POL102-13020136 - Taqi 1 M.Abbas Taqi 2013-02-0136 POL 102:...

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Taqi M.Abbas Taqi 2013-02-0136 POL 102: Western Political Philosophy Richard Ganis 3- Some political philosophers insist that power is a salient and inherent aspect of politics, while others maintain that power is a hindrance to political life, in that it forestalls the capacity of political actors to reason and act morally. Please discuss and critically evaluate this debate in relation to the arguments of your three selected authors. Power is one of the most elemental concepts within political philosophy; the relationship between power and morality has been debated by philosophers and theorists for centuries. This essay will attempt to examine this contest in light of the views of three highly influential philosophers: Niccolo Machiavelli, Immanuel Kant, and Karl Marx. By the end a conclusion will have been reached on how these philosophers view this debate, and how much they differ in that view. The first subject of analysis is Machiavelli. Whenever the word “power” is analyzed within political theory it cannot be substantiated upon without considering this Italian political philosopher. Machiavelli took a rather straightforward view regarding the question of power: achieving power is the most important political aim of all, simply because it is the best way to sustain ones rule. Ultimately the telos for Machiavelli is to gain the political objective of power. Indeed, what else is “The Prince” other than a no-nonsense, pragmatic approach to gain and manipulate power in order to maintain ones rule. The political actor in the Machiavellian world is only in pursuit of his self interest which is acquiring power. Even a brief glimpse at the chapters comprising “The Prince” can illuminate this-each chapter laden with instructions on how to capture and sustain power to ensure the “prince’s” rule. For 1
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Taqi instance chapter five of “The Prince” advises on how best to hold rule and power over “cities or dominions that…lived under their own laws”. In chapter seven Machiavelli again reiterates this stance by praising the duke Cesare Borgia because he managed to “secure himself against enemies, to gain friends, to conquer by force or fraud…” It was clear for Machiavelli however that political power had absolutely no relation with the concept of morality or ethics as it was understood at the time; moral claims were not a part of his objectives. It did not matter whether the decision taken satisfied a moral requisite even if it actually did, sustaining ones power was the ultimate and the principal aim. Furthermore any inclination towards a moral disposition was simply not sufficient for ones main aim of acquiring and maintaining power. Indeed if it requires being cruel and ruthless to achieve that aim, then that
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POL102-13020136 - Taqi 1 M.Abbas Taqi 2013-02-0136 POL 102:...

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