Those persons who are endowed with a higher degree of reason and capacity for virtue must command and direct those who possess little or no such capacity.
Thus, all round development of society can take place only if the slaves meet the material needs of the master and provide him necessary leisure for exercising virtue, with which they are endowed.
3. On Ground of Usefulness:
According to Aristotle slavery is not only useful to the master but also to the slaves.
It is only by serving his master that the slaves are able to share the virtue of his master. Moreover, if the master’s material worries are taken care by the slaves, they may be able to devote themselves to the public affairs.
On Ground of Expediency:
Aristotle was fully aware of the slavery being an essential part of Greek Society. In fact the society mainly consisted of two groups, out of which slaves constituted the majority. Moreover they were mainly non-Greeks. Being a political conservative and a realist, Aristotle was shrewd enough to realize that its denouncement would result in chaos.
Although Aristotle offers very sound ground for justification of slavery, his case is by no means absolute. He justified slavery with certain conditions: 1. No forcible conversion of prisoners of war as slaves. 2. Enslavement of mentally deficient persons.
3. Emancipation of slaves, it showed good conduct and capacity for reasoning and virtue. 4. Proper treatment of slaves.
1. Aristotle’s justification of slavery is contrary to notions of human equality and brotherhood.
2. His assumptions are biased and contain traits and racial prejudice. 3. Aristotle completely subordinates everything to nature. Birth can never be criteria of good or bad, virtue and vice.
Individual qualities are nourished, shaped and transformed by their social environment. 4. His theory of slavery is contrary to modern notion of social justice which inevitably addresses itself to different forms of disadvantages and discriminations. Despite severe limitations, it cannot be denied that judged in the context of his time, Aristotle’s justification of slavery was essential in so far as it provided stability to the city state.
It was necessary to restore peace where some form of crisis was order of the day.