Philosophy questions and answers Plato and Hobbes , Machiavelli’s Socrates

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Questions and answers

  1. Discussing Plato and Hobbes

Plato is one of the philosophers whose works are of great historical significance in the fields of metaphysics, ethics and cosmology. Plato not only examined the world in its natural form but also in its philosophical association. Hobbes on the other hand is a modern political philosopher whose came up with the theory of social contract which is a method ensuring principles of politics are justified(Sheldon,2016).

Similarities between Pluto and Hobbes

  • To begin with, both are of the opinion that an authority with a stout figure is crucial towards maintaining control over a given nation.
  • Both Hobbes and Plato bears similar values for instance justice and courage
  •  They both agree that without appropriate guidance, men can move to a direction that benefits them individually. Therefore, there is need for a body that holds power to be set above the citizens who would otherwise deviate from set rules.
  • Both of them base their political philosophy on metaphysics and entology
  • Both consider a stronger ruler who is non-democratic to be of great value to the nation

The following are some of the differences between Plato and Hobbes

  • According to Pluto, men who do not follow set rules and seem to go their own direction is as a result of ignorance of what is considered to be good while according to Hobbes, it is because of their fear of control by one another and as a result of self-interest.
  • Pluto is of the opinion that a perfect leader is aware of what goodness entails while Hobbes consider a good ruler to be one who portrays total power
  • According to Plato, values are in themselves everlasting natures which need to grabbed by the mind while for Hobbes consider natural laws in relation to ideas to be everlasting
  • Also, according to Pluto ending a state is through the promotion of common good while Hobbes consider the end of a nation to be sensible.
  • For Hobbes men are taken to be machines while Pluto sees men as souls.

 In summary, the common principle expounds that Plato highly recommends that a state should be united as it helps in integration and coordination of activities in a society thus leading to justice. He also emphasizes on the elements that need to be put in place to make this become a reality and therefore according to him unity directly depend on safeguarding a state from of rigid differences as opposed to Hobbes. This indeed can help in striking balance when it comes to poverty and wealth thereby admitting that religion has a big role to play in the state’s context(Sheldon,2016).

  • Comparing and contrasting Machiavelli’s critique of the Christian god in the name of virtue with Socrates critique of the Homeric gods in the name of justice

To begin with, Machiavelli entirely disapproved Christianity. He was neither criticizing specific individuals nor   a specific sect but the whole Christian philosophy. His criticism was directed towards general Christian way of living as wells as Christian education(Ronald,1993). Machiavelli mainly condemned Christianity because the church led to disunity in Italy politically. He is in fact, sarcastic when he was of the opinion that anybody   of the proposing that anyone wishing to test the devastating effects of the Church, one need to have so much power that can send Roman court to Switzerland(Maurizio,2012).

 On the other hand, Machiavelli argues that Christianity has led to commotions globally by opposing ancient religion with miracles that are new. Machiavelli’s was mainly targeting the clergy. His idea of a state which is free and ruled by its citizens is maintained and that citizens should work freely and be in a position to access all the available institutions, thus defending the state’s sovereignty from the desires of its very own, princes, kings and dictators. He considered this a combined commitment to the public duties as well as a mutual good which is making states to become glorious and successful. Machiavellian philosophy on political powers is always characterized by the are by continuous form of rigidity as those who are on top positions pursue to oppress and control the majority whereas the majority make every effort towards the achievement of freedom from the few individuals. He adheres that he sees no meaning in persistent and constant state of tension as problematic issue but instead a basis of stability in politics.

