend the scope of their rationality and liberty. The fact remains, however, that the general assumption upon which individual prevention is founded is highly controversial. As demonstrated e.g. by Aristotle in the "Nicomachean Ethics", it is impossible for anyone to harm oneself in an informed and voluntary way. True, individuals may sometimes act in a self-destructive manner, owing to unavoidable limitations of their knowledge and competences. Nevertheless, as concluded in the paper, a paternalist state easily becomes a totalitarian one, quite contrary to its leading idea.