Both philosophers, by using contrasting arguments and ideas, set out to show us "how to live" in society. Socrates was an idealist, and Machiavelli was a pragmatic realist. I will discuss whether it is in fact it is true that philosophy or theory has anything of value to offer in the conduct of politics. Socrates' argument is that philosophy has something of value to politics, but Machiavelli does not completely agree.
The writings and thoughts of Socrates and Machiavelli outline a deeper sense of political activity for philosophers. Socrates did not write down his thoughts, but his ideas have been declared through the writings of Plato and other philosophers. Thus it is often difficult to identify which ideas belong to Socrates and which belong to Plato. Whether recognised as rulers or not, philosophers, by determining through philosophical activity what the highest values are, are in fact directing the politics of the society of which they are a part. "Philosophy, I said, tempered with music, who comes and takes her abode in a man, and is the only saviour of his virtue throughout life." Thus philosophy and politics are inherently linked and when philosophy takes place in the public realm, politics is understood as the ruling values of a society.
Socrates did not approve of tyranny or of democracy. He believed that the best form of government was one ruled by an individual possessing the most capability, wisdom and virtue. Socrates was an idealist, identified as one of the first political scientists, due to his investigation into political systems. Niccoló Machiavelli and Socrates were separated by major changes in government, society and philosophy that took place in the time between Ancient Greece and the Italian Renaissance. Far from being based on an idyllic society, the political philosophy of Machiavelli, whose name has passed into modern vocabulary as a synonym for ruthless power- was built on his observation of what worked efficiently in the real world. Starting from two entirely diverse ideas, the conclusions of Socrates and Machiavelli are naturally different.
Socrates attitude toward politics was obedience, but he believed that he had received a call to pursue philosophy and convince the Athenians to engage in self-examination and in tending to their souls. Our best sources of information about Socrates' philosophical views are the early dialogues of his student Plato, including some of Socrates' ideals in 'The Apology.' Founded on the basis of rational intellect, Socratic ideas depend on the idea that philosophy is universal; that logical people would arrive at his conclusions and present no objections. Socrates' ideal was a class-based society, with the ruling class bred and dedicated to government, and the working class likewise born to the remaining functions of society. Power lay with the ruling class, and was protected by a subclass of guardians whose function was state defence.
Through the writings of Plato, Socrates suggests that he wanted to get away from the idea that government could only be formed through "fear and faith, indolence and improvisation" Instead there is the unprecedented suggestion that the political functions of a