Political Philosophy Essay

1768 words - 8 pages

In the essay on "Political Philosophy" the views of Plato, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Herbert Marcuse were shared to answer the question, "Who should rule the society?". The "who" in question doesn't specifically refer to one person, but more a "group of persons or kind of persons that ought to exercise authority over others, and what goals they ought to attempt to achieve in doing so."# There are four main issues in this essay that are elaborated on to answer the question of who should rule the society they are: (1)those concerning the nature of man, (2)degree to which society is possible-the living together of men in some organized ...view middle of the document...

In book two, Confucius begins by making a comparison of the rule of virtue to the Pole Star, which commands that many stars stay put, without ever leaving its place. He then goes on to say, "Guide them by edicts, keep them in line with punishments, and the common people will stay out of trouble but will have no sense of shame. Guide them with virtue, keep them in line with rites, and they will, besides having a sense of shame, will reform themselves."# By this you see that virtue is taken more prestigious than laws are to Confucius, and instead of having punishments have rites, much like the commandments. This is said to let people feel shame and then reform themselves. By just using laws and punishments, no one would feel shame thus never reforming themselves. They would just get in trouble and take the punishment. This statement could go hand in hand with Hobbes' "civil society", where men abide by a certain set of rules, in this case the rites, that explain the proper conduct. Just as commandments tell Christians what is right and wrong and how we should act, the rites form the same kind of boundaries in human behavior. Confucius also adds the significance of the rites in book three, "The ruler should employ the services of his subjects in accordance with the rites. A subject should serve his ruler by doing his best."# Following the rites is all that the citizens have to do to be virtuous, that is all Confucius would ask of his subjects.When asked by Duke Ai how to get the common people to look up to him, Confucius responded, "Raise the straight and set them over the crooked and the common people will look up to you. Raise the crooked and set them over the straight and the common people will not look up to you."# Again this goes back to being respectful and trustworthy as Plato thought would be an ideal rulers characteristics. By raising the straight Confucius means the noble, honest, respectable citizens and by the crooked he means dishonest, fake, and people only caring for their own welfare. By recognizing the straight and holding them in higher regard than the crooked, it gains the trust and respect of the citizens in which you rule. Confucius adds in that conversation that one should rule over citizens with dignity and they will respect you, to treat them with kindness, and instruct the ones who are going down the wrong path and they will learn what is right for them.In book seven Confucius states, " I instruct under four heads: culture, moral conduct, doing one's best, and being trustworthy in what one says."# This again goes hand in hand with Plato's theory of justice and honesty being two crucial elements to govern a society. As Plato combines political epistemology and moral considerations, so does Confucius. Plato states, "A society ruled by those who have knowledge will be both just and happy."# Confucius is widely known as one of the most knowledgeable political figures in China, so Plato's conclusion makes sense, for Confucius...

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