Comparing Aristotle, Hegel and Locke on the Family

by | Mar 13, 2021 | College (3-4), Essay, Political Science

Plato and the Family (Powerpoint)

  • Socrates moves on to a discussion of the family for the Guardians
    • Wives and children will be in common
    • Parents will not know who their children are and children will not know who the parents are
  • Sex will only happen during designated times—festival times
  • Individuals will be paired by the rulers and told it is being done by lot
    • The best of the best men may be paired multiple times with excellent women as a reward for bravery
      • This will lead to better children as well
  • Children will be taken from the mother at birth and will be raised in common
    • The mothers will breastfeed all the children
    • Children with handicaps will be exposed
  • The parents will have to be in their prime in order to have children
    • After this they will be free to do as they wish as long as they abort all children
  • To avoid unintentional incest children born in the 7th and 10th months will be considered theirs, thus all these children will be brothers and sisters
    • Sexual relations between these groups is forbidden
  • Women and children must be in common to create unity
    • Private property only separates

Aristotle and the Family (Powerpoint)

  • Aristotle then moves on to the other relations in the household
    • The husband and wife relationship resembles the statesman-citizen relationship
      • Both are free in the sense that neither is a slave
      • The husband rules since the wife is somewhat lacking in rationality
  • The parent-child relationship resembles the king-subject relationship
    • The father rules by virtue of the children’s love and respect for his age and wisdom
    • The respective virtues of master, wife, child, and slave vary in aim and measure according to the different roles each of these fulfill

Hegel and the Family (Powerpoint)

  • In the family, one is both an individual, but more importantly a unity–love
    • One of the major purposes of the family is for raising children but this leads to its dissolution (sublation)
    • Right comes about from the fact of its eventual dissolution
  • Familial love
    • Contradiction between not wanting to be independent if that means being incomplete and wanting to be recognized by the other person
  • Here is where material property becomes ethical and rational
    • Not based on a single owner’s needs, but a unified group
  • The father should be the head of the family
    • Goes out and works for a living
    • Manages property
    • Property is common stock, however

Locke and the Family (Powerpoint)

  • Power of parents over children for their own good because they are not yet fully rational
    • Once children understand the law, then the parent’s power disperses
    • Not intended to be severe and arbitrary
    • For protection—children are not property
  • When the above is done the child owes the parent respect, gratitude and support in the future
Who is included?Biological family, property and slavesBiological family and propertyBiological family and property
How is property managed?The male head of family has the power to rationally manage it, distribute as he choosesThe father has the power to rationally manage itOne individual should manage, usually father
What is the purpose of property?Provide basic means of life for the family including further generations, comfortable life for the wealthySupport the family until they move on, provide education to the childrenSupport the family until they move on, provide education to children
How does the family end/transform?Oldest male dies and control goes to the next in lineChildren reach adulthood, leave and start their own familiesChildren reach adulthood, leave and start their own families
What is the relationship between husband and wife?Hierarchical with husband in charge, wife is less rationalSlightly less hierarchical with separate but “equal” rolesStill less hierarchical where wife has rationality but still separate roles
What is the relationship between parents and children?Hierarchical, oldest male relative rules for life, mother may have some power over children and slavesParents should prepare children for civil society, father trains son for career, politics; mother provides moral guidance to both sons and daughtersParents should understand that they are “mini-“ adults with some rationality; must be protected and cared for but no tyranny here

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