paper 1 - Legacy 0 Socrates: Philosopher or Politician? An...

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Legacy 1 Socrates: Philosopher or Politician? An analysis of Machiavelli’s “Prince” regarding whether Socrates was or should have been involved in politics Danielle Legacy
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Danielle Legacy 29 February 2008 E. Clayton PSC275 Socrates: Philosopher or Politician? The definition of a politician changed greatly between the era of Socrates and that of Machiavelli. In Socrates’ time, someone who was involved in politics worried about many of the same things politicians campaign about today in America: road conditions, taxation, and foreign affairs. Granted, the way in which things were decided was much different, but the topics were sometimes similar. Moving across time and Europe to Machiavelli, politicians as we know them did not exist. The democracy of Athens did not exist in Machiavelli’s Italy – instead, states were typically ruled exclusively by one man. Machiavelli without a doubt was engaged in politics. Although he never ruled, his book “The Prince” set out guidelines showing exactly what a ruler should do to be successful. Specific to his time and place, “The Prince” nonetheless became a timeless book of philosophy, widely scrutinized and often imitated in unusual places such as the boardroom or even bedroom! On the other hand, Socrates was a philosopher first, and engaged in politics rarely if ever, and never directly. He was not a citizen of Athens, and therefore could not vote nor participate in juries or other political proceedings. However, many would argue he was in fact engaging in politics simply by speaking his mind and affecting those who were politically active. I, however, disagree; as would Machiavelli. Just because a man or woman happens to influence others does
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Legacy 3 not mean that they themselves are doing anything. Socrates was not a politician, nor should he have been as he was more effective and influential as a philosopher. In Plato’s “Apology of Socrates”, Plato notes Socrates as saying “if someone who really fights for the just is going to preserve himself…it is necessary…to lead a private…life” (Plato, 32a). This is Socrates first-handedly telling that he was never – nor would ever be – involved in
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This note was uploaded on 08/06/2008 for the course PSC 275 taught by Professor C during the Spring '08 term at Central Mich..

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paper 1 - Legacy 0 Socrates: Philosopher or Politician? An...

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