Despite living thousands of years ago, Socrates and Machiavelli were both influential thinkers whose works are still relevant today. These two great thinkers and philosophers wrote about and extensively studied political systems. The influences of their work can still be seen today in constitutions and governments around the world. Were it not for their transcendent works, there is a real chance today’s systems of government would look very different. While no governments today exactly match those advocated for by Machiavelli and Socrates, their writings surely influenced other thinkers later on in history. Both of these philosophers advocated for different leadership structures with the hope of creating fair and long-lasting states.
As philosophers, both Socrates and Niccolo Machiavelli developed theories in response to the warring political environment around them. However, the theories and principles developed by the two philosophers are vastly different in regard to the concept of truth, Socrates would hate Machiavelli’s model prince due to Machiavelli’s manipulative view of truth. While Socrates desired a state that focuses on fundamental truth and ethical decisions, Machiavelli advocated a state led by a pragmatic, logical, and even cruel decision maker. The difference between the two theories is stark, not only would Socrates disagree with Machiavelli’s concept of a prince, he would view the prince with utter
18). A true prince in Machiavelli’s eyes is someone that the nobles, people, army, and neighboring states will be dependent on. To Machiavelli humans are by nature power hungry and greedy and that as long as there is dependence on the prince whether it is due to heredity, fear, or a variety of other factors, he will remain in power.
Socrates and Machiavelli both existed during times of political unrest. Both men sought different means of political leadership, and could be seen as activists of their times. During times of war and unrest, it was a bold choice that both men made to stand up for their beliefs and speak out against the system. However, Socrates wouldn’t have agreed with Machiavelli’s means and concepts of the Prince and his ideas for how a political establishment should function.
At first glance, Socrates and Machiavelli appear to have a lot in common. They both lived in a time of political unrest and violence. They both dealt with uncertain surroundings in their societies. Most importantly, they both tried to use philosophy to improve their society. However, there was also an important difference between them. While Socrates was a moral philosopher whose goal was to search for truth and knowledge, Machiavelli was a political philosopher whose goal was to create a lasting society with a Prince that could hold power. Because of their clashing ideals, it is unlikely that Socrates would be supportive of a Machiavellian political system or Prince, though there are specific aspects of the society that Socrates would
Machiavelli and Socrates agree on very little. While an initial reading of the two may elicit some comparisons, the goals of their respective philosophies rely on different foundations, and would therefore culminate in very different political results for society. Socrates would likely see in the Prince a selfish ruler, while Machiavelli would see in Socrates a dangerous idealist whose ideas would lead to instability and the death of the state in which these ideas were implemented. Machiavelli’s philosophy of the Prince would not satisfy Socrates because instead of focusing on right action, the Prince is encouraged to put political expediency and self-preservation above all else. In addition, the type of political system that Machiavelli’s
While Socrates and Machiavelli lived over 1900 years apart, the dilemmas their societies faced draw many parallels. In Machiavelli’s “The Prince”, he demonstrates a wide-ranging set of rules and principles to be followed by a leader to ensure the steady maintenance of authority and stability in a state or principality. Not only would Socrates be opposed to many of the espoused views in “The Prince” on what creates a successful ruler, thereby society, but had he lived in Machiavelli’s “ideal” state, he would openly question and rebel against the cogs that maintain its stability, possibly even advocating its upheaval. Socrates would most ardently disagree with Machiavelli’s depiction of the supremacy of the prince and state over its
Socrates and Niccolo Machiavelli were both incredibly influential in the development of Western philosophical thought, specifically in relation to ethics in politics. Machiavelli’s text The Prince, written during a period of political turmoil in Italy, outlines the necessary steps a prince must take to obtain both power and authority. Plato’s The Last Days of Socrates assesses the moral and ethical guidelines an ideal leader should possess through the beliefs and teachings of Socrates. While both texts had similar objectives, their opinions were quite contradictory. Socrates would have found Machiavelli’s concept of the “Prince”, and the government he creates to be both unethical and fundamentally flawed. Socrates places higher value on the maintenance and creation of justice, while Machiavelli stresses the process of obtaining and preserving power, unethical or not. Due to their differences in their ideas of virtue, knowledge, and justice it can be concluded that Socrates would not be supportive of the government in which The Prince proposes.
Machiavelli writes The Prince centuries after Plato documents Socrates in Crito and The Apology. Despite the different time periods, both Machiavelli and Socrates experience times of turmoil where the concept of democracy was questioned. However, the different time periods cause the views and purposes of Machiavelli’s writing to largely differ from Socrates. Machiavelli writes in a time of turmoil where Italy was a bunch of small, fragmented states and when the Medici’s struggled to regain power after being expelled. This causes his views to be more cynical and pessimistic in comparison to Socrates. If Socrates were to read The Prince, he would disagree with Machiavelli’s beliefs and deem his portrayal of a prince as immoral. Their
In The Prince, Machiavelli explains what a good and successful prince should be like. He advocates a strong, cutthroat authority figure and encourages the winning of power by any means necessary. The main theme in The Prince is that mob rule is dangerous, for people know only what is good for themselves and not what is good for the whole. The common people, in Machiavelli’s view, “are ungrateful, fickle, liars, and deceivers, they shun danger and are greedy for profit; while you treat them well, they are yours”. He believes that these commoners should be
Socrates and Machiavelli are both very influential philosophers and two of the great minds of their time. However, both of these men had their own separate ideas that did not completely agree with one another. Machiavelli was born into a Renaissance time period of fragmented politics, lots of bloodshed, and angry citizens while Socrates grew up in a time of political adjustment and instability in Athens. Machiavelli constructed The Prince as a political pamphlet to his friend Lorenzo de ' Medici on how a prince would successfully rule his land or kingdom most effectively. This guide consisted of ideas that involved cheating and lying to keep people happy and asserting dominance over others. The Greek philosopher Socrates, on the other
Throughout the course of history, political philosophy has been dominated by two great thinkers: Niccolo Machiavelli and Socrates. Although both highly influential, Socrates and Machiavelli may not see eye to eye. When it comes to the idea of how an “ideal prince” would act, Machiavelli believes that they should lead through fear and follow a thirst for power, no matter the cost. Socrates, on the other hand, believes that they should lead through morality and have a healthy thirst for knowledge. Overall, these two would not exactly agree on what the actions of a good leader would look like or how a political system should be run.
Machiavelli goes on in Chapters Fifteen through Twenty Three to discuss his advice to the reader in the ideal behavior and characteristics of a prince. He mentions that doing good would only lead to the ruin of a prince’s kingdom. He claims that a prince should be stingy and cruel as opposed to generous and merciful. He then, of course, adds in examples of successful rulers who were both moral and immoral alike. A prince should break promises more than he keeps them, according to the author. He also suggests that, while behaving in the aforementioned ways, a prince should do his best to avoid being despised by leaving his subjects’ land and women alone and by undertaking great projects to boost his reputation. As suggested at the beginning of Chapter Nineteen, a prince should not be “fickle, frivolous, effeminate, cowardly, [or] irresolute,” (70). ¬¬¬He should also choose wise, as opposed to flattering, advisors.
More advice given to the prince by Machiavelli was on general good governance, meaning how to rule, all supported by historical examples. He writes, "…the prince will avail himself of the occasion… to secure himself, with less consideration for