Socrates criticism on Homeric gods is an evidence that one ought to be just for its own sake as opposed to what is taught by homer. An example is that Homer demonstrates the gods admitting evil and misfortune to people who are just and their counterparts a

different life making them to pay damages as a result of crimes made by their families by causing harm to their enemies with enrichments and curses. What makes Socrates to criticize the Homeric gods is as a result of wrong claims concerning the gods, dead people, spirits, heroes as well as the just(Naoko,2012). Socrates strongly condemns homer stories since they falsify the nature of the heroes and gods. According to him, stories about the dead, gods, as well as spirits are to inspire people to respect them and their parents as well as love and value one another. Therefore, Socrates recognizes the effectiveness of Homeric gods and the likely dangers it poses to people and that Homer is supposed to be appreciated for numerous things but not for his representations of the gods as accountable for either death or evil which causes fear(Mark,2010).

  • Discussing roles played by Socrates and Hobbes for a legitimate society

Legitimate society should be that where It is individual’s judgement is based on about the proper form of hierarchy existing between a ruler and the people being rule by taking into account commitments toward the ruling a society.

Socrates in book 4 argues that the intention is to making the entire city, as opposed to a specific class so as to ensure happiness to its full realization.  Socrates identified several measures to be put in place for example the gap between the poor and the rich should not be that wide as they can definitely lead to conflict socially. He is of the opinion that only limited method towards innovations be allowed in relation to changes made on law as well as education(Ilaria,2016). Additionally, Socrates claims that justice can only be relevant in a society when the virtues of courage, wisdom and self-control are put into practice where rulers should be wise enough in order to effectively and efficiently rule a state. Courage also is considered to ensure that there is no any form of fear within a states armed forces. Self-control in this context helps a society develop a structure that is just enough by identifying who is supposed to rule and the people to be governed through proper functionality. Socrates argued that if a party that is ruling by any mistake legislates, people will be forced perform in a contradicting manner in relation to justice through what is either considered right or wrong. He further argued that a good ruler should have the knowledge on how to rule effectively and also be somebody who has the capability of understanding what ruling entails. Therefore, according to him a good ruler should more often than not try every means possible to do good to the people being ruled instead of considering their own interest(Ilaria,2016).

According to Hobbes a legitimate government is one in which the government serve for a common good as well as enforcing a law that guides people but governments turn out to favor the strong as opposed to the week. Hobbes believed that people have no moral responsibilities outside their social convention where morality appears to be an element of ensuring that peace prevails in the society under total power of a given ruler (Carmichael,1990). Hobbes consider this advantage towards realizing ethical and political responsibilities. Matters of   political power and duty are indeed important for everyone and in the event ignoring the government, people might indulge into activities that can ultimately send them to prison.

  • Differences in addressing the human concern with the good according to Plato and Hobbes

A good society help in the production of good citizens who will on the other hand produce a good society while a bad society is likely to produce bad people who will again produce bad society.

Plato appears to avoid his personal perception that every humankind has a soul that is immortal and therefore there is need to take caution of it to the best of their ability. He also stresses the social characteristic of human beings since they ae not sufficient in themselves and therefore there is need for other people so as to benefit through socially interacting via friendship, abilities and other people’s talents.

Hobbes on the other hand is a well-known for his thoughts when it comes to politics. His dream of the world is extremely original and still important to modern politics. He was mainly concerned the social problems and order when it comes to politics, the way in which people can ensure peace by living together and avoiding the fear and danger as a result of civil war. He suggested that people should give their obedience to a strange sovereign or else it may result into a state of nature that nearly bear a resemblance to civil conflict. Hobbes is of the opinion that, what we are entitled to do is greatly influenced by circumstances under which people find themselves in. For example, where there is no political power, our vital right appears to be in saving our skins through available ways and where there is political power, our responsibility appears to be relatively honest in the name of respecting those in authority.

According to Hobbes, everyone has a right to do whatever he or she thinks can lead to self-defense. The most horrible thing that can happen to people is intense death caused by other people. Naturally, everyone has a right to live by preventing forceful death caused in one way or another. Hobbes continues to argue that people not only have the right to protect themselves but also the right to make right judgements that can lead to self-defense.

