Socrates, Machiavelli, And Rousseau 's Views On Political Ethics

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Socrates, Machiavelli, and Rousseau are three philosophers discussing political ethics from entirely different perspectives. This paper argues that Socrates, Machiavelli, and Rousseau are all idealists regarding their stances on political ethics. First, this paper argues that Socrates is an idealist due his belief that the current government has much more potential than it is currently reaching, and that the government could eventually be changed. Second, this paper argues that Rousseau is an idealist because of his unrealistically positive view of the natural state of humanity and negative view of society. Lastly, this paper argues that Machiavelli is idealistic because of the overwhelming, impossible number of criteria that the Prince…show more content…
He proclaims that “examining both myself and others is really the very best thing that a man can do, and that life without this sort of examination is not worth living” (Plato 66). Socrates believes that the government will be able to change so that people who value goodness and truth would be in power. However, later in the Apology, Socrates contradicts himself when he explains why he has led a mostly private life, saying that “if I had long ago attempted to take part in politics, I should have died long ago” (Plato 58). Socrates believes “a man who really fights for justice must lead a private, not a public, life” (Plato 59). This goes against what he has been saying for the rest of the trial and demonstrates the unrealistic quality of the high standards to which he holds the government and leaders. If Socrates says it is dangerous for proponents of justice to live a public life, it becomes extremely difficult for politicians to be virtuous and morally good, since politicians live essentially their whole lives in the public sphere. It is not realistic for Socrates to believe that the government of Athens could progress so that good people hold the power, when he has shown that in his own experience and observations it is not safe for good people to hold public positions.
Another contradiction that emphasizes the dissonance between Socrates’ ideas and

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