Keywords: Political Corruption; Decadence; Philia; Gift.
This essay proposes some routes of philosophical semantics on the issue of political corruption. Corruption is often recognized as vague and extraordinarily difficult to define, being intertwined not only with the history of political morality, but also with the images of decay and degeneration and with trust, friendship and gift. Over the centuries, the conceptual pair perfection/corruption has been certainly dominant. The essay discusses whether the ancient's interest in corruption is significantly different from that of the modern's, considering the functionalist and modern interpretation of corruption, which is exemplified by Bernard Mandeville's "Fable of the Bees" and is opposed to the moralistic one, as politically intriguing and disturbing.