Plato and Aristotle both consider wealth and its distribution to be important considerations in terms of political stability. Explain how each thinker deals with the distribution of wealth and property in their political thought. What problems arise from the love of wealth or the unequal distributions of wealth? How does each thinker propose to correct these problems and how do they justify these corrective measures? Who, in your opinion, deals with the problem more effectively, and who offers the better solution?

Textbook Information

The following texts are required for purchase:

Plato, The Republic, Hackett Publishing
Plato, The Last Days of Socrates, Penguin Classics
Aristotle, The Politics and the Constitution of Athens, Cambridge University Press
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Cambridge University Press
Machiavelli, Selected Political Writings, Hackett Publishing

NOTE: These required texts are not textbooks, but translations of the primary sources. There are many different translations of these works available in print and online. The versions listed above are recommended because of the accuracy of translations and their affordability. You are welcome to use other editions or translations if you already have access to them, but be sure that the entire text is included.
Tips for writing a good term paper

To complete the assignment, your paper must:

Address ALL parts of the question.
If you do include a title page, it does not count as a page.
Include complete references to the course readings.
Tips on constructing an argument:

The most essential quality of a good argument is clarity. It should be entirely clear to the reader what your argument is. The best way to do this is to begin your paper with a clearly stated thesis statement.
A good argument should also be a fair argument. Do not simply dismiss the opposing position in favor of your own position. Make the best case you can for both sides of the argument, then explain why you think one side is more valid/credible/convincing.
A good argument will also be specific rather than general. It will always be more convincing to engage specific arguments with references from the text rather than generalized statements that are unsupported.
A good argument will also be critical. This essay is designed to get you to think critically about the readings and political ideas that we have covered. This includes avoiding uncritical acceptance or rejection of any position. Try to avoid hyperboles or platitudes that do nothing to advance your argument. Here are some common examples of vague or uncritical statements:
“Aristotle’s views on democracy are invalid because of his support for slavery.”
“Plato’s theory of justice is convincing because he is such a great philosopher.”
“Plato’s treatment of wealth is simply communism, and history has shown that communism doesn’t work.”
Try to treat the ideas critically and carefully; try not to be too dismissive or uncritically receptive.
Sources and references:

The purpose of a citation or reference is to give the reader the necessary information to locate the passage or argument to which you refer.
A proper citation will provide ALL of the necessary information that the reader needs to locate the source of the reference—this usually means including the author’s name, the title of the work, and the page number. In the case of Plato and Aristotle, it is advisable to use the standardized numbers that are found in the margins of most editions.
There is no required formatting for citations, but I would recommend that you use one of the standard formats such as Chicago or MLA. If you use one of these formats correctly, it will ensure that you provide complete citations.
The following are examples of proper citations:
Aristotle argues that the polis is natural and that man is the “man is by nature the political animal (Politics, 1253a1-2).
Plato defines justice as adhering to one’s own business.1
Footnote reads: 1 Republic, 432e-433a.
The following are examples of improper citations:
Socrates says “the unexamined life is not worth living.”
Socrates says “the unexamined life is not worth living.” (Plato)
On internet editions: I am aware that many of you have used different editions of the readings, and in many cases (especially Thucydides), you have accessed these online. This is perfectly fine, but you must keep in mind that internet editions do not have page numbers. Therefore, if you do rely on internet access to these readings, you should indicate exactly which work you are referencing, the book and chapter you are referencing, and give some indication as to where (beginning, middle, end) the cited passage is located in the chapter text.
Ex: Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, Book II, Chapter IV, end.
NOTE: I will not be grading you based on the formatting of your citations, but you must provide the necessary information. Again, I would suggest following one of the standard formatting models—it can only make your paper more impressive and elegant when you provide proper citations.

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