Plato Vs Machiavelli

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One of the significant differences in the views of human nature is found between Plato’s and Machiavelli’s one. Plato tends to associate human nature with reason and rationality. It is reason which differentiates human from other beings and enables us to attain true knowledge about the universe. In Republic, Plato describes the inner conflict among three aspects of the human soul: reason, spirit and appetite. He makes it clear that if these parts are not in a correct order, a person will not have a just life. The ideal order, according to Plato, is when the appetites are moderated by the spirit and the spirit is controlled by the reason. In other words, the rational part is the most important aspect of human soul and is what prevent human from living an unjust life. Different from…show more content…
People are antagonistic towards others and inclined to evil. Similar to Plato, Machiavelli identifies human beings with reason and desire; however, he believes that it is completely natural to have the reasoning part ruled by the body and its desires. Although Plato’s point of view seems to be more ideal and positive about human goodness, Machiavelli’s one is more realistic. What he concludes about human nature is from his own observation of how people actually behave, unlike Plato’s tripartite division of the soul, which is a hypothesis that only exists in the ideal world. Machiavelli does not simply try to provide some sort of pessimistic views about mankind goodness, he rather wants to use his observation of reality to draw a lesson for the ruler that is still relevant in today’s society. He observes that “human uses laws and animals force” then argues that it is wiser for a leader to combine both human and animal natures, because “playing by the law often proves inadequate, it makes sense to resort to force as

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