Machiavelli Aristotle Comparison Essay

903 Words Feb 4th, 2008 4 Pages
Machiavelli and Aristotle's writings on man, The Prince and Nichomachean Ethics respectively, and the management thereof contain divergent ideas of how man should act and reason. They have a similar view of the end: greatness, but the means which the two philosophers describe are distinctly different. Machiavelli writes about man as mainly concerned with power and self-assertion, while Aristotle desires a society of individuals, of honorable men. An excess of the power seeking Machiavellians and an undeniable scarcity of genuine individuals have created a contemporary society so out of touch with its own humanity that it desperately needs an application of Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics. Modern-day society overflows with …show more content…
Men of this quality would be "concerned with honor on the grand scale." Some may suggest that this shows a lean of Aristotle's views towards Machiavellianism. However, honor is not always associated with great power or with public opinion. Aristotle dismisses this suggestion when he discusses vain men. He describes how they "wish their strokes of good fortune to be made public, and speak about them as if they would be honored for them." By establishing the vain man as someone who gets their form of honor from the public, he indirectly suggests that the proud man is one whose honor is seen through his own eyes. Society today does not see things in such a way; people feel the need for acceptance from those that surround them. Such needs inhibit the value and productivity of a man's life, and hence inhibit societal advancement. Society can improve greatly upon itself by leaning in the direction of Aristotelian ethics, because such ideals can reduce blind devotion to political parties and catalyze individual thinking and accordingly leading to true advancement. The political and social writings of Machiavelli and Aristotle carry two different views of society and man's means to greatness. While Machiavelli describes an ideal society as run by a power hungry prince who conforms to the standards of public

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