Socrates And Niccolo Machiavelli And Plato's The Prince

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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.
Socrates believed the possession of virtue was a highly valued characteristic. Although Socrates gives no clear definition of virtue it can be inferred that he is referring to the moral responsibility to do the right thing despite your own personal interest. According to Socrates, an ideal leader should be virtuous in their decisions in order to create a society founded on justice. To Machiavelli it is more important to act like you

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