Thomas Hobbes and Niccolo Machiavelli: A Comparison David GardnerSep 1views This content was written by a student and assessed as part of a university degree.
Machiavelli writes from a realistic perspective with no fantasies about men and human nature. While the two share ideas on human nature, the state of nature, and how religion is incorporated into secular rule, their ideas differ when it comes to types of government, self-preservation, and war.
Machiavelli greatly influenced Hobbes, especially on the views of the state of nature. Hobbes argues that all men are born equal and even the weak are able to kill the strong in his state of nature.
However, from the vulnerable state of war comes a necessity to seek peace and establish the compact which is the state. Each philosopher states that man must do whatever is necessary for survival.
Because humans essentially want the same things, according to Hobbes, they will deceive and manipulate in order to attain their desires. Men are driven by their passions and human reason is the means by which men attempt to slake their passions.
In The Prince, Machiavelli writes about how the ruler or prince will appear to take action for the good of the people but in reality is only acting on his own selfish behalf.
He writes that Men in general judge more by their eyes than their hands….
Everyone sees how you appear, few touch what you are; and these few dare not oppose the opinions of many… So let a prince win and maintain his state: Though Machiavelli offers ideas on how a ruler should lead in The Prince, his actual thoughts on political philosophy lie in The Discourses, in which he advocates for a republic.
Hobbes advocates for an absolute sovereign or absolute government. Machiavelli argues that power and violence are central to politics.
He does note in The Discourses, however, that it is morally repugnant to any community to do employ such methods. Similar to Machiavelli, Hobbes argues that the government must use both force and fear to maintain and structure order in the state.
He proceeds to call for a strong absolute government that determines what is just and unjust through a process called legal positivism. Machiavelli writes of the prince having absolute power and doing what he wishes to meet his own goals.
He also concludes that the prince should rule on two levels: By using both, the prince can maintain his power and make effective his rule.
Similarly, Hobbes notes that the government should use both the sword physical force and fear the law to ensure its role in and over society. Machiavelli, though an atheist, wrote that the prince must appear to be concerned with the faith of his subjects to appease them though he may not agree with the religion or make decisions based upon it.
Rather, he argues, the prince must judge each situation as it presents itself. Morals, in these cases, are judged based upon their usefulness in the situation. If a person fears God more than his ruler, then he will follow the religious rules set forth by his religion as opposed to the laws set forth by the sovereign.
Ergo, Hobbes argues that religion must be incorporated into secular law in order to prevent disobedience. Each philosopher argues that the people place their trust and desires for self-preservation in the government.
Hobbes proclaims that the people choose a sovereign through a compact, which he calls a covenant, and Machiavelli states that the people choose a representative for them in a republic.
There is an exception though: Machiavelli calls for a republic based on popular power and consent. The power in his republic is derived from the people for the interests of the people.
They are to choose a representative who embellishes their beliefs; however, this representative should truly act upon their interests and not upon his own. Machiavelli and Hobbes also have differing views on fighting in wars. Machiavelli writes that if the people who were to fight were united for a cause, primarily to protect their own land, which they loved, they would fight to the death for their state.
He does preach, though, that war should be avoided at all costs because of the sacrifices that will be made during wartime. The argument Hobbes makes is that if a man is fearful enough of his sovereign, then he will fight for the sovereign. Hobbes continues that if a man enlists in the army, then he is obliged to go into battle and not to leave unless his commanding officer permits such.
Neither is wrong in his way of thinking, and their influence has stretched far along the course of the human race.Thomas Hobbes and Machiavelli shared a commonality in the time period in which they each lived.
Separated by approximately years, both thinkers were focusing on political theory. Hobbes’ theory tended to focus on the social contract between a people and its government. Another stark difference between Machiavelli and Hobbes is their opinions on the desirability of internal discord.
Machiavelli believed that internal unrest, under certain conditions, can lead to improvements of the institutions that function to check the power of various factions (92). the views of Niccolo Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, who are usually listed in chronological order as the founders of modern political thought, on the question of morality or more specifically on the relationship between politics and morality.
"Difference Between Thomas Hobbes And Machiavelli" Essays and Research Papers Difference Between Thomas Hobbes And Machiavelli Thomas Hobbes, the son of an English vicar in the late 16th Century, approaches the questions of politics and human nature in a unique way, but there are definite similarities between his work and the work of earlier philosophers.
The first comparison I feel relevant between Hobbes and Machiavelli is the difference in methods employed by each of these realists. Firstly, Hobbes was a scholar, whose aim was to put politics onto a scientific footing; he therefore employed a strict logical approach to his work.
Machiavelli and Hobbes Political Power 1 Machiavelli and Hobbes share a similar Analysis of Political Power. Discuss Anurag Gangal Professor and Head of Department, Political Science and Director, Gandhian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of .