To conclude, Pluto and Hobbes are different in the point of view when it comes to matters that concerns human beings where according to Pluto for the realization of a good society, the people in the society should be as well be good and vice versa. Hobbes on his opinion, claims that a peaceful society is determined by confidence

  • Liberty is front and center in Locke’s portrayal of society; in Socrates’ city in speech, not so much. Why, and why not

Locke is among the best modern philosophers of politics known worldwide. In his opinion he argued that men naturally equal and free as opposed to those who claim that God naturally made everybody subject to a ruler. He further based his arguments that everyone has a right to live, own a property as well as a right to liberty which forms the basis for liberation of the laws in a given society(Mackpherson,1980).

Locke argues that human beings are born into freedom that is perfect as they exhibit freedom naturally. This is because one is free to do whatever he or she wants, whenever he or she wants, how they want it be done set within the boundary nature’s law. And because one is subjected nature’s law, ho or she is also subjected to laws of either the mother or the father. This makes one and his or her family become free in doing what they are pleased with as far as law of nature is concerned.

Therefore, freedom is the capability of one to order his or her life as bests suit him or her without violating another person’s natural rights(John,2014).

Socrates as a philosopher was unique in his ways and is still considered and remembered as a religious person. His main idea of philosophy was to comprehend outside world towards one innermost values. Socrates was of the idea that a state is supposed to be treasured whether decisions made are disagreed by few people by saying that people may perhaps not necessarily sign a contract in order to obey the set laws by their respective state but they are obliged to obey them through their consensus assumed by the law. He also strongly thought that if an individual chooses a sovereign authority to live in, through individualized benefits enable one to totally submit to these laws set by the state for its benefit (David & Kelly,2017).

He also had a belief people should obey the state but only if at all an authority that is legitimate is put in place.

Therefore, according to Lock in order to solve the issue one needs to come to an agreement with so long as they are in that particular state through obeying the set rules and regulations and that the government’s authority is for safeguarding rights of citizens in a given state.

Socrates on the other hand is of a different opinion where he considers a true city as one in which religious freedom prevails and it should neither be a normal ordinary irrational where gods are feared to an extent of bribing them nor a religion that is rationalistic that can clear in the most lavish state. Instead, a real city one which is happy religion as well as improving life of people.

  • The differences between Aristotle and Machiavelli Political struggles

Both Aristotle and Machiavelli give significantly different explanations when it comes to the life of politics. Basically Aristotle’s justification is the natural outlook within which man lives which is the foundation of systems of relationship, which means there is a chain of command where the state is at the top of the ladder and man which he accepts as true. Machiavelli on the other hand claims that instead of the existence of preset conditions naturally, with political it surrounds circumstances and outcome making him to see life as a way of ending instead of itself becoming an end as is seen by Aristotle.

In his view, Machiavellian consider political powers to be naturally confined in a never ending state of stiffness as only a few individuals at the topmost pursue to control and harass the majority, whereas the majority strive in the direction of the attaining freedom from a few people. He therefore takes this to be in itself makes politics become stable due to endless and constant state of rigidity becoming challenging.

  Aristotle classifies a government as either good or bad. He maintained that even a good government may perhaps change into a bad government. By this he reduces democracy to be a government’s system where those in power use authority to benefit themselves.

According to Aristotle an independent government creates a society that is very severely divided as the gap between the poor and the rich is so wide. This clearly indicates that Aristotle was not for the opinion of democracy. Contrary to this, Aristotle seemingly oppose a democratic system, but at some point he did not take it to be a bad idea instead he admits that system of democracy rules by favoring those in power. Aristotle expects those in power to rule by considering the interest of the people they are ruling so as to promote justice and value for every individual in the society through quality leadership.

As far as politics is concerned, Aristotle and Machiavelli came to differ where Aristotle pursued to ensure good life in the society whereas Machiavelli aimed at achieving and maintain authority under any circumstances.

Aristotle on the other the hand suggested that a constitution should be established for ensuring justice and equality while Machiavelli is of a contrary opinion because he opted for an establishment of a state having a strong leadership in order to realize stability and authority in a state.

