Plato And Machiavelli 's View On Justice Essay

2022 Words Nov 21st, 2016 9 Pages
Plato and Machiavelli disagree about the circumstances which justify a lie. Plato believes that political leaders must lie if that is necessary to pursue justice and thereby lead the city well. Machiavelli also believes that lying is a method of establishing political order but, unlike Plato, believes that lying should be used as a method to maintain power for power’s sake – not for some greater purpose. Although in most circumstances Machiavelli and Plato disagree, occasionally, they agree. For example, they may agree to lie to the philosopher kings about the marriage lottery system in certain cases. I argue that both Plato and Machiavelli would disagree with each other’s justification for deceit because, at the heart of their theories, they disagree about whether justice is situational or universal, which ultimately determines their conceptions of a good ruler. Plato’s position on justice is best illustrated by his concept of a noble lie, Machiavelli’s position is best illustrated by his opinion on Cesare Borgia and their disagreement about justice is best illustrated by their different reactions to the Ring of Gyges.
In the Republic, Plato determines the circumstances which would make a lie justifiable based on his conceptions of justice. Plato believes that justice is something universal that exists outside of circumstance and the just ruler must pursue it. Because the pursuit of justice is the most important goal of any ruler, the ruler should lie if it is necessary in…

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