Descartes As Contrasted In Machiavelli's The Prince

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In Discourse, any reader is quick to learn that Descartes is discussing previous topics or ideas that Machiavelli himself also deliberated on as well. The works of both these philosophers present the student with various ways to look at God, along with humans, and the Church. Though their viewpoints agree and disagree, Machiavelli had a significant influence on the works of Descartes. Overall, by comparing and contrasting the various thoughts and opinions of Machiavelli and Descartes the reader is able to take away important lessons such as historical examples versus method, modern science and modern politics, and their opinion about the Catholic Church at the time.
Throughout The Prince, Machiavelli very clearly establishes his ideas about
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God rewards and he also punishes. He is all-powerful but additionally has the power to do anything, even act like a violent river (Machiavelli 99). Descartes’ Discourse On Method, however, presents the intellect of the student a similar perspective on God and his role. Descartes tells us that God is perfect without being Good. He explains that perfection is a sense of “ultimate” while you can always improve something good (Descartes 19). His reflection on reason in Part IV reveals the foundation for method in the way the mind works when disconnected from all distractions. As a result of Descartes being able to awareness of his own personal imperfections, he is able to reaffirm his belief in a supreme being, God. He exclaims “It thus remained that this idea had been placed in me by a nature truly more perfect than I was and that it even had within itself all the perfections of which I could have any idea, that is to say, to explain myself in a single word, that it was God” (Descartes 19). In other words, Descartes is stating that God exists because he is able to recognize his own imperfections. Instead of simply rewriting the words of Machiavelli, Descartes imitates his writing style and adds his own method to attract people and help them understand the use, application, and significance of his writing and …show more content…
Or why would Descartes not focus on historical examples? In the end, both thinkers are still able to prove their points no matter the method. This should be an example to us of an intellectual’s ability to prove their point by various ways. As adolescent minds read through these they must be able to realize that there are many ways to come to the same conclusion, which are what Descartes and Machiavelli prove.
A second point of comparison between Machiavelli and Descartes involves them and their sentiments towards the Catholic Church. The Church plays a role in their lives and they openly express their opinions about it in their writings.
First off, Machiavelli expresses his thoughts about the Church purely through the use of biblical and historical examples. Beginning in chapter VI of The Prince, Machiavelli expresses his thoughts about a man and biblical role model, Moses. He is described by Machiavelli as a “Mere executor of things that had been ordered for him by God” (Machiavelli 22). His thoughts about this example show us how he feels about God. The reader is able to notice how Machiavelli attempts to put down the works of Moses because he was just a facilitator of things controlled by God. This is just the first real example he makes use of in his

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