Aristotle supposed that power should be entrusted to the people of middle- class because they have the capacity to of people was the most capable to rule a nation whereas Machiavelli maintained his idea that any form of power in a particular government need to be bestowed to one person who is able to defend, rule and protect the nation.

 Machiavelli came up with the idea that a leader is better off feared than being loved as a way of striking balance when it comes to power. Aristotle who is of a different opinion disagree with him and says that when citizens of a state become fearful towards their leader, it renders a nation no value and unhappy and also working in contradiction to the notion of diversity as people will be restrained from conveying a range of whatever is good to them(Miguelle,2013).

Aristotle and Machiavelli are of a similar opinion when they both come to an understanding that there exist three systems in a good government and that each of these individual forms of governance could degenerate into an equivalent form of corrupt governance. Machiavelli on the other hand protect rulers who prioritize their citizens in order to safeguard rule of law and identities them as rulers who are very ideal in their own capacity. Aristotle believed that any person in leadership has to consider the interest of people he or she rules by becoming a servant so as to ensure their mutual good.

Machiavelli and Aristotle are of a similar opinion when it comes to people’s freedom where Machiavelli argued that for a ruler to remain in authority, he or she is not supposed to   command them with regard to what they can either do or not.

Conversely, both of them are of a differing opinions as well. For instance, Machiavelli anticipates to protect and preserve a ruler’s power whereas Aristotle is aiming to protect the good of common people.

Lastly, both of them see the world in its natural status making them to approach it accordingly.

  • Fundamental differences concerning the origin and purpose of civil society

According to Aristotle, a civil society is a political communal of righteous citizens who are treated equally and are free. They should be assured willingly assured of advancement towards a common good by politically ruling themselves so as to safeguard their liberty to avoid chaos and both authoritarianism.

In book 3 of politics Aristotle argues that political power is to be distributed for the good of citizens. He mentioned Lycophron to compare a city with an association for common protection. Aristotle is of the opinion that the best type of equality, is a strategy set in such a way that those in power rule in the interest of everybody through the provision of a healthy nation governed by a structure which encourages the significance of justice and equality of its citizens. He further states, that the political structure of a successful democratic authority is influenced by the quality of its governance and individual meaning of common good(Mark,2017).

Aristotle on the other hand, assumed people who anticipate to be involved in governance and politics need adequate time so as to follow virtue above everything else, hence he appealed that these people are supposed to be well off in order afford to devote their time mainly for this duty.

According to Aristotle man is by nature considered a politician. He emphasizes that man who is unable to partner with others has no need to do so.

He strongly supports the tradition in politics property is considered private and is against shared ideals conveyed in political philosophy of Plato and strongly condemns this and consider it greed and self-centeredness. He further argued that because love for oneself and wealth is extremely fixed in the nature of human beings it is important to reasonable bind this powerful nature instead of just attempting to reject it.

Civil society therefore plays an important part in directing the parties concerned to come up decisions that are considered just and whatever is good or bad is considered moral (Marty, 2010).

To summarize this, Hobbes asserts that he establishes philosophy of politics should be based on citizens. He links this notion with an opinion that society which belongs to human is only achievable through common goal as well as aspiration of relationship only meant for it. Hobbes is positively choosing to interpret the views of Aristotle in an extremely strange manner.

Lastly, Hobbes total disagree with Aristotle since he is concerned with the human nature as opposed to what can really motivate human beings in but rather the name of politics. Aristotle on the other hand appealed for a state to be ruled by the middle class that is people who are expected to struggle for fairness and equality. This can only be achieved through individualized ambitions. He also argued that power needs to be executed for the common interest where everyone is involved.

  • Contrasting Aristotle’s treatment of slavery with Locke’s 

Slavery is a subject that has overwhelmed several societies for many years. Nearly each continent of the world has experienced slavery in one way or another which has had impact on the lives of lots of people globally. Slavery philosophy and notion is an area of concern to many philosophers.

