Niccolò Machiavelli—Adviser of Princes

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Canadian Journal of Philosophy/Taylor & Francis


In Plato's Republic, Socrates argued that true artisans work not in their own interest but for the good of that upon which they practice their art. So the true ruler is one who works for the good of the city or the citizens, not the ruler's own self-interest.2 Many would hold, with Leo Strauss, that Machiavelli contends the very opposite - that for him the true prince ruthlessly seeks self-interest and personal power.3 I think this is too simple a reading of Machiavelli.