Machiavellis Political Philosophy

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Machiavellis Political Philosophy



In: The Guardian. Machiavelli's name came to evoke unscrupulous And Prosperity of parsons sick role model sort he advised most famously in his work, The Prince. Why The 1950s Was A Time Of Peace a necessary distinction must be made between these two figures. Machiavellis Political Philosophy Januar

Machiavelli - The Rulers vs The Ruled and the Struggle for Power

Erlangen , ISBN Naomi Oreskes , Erik M. Heads in the Sand. Earthscan, , ISBN Februar In: Frontal Koalition der Klimawandelleugner. In: Spiegel Online. Januar Kelly Crowe: How 'organized climate change denial' shapes public opinion on global warming. In: CBC News. September Amy Westerveld: How the fossil fuel industry got the media to think climate change was debatable. In: Washington Post. In: Die Zeit. Dezember November Patrick Illinger : Bericht aus dem Zentrum des Zweifels. In: American Sociological Review. Band 75 , Nr. In: Science. Band , Nr. Michael E. Erlangen , S. Stern: Sociology. Impacts on climate change views. In: Nature Climate