Aristotle being one of the renowned philosophers, he spent a lot of effort and time with matters related to slavery which are relatively controversial more in the society of today.

Locke’s debate about slavery considered socially acceptable and realistic. He only believed that slavery prevails only in a nation of warfare where the conqueror overthrows people who are unfair thereby owning the life of an individual. Nevertheless, the conqueror ultimately makes the conquered slaves and not killing them thereby leading to slavery. Locke considered this the worst state. opposition to authoritarianism. Both Aristotle and Locke consider slavery to be unfair(James,2008).

 Aristotle argues that slavery is just and useful for both the owner and the slave especially when the slave has no capability to be thoughtful. He also adds that some people are unable to deliberate naturally. Through this some people who are held captive but are still valuable and just. Thus the enslaved who lack the ability to deliberate are justly enslaved. His justification of slavery clearly indicates the way in which people considered to be brilliant may as well become unsuccessful when it comes to examining their own views and norms of a society. He claims that such individuals can come to understand others through their reasoning capability and instead totally lack the capability for balanced deliberation. This type of individual is considered a slave by nature(Malcolm,2008).

Aristotle continues to argue that these kind of people needs to be guided by individuals who are in a position to deliberate logically. Aristotle consider owning these kind of persons in the society as just. But somebody who is incapable consider slavery to be useful.

Lockes on the other hand had two concepts of slavery where one is genuine slavery since the involuntary labor was forced on slaves by the people won in a battle and the second one is illegal slavery where there exists a dictatorial denial of natural privileges.

In conclusion, Locke through his opinion consider slavery to be free from arbitration. Hence it is difficult a person to voluntarily involve in slavery but it is only possible through conflicts between legally accepted conqueror and the enslaved who definitely has no choice but to simply obey(Marty,2010).

  Naturally, in a society where there is no power it is the mandate of people to defend themselves by reporting to one specific authority to resolve their disputes. According to Locke therefore, everyone is entitled to liberty unlike Aristotle who argues that so long as one is unable to deliberate then such a person is rightfully enslaved. He is of the opinion that people should be wise enough so that they may not be willingly or unwillingly become slaves. As a matter of fact, this totally disputes the ideology of Aristotle.

References

Beiner, R. (1993). Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Rousseau on civil religion. The Review of Politics, 617-638.

Boucher, D., & Kelly, P. (Eds.). (2017). Political thinkers: from Socrates to the present. Oxford University Press.

Carmichael, D. J. C. (1990). Hobbes on Natural Right in Society: The” Leviathan” Account. Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique, 3-21.

Farr, J. (2008). Locke, natural law, and new world slavery. Political Theory36(4), 495-522.

Heath, M. (2008). Aristotle on natural slavery. Phronesis53(3), 243-270.

Macpherson, C. B. (1980). Second Treatise of Government.

McPherran, M. L. (2010). Religion of Socrates. Penn State Press

Ramelli, I. (2016). Social justice and the legitimacy of slavery: The role of philosophical asceticism from ancient Judaism to late antiquity. Oxford University Press.

Simmons, A. J. (2014). On the edge of anarchy: Locke, consent, and the limits of society (Vol. 275). Princeton University Press.

Sulek, M. (2010). Civil Society Theory: Aristotle. Scientist42, 5-20.

Vatter, M. (2013). Between form and event: Machiavelli’s theory of political freedom (Vol. 2). Springer Science & Business Media.

Viroli, M. (2012). Machiavelli’s God. Princeton University Press.

Wolin, S. S. H. (2016). Hobbes and the epic tradition of political theory (pp. 117-148). Princeton University Press.

Yamagata, N. (2012). Use of Homeric references in Plato and Xenophon. The Classical Quarterly62(1), 130-144.

Young, M. A. (2017). Negotiating the good life: Aristotle and the civil society. Taylor & Francis.

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