Similarities Between Socrates And Machiavelli

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Dylan Lord Professor Ives GVPT 241 2 October 2017 Socrates’s Perspective of Machiavelli’s Prince Socrates and Machiavelli both lived during a period of nefarious governmental practices and political instability. However, these two men possessed dichotomous beliefs on how to achieve their ends, the means with which to achieve them, and the temperament a ruler must possess in order to be successful. Due to this stark contrast in their sentiments, Socrates would view Machiavelli’s concept of a prince as repugnant due to its absence of morality. Socrates would also disapprove of the political system that said prince would induce because it is one that would curtail the spread of truth, knowledge, and wisdom. Socrates believes that knowledge, wisdom, and truth are the ultimate ends and they, along with any other goal, must be sought using only virtuous methods (Apology, 21e). For example, in Crito, Socrates’s friend, Crito, tries to persuade him to escape, but Socrates refuses (44b). Socrates cites the fact that injustice is never acceptable even if it is done in retribution for another injustice; one should always act virtuously even if they are wronged (Crito, 88b). This underscores Socrates’s belief that people must not act wickedly to achieve their ends and certain options are completely off limits. Machiavelli, conversely, has a completely different sentiment; the means are insignificant in achieving the ultimate goal. Also, rather than wisdom or knowledge, Machiavelli’s
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