Compare And Contrast Aristotle And Machiavelli's Definition Of Politics

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Introduction The question of what politics is has been a hotly debated topic around the world for more than two thousand years, from Ancient Greece to the 21st Century. Indeed, many philosophers including Aristotle, Dahl, Leach and Machiavelli, discussed their definitions of ‘politics’, with widely differing conclusions. However, despite the extensive debate, there is still no universally accepted definition of what politics is, let alone what it should be. Despite more contemporary efforts to define what politics is, these definitions can be called into question and requires much more diverse perspectives to define. This essay will draw upon, and contrast, the philosophical ideas of Aristotle and Machiavelli, to discuss what politics is, and furthermore, discuss how it should be.…show more content…
These ideas of Machiavelli are shown in his text ‘The Prince’. His view on politics strongly influenced the ideas of English political philosopher Thomas Hobbes (Sullivan, 2004). In Hobbes’ book ‘Leviathan’ he further claims that politics is based upon self-interest; that is inevitable to avoid conflicts. Both Machiavelli and Hobbes thought that politics is about power and self-interest. These two prominent philosophers well explain what politics is and they may define the most appropriate definition of politics in the 21st century. Furthermore, it is likely that many people agree with their ideas. However, As Leach (2008) noted: “Defining politics turns out to be far from straight forward” (p. 7). Indeed, a definition of politics is largely based upon an individual’s culture and entirely subjective. An understanding of the history and origins of politics helps us to understand how there can be so many different definitions and understandings of politics around the globe. As we are about to discuss what politics should be, it is important to note the philosophical thoughts of

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