Hobbes Vs Machiavelli Human Conditions Essay
In their separate writings, philosophers Thomas Hobbes and Niccolò Machiavelli present a bleak outlook on the inherent human condition. In his book Leviathan, Hobbes focuses on the innate egocentric and primal nature of humanity, while Machiavelli, in his book The Prince, expands on the paradoxical necessity of possessing these outwardly cruel and stingy characteristics in order to promote human goodwill. Though each man has a slightly different focus, it is clear that both Hobbes and Machiavelli emphasize the innate nature of human beings to strive for self-preservation above all else.
Thomas Hobbes’s claim is centered in chapter 7 of Leviathan, titled “Of the Natural Condition of Mankind, As Concerning Their Felicity …show more content…
Machiavelli’s writing appeals to the core of human nature, as previously described by Hobbes, because it emphasizes the things which a ruler must do in order to maintain authoritative power over a society. He argues that a ruler who depends on the effects of his goodwill to secure his power will come to ruin, while a ruler who is effectively able to manipulate the seeming vices of stinginess and dishonesty will retain his power and respect. Humans, which are doomed for fallibility, must become masters of vice in order to prevent being overtaken by them (406). In expanding upon this claim, Machiavelli states that a ruler must not fear the tarnished reputation which follows from exercising characteristics of vice; in actuality, society’s attitude of the stingy ruler who does not take from the people in a time of need will be much better than its perspective of a generous ruler who then takes from the population in order to sustain the country (407). Similarly to having a reputation of stinginess in order to preserve self-image, Machiavelli argues that a ruler must also possess fear from his subjects, as opposed to love. He attributes disloyalty in formerly-devoted subjects to the simple, selfish nature of men, and therefore he argues that fear preserves a prince