Short Paper 1
How do Aristotle and Machiavelli understand the relation between politics and ethics?
Aristotle and Machiavelli developed guiding principles in regards to politics. The political goals of both philosophers differentiated substantially. Aristotle’s goal of politics is to achieve a sustainable good life for citizens to prosper. On the other hand, Machiavelli believes in dominance of power and the security of the state. For Aristotle, ethics and politics are closely related. Ethics aims at the supreme good of the individual while politics aims at the public good. On the other hand, Machiavelli believes that use of cruel violence is necessary for a ruler to maintain power of the state. In the eyes of Machiavelli, a successful ruler cannot be a virtuous person. If they are, they cannot carry out the wicked tasks necessary to rule. What separates Aristotle and Machiavelli’s philosophies are the ethics used for the political outcome of the citizens along with their contributions to the state.
Aristotle firmly believes that citizens are the most important contributors to a society’s success and that by nature; man is a political animal. And while it is important for man to prosper and contribute in politics, the overall good is really for the sake of the community. Machiavelli’s view on the citizen is that they should play no part in contributing to politics. Instead, he believes that citizens should live their daily lives and leave the ruling to the rulers. However, both would agree that the consent of the people is a necessity if a leader wishes to be successful.
For Aristotle’s, resolving the issues of the people would come naturally. The Polis would verbalize frustrations and solutions would be made aware to leaders. Machiavelli also agrees that the consent of citizens is essential, “As you will not be able to fulfill their expectations, nor can you use strong measures with them…however strong your armies may be, you will always need the...