Liberal Arts Studies - Essay Example

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Machiavellian Ethics Unlike Cicero, Machiavelli could accurately be described as a realist and not an idealist. He believed that without using cunning and deceit one could easily fall from power. The focus of “The Prince” is how to achieve and maintain power…
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Machiavellian Ethics Unlike Cicero, Machiavelli could accurately be described as a realist and not an idealist. He believed that without using cunning and deceit one could easily fall from power. The focus of “The Prince” is how to achieve and maintain power. He writes that the best ventures are those that will bring the most rewards. He also says that a Prince should keep their word only if it is to their benefit to do so and that the illusion of keeping one’s word is just as effective as actually keeping it. His views have more to do with how one is perceived as opposed to how thing really are. As a result, morality and immorality is not as black and white as Cicero sees it. In a society where there is a lot of crime and strife, Machiavelli’s views could be seen as both ethical and practical. If a large majority of the people are immoral, it would seem that the moral minority would be constantly taken advantage of. Therefore, people may justify that in order to merely survive; a person must be willing to take advantage of those that would constantly take advantage of them. Morality is bended all the time in real life. Much of this bending is a result of a desire for money, influence, power, and fame. A professional usually won’t tell a big lie but will often tell what are known as little “white lies.” These lies are prevalent in business and society in general. Cicero would argue that a true professional would never bend their personal morality for gain, although he does argue for the importance of self-interest as long as it doesn’t harm others. In this sense, one could justify telling a “white lie” as long as it doesn’t harm anyone. Machiavelli would view this behavior as ethical because he feels it is more realistic. Unlike Cicero, Machiavelli would say that the ends do indeed justify the means and that if someone is able to gain and maintain power the means they used to do it are justified. Personally, I would tend to side with Cicero and say that ends justify the means only if those means are honest and moral. Although I feel that nobody is 100% honest and moral at all times, being as honest and as moral as you possibly can does provide the best overall benefit for society. Works Cited Cicero, Marcus Tullius. On Duties. 44 B.C. Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince. 1532. Read More
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Liberal Arts Studies

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