Similarities Between Plato And Machiavelli
Machiavelli, unlike Plato, does not believe that justice exists universally. Instead, Machiavelli believes that justice exists situationally. In other words, if one acts in their own self-interest they are acting in a just way. This definition of justice allows for acts like murder or lying that might otherwise be considered immoral to be acceptable because there may be circumstances in which it is the right course of action -- like in the case of the Borgia.
More than his disbelief in moral imperatives, Machiavelli believes acting in one’s own self-interest is prudent. Outside of social repercussions, most people have no real incentive to act in a way that is moral which means, it is usually fair to assume people will act in their own self-interest. Machiavelli points out that if a political leader falsely assumes that someone will act unselfishly, the political leader will likely face far greater consequences than if he falsely assumes someone will act selfishly.
The conflict in their different conceptions of justice is best illustrated by the Ring of Gyges. The Ring of Gyges is a ring that would allow the wearer to become …show more content…
Plato cites that acting justly would provide benefits that Machiavelli overlooks. Plato argues that justice provides external benefits and internal individual benefits that make it absolute and worthwhile. The external benefits include those of appearances that Machiavelli would anticipate. The internal benefits include creating a more balanced, just soul. Plato believes the human soul is divided into three parts; appetitive, spirited, and rational. The appetitive part desires things like food and sex, the spirited part desires honor, and the rational desires knowledge and Truth. In the just soul, the rational soul would rule, the spirited part would enforce the rational soul and the appetitive soul would obey. Acting unjustly would feed the appetitive and spirited part of the soul which would make the soul imbalance. The imbalance of the soul would only lead to greater unhappiness -- which would mean acting unjustly and lying without pursuing justice would not lead to personal