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Thomas Hobbes' The Leviathan, chapter 13 and NiccolÒ Machiav

The significant political issues that arise when looking at Thomas Hobbes' The Leviathan, chapter 13 and NiccolÒ Machiavelli's The Prince, chapter 9

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Thomas Hobbes and NiccolÒ Machiavelli, both modern philosophers, cover in-depth political outcomes as well as give a detailed account of how human nature differs and its relationship to politics. In the course of their work Hobbes and Machiavelli incline towards the same conclusion that what is viewed as "just" or "unjust" are mere abstract notions that exist only because of perceptions and consequences. However, each author resorts to dissimilar approaches in amplifying how human nature differs. Machiavelli, in chapter 9 of The Prince, views society as comprising of "opposed classes - the "elite" and the "populace". The system to how things work in this society is that, on one hand, the populace does not want to be ordered around by the elite while on the other hand, the elite want to order about and oppress the populace. Machiavelli argues that "the conflict between these two irreconcilable ambitions has in each city one of three consequences: rule by one man, liberty, or anarchy" (P 9.31).

In contrast, Hobbes views the nature of society as "solitary" and characterized by a need to enter an agreement to experience law and order. According to Hobbes "nature has made men so equal in the faculties of body and mind" (L 13. 13). In his subtle view of society as an equal system Hobbes asserts that "when all is reckoned together the difference between man and man is not considerable that as one man can thereupon claim to himself any benefit to which another may not pretend as well as he" (L13.13). The picture Hobbes paints in chapter 13 of The Leviathan is of a society with no virtues because from the equality of ability arise the quality of hope in attaining of ends, and the desire for each man to enjoy the same thing which inevitably leads to enemity. Hobbes adds on that without a common power to keep all men in awe, they are in a condition of war - every man against every man. In conclusion he point outs that "so that in the nature of man, we find three principal causes of quarrel. First, competition; secondly, diffidence: thirdly, glory" (L 13.14).

Because of the divergent views on the nature of ...

Solution Summary

Thomas Hobbes and NiccolÒ Machiavelli, both modern philosophers, cover in-depth political outcomes as well as give a detailed account of how human nature differs and its relationship to politics. In the course of their work Hobbes and Machiavelli incline towards the same conclusion that what is viewed as "just" or "unjust" are mere abstract notions that exist only because of perceptions and consequences. However, each author resorts to dissimilar approaches in amplifying how human nature differs. Machiavelli, in chapter 9 of The Prince, views society as comprising of "opposed classes - the "elite" and the "populace". The system to how things work in this society is that, on one hand, the populace does not want to be ordered around by the elite while on the other hand, the elite want to order about and oppress the populace. Machiavelli argues that "the conflict between these two irreconcilable ambitions has in each city one of three consequences: rule by one man, liberty, or anarchy" (P 9.31).

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