Social Institutions and Natural Order

Aristotle begins the Politics with a discussion of the household. He says, "The household is the partnership constituted by nature for the needs of daily life" (Lord, 36). The household arises from the union of male and female, who must join due to the necessity of reproduction. Aristotle also states the the household necessarily consists of the ruling and ruled, which corresponds to the relationship between male and female, master and slave, and parent and child.

Subsequently, he says, "The first partnership arising from the union of several households and for the sake of nondaily needs is the village" (Lord, 36). The village is a sort of intermediary between the political life of the polis and the familial life of the family. Family relations seem to define the life of the village, whereas the constitution of the polis determines the life of the city. Although the village includes several families, the familial structure governs the relationships between people in the village.

Finally, Aristotle states, "The partnership arising from the union of several villages that is complete is the city" (Lord, 36). The city is self-sufficient, and exists for the sake of living well. Although the city initially comes into being for the sake of survival, the city is the completion or end of the other kinds of partnerships and aims for the highest good of all, which is living well. Given that the city arises naturally out of the preceding partnerships, Aristotle concludes that if they came into being naturally, then the city is also a natural partnership. Consequently, he writes that it is evident that "the city belongs among the things that exist by nature, and that man is by nature a political animal" (Lord, 37).