Compare Purpose of a State in Ancient Greek Philosophy and Machiavelli’s Political Thought

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Compare purpose of a state in ancient Greek philosophy and Machiavelli’s political thought

Introduction
What is a state? In different times in different places different people understood the meaning of this word in a different way. Definition for this term was being gathered for ages modifying and evaluating as the times went by (already since the times of Ancient Greece (beginning ~1000 BC)). It can be explained by differences in level of knowledge people had, political situation, and “moods” which privileged in public. What is the purpose of a state? This question lies in the bases of a “state” conception and answer to it can be evaluated out of the history of this term.

So, as it was said before, the state and the purpose of a state were understood differently by different people in different times. In this essay I am going to review understanding and explanations of the “purpose of a state” in general, and compare thoughts of Ancient Greece philosophers (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle) to ones of the Italian political philosopher of XV-XVI centuries – Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, simultaneously comparing understanding of a “state” and “a purpose of a state” of two different time periods and two different nations in order to make a conclusion of what is a common principle all states are or should base on.

Appearance of a “state”
From the very beginning every person is born free, with his basic needs and abilities. In ancient times, when there still was no such conception as state or government each person was a separate, independent unit. Each one controlled his own actions and produced everything he needed with his own hands. Each man was his own police, judge and jury which was very taxing on his time and energy. (Locke, 2005) So, how did humans come from being separate sovereign entities to form a government? Why would one give up his autonomy and a right to make final decisions to someone else?

First of all, there comes one of



References: Hooker, R. (1996) Ancient Greece: The Archaic Period: 800-500 B.C. Available: http://wsu.edu/~dee/GREECE/ARCHAIC.HTM, 21.october Locke, J Miller, F. (2002) Aristotle 's Political Theory. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Available: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-politics/, 21.october 2008 Nederman, C

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