Comparing Machiavelli And Hobbes

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The Renaissance was a time period filled to the brim with intellectual, creative and learned people who have indeed shaped the world of philosophy into what is today. Two of the Renaissance’s, and possibly history’s, most influential philosophers are Italian born Niccolo Machiavelli and English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, each of whom have both conflicting and shared beliefs. Machiavelli views mankind as a body of inherently bad beings, while Hobbes believes that men are neither inherently good or bad, but that in a state of nature men are very selfish and greedy, only looking out for themselves. Each of the two philosophers views human nature differently. Machiavelli’s philosophy about the nature of man is that man as a whole is mostly bad and while retaining a few good qualities will lean towards his own self-interests when all things are equal; “that man has qualities that will bring him either praise or blame”. He also portrays men as selfish and fickle creatures as he writes, “..this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous..”. Hobbes on the other hand, views men in a “state of nature” as being completely self-centered and willing to do anything to get what they want; mankind lives in a dog-eat-dog world where everyone looks after only themselves and has no regard for others. Hobbes describes this self-centered way of life as being "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." He also shows men as incapable of conserving or prolonging their life without living under a ruling body, “augmentation of dominion over men being necessary to a man's conservation, it ought to be allowed him.” It is evident that both Machiavelli and Hobbes’ views of man greatly influence the way they think that man should be controlled. Machiavelli believes that man should be lead by a ruler who is manipulative and inspires fear
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