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Evaluate Machiavelli's account of therelations between ethics and politics

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Introduction

Evaluate Machiavelli's account of the relations between ethics and politics. From the beginning of the foundation of organized society many philosophers, political theorists, scientists, psychologists, and others have tried to give definitions to the words like power, society, and the means of rule or politics. For many centuries the human mind was changing very rapidly, so were the definitions. Most of the clashes between the ideologists were on the bases of ethics, morality, accessibility and limitation of freedom, and the power of few or more. The evolution of political ideology was accepting different forms and kinds. One of the political theorists that have tried to give an account for the relations between politics and ethics was Niccolo Machiavelli. During his lifetime and even now, he is considered as one of the extremist political theorists. The reason for this kind of thought was the morality that Machiavelli was bringing to political theory while tackling the questions of keeping the power, legitimate politics, religion vs. politics and morality of the ruler. In The Prince Machiavelli considers politics autonomously, as the independent area of human activity having its own purposes and the laws, which are not by any means bound by moral behavior, however, it would have been incorrect to consider political doctrine that he suggests as the sermon of immorality. Moral reasons In The Prince are always subordinated to the purposes of politics. ...read more.

Middle

The justifications of any executions must be properly made in order to avoid hatred. Machiavelli suggests that the prince should never confiscate the property or take the women of his subjects, which can lead against him. In army the cruelty is justified, and even inhuman cruelty is advised in order to keep the army disciplined and united. Even though the prince that honors his word is praised by others, Machiavelli insists that historically it can be realized that most success comes to the rulers when they can trick their words for their own favor. There are two ways in order to be able to this. The first one is by law, which is natural to humans, and the other is by force, which is natural to beasts. The successful prince is the one that can combine both or this fighting ways, so to speak he has to become half man and half beast. The prince becomes beast when uses force. There are also two types of beasts: foxes, and lions. 'One must be a fox in order to recognize traps and a lion to frighten off wolves and those who simply act like lions are stupid' (Machiavelli, N., The Prince, Penguin Classics, 1999, p. 57). Machiavelli suggests different techniques to different problems, as the prince will know the traps if he acts like fox, and frighten off wolves, if he acts like lion. ...read more.

Conclusion

A bad minister is the one that does everything for his own income rather than the princes. It is very important for the prince to maintain good control over his ministers, and acknowledge the ones that are loyal to him. The Prince has to convince everybody that they can talk to him whenever they want, but at the same time to avoid it, as it may lead to lose of self respect. He should take advices whenever he needs them, and definitely not when others try to make him listen. If somebody hides the truth from the prince, he must punish that person in order to give everybody a lesson. No matter how intelligent the princes' advisors are he himself has to be on control of the matters. If we conclude the political theory that Machiavelli is presenting us we can easily se that he is deriving this theory from the believes that all men are naturally deceitful, selfish, naive and untrustworthy, who are likely to break promises, even though they respect and praise virtue, but most do not possess it themselves. These assumptions about the basic behaviors and the attitudes of the population underlie most of Machiavelli's suggestions for the actions of princes. Although Machiavelli's conclusions may seem disturbing, if we consider contemporary society, we might conclude that little has changed since the era of The Prince, which is a very significant piece of political theory as it was first to differ ethics from politics. ...read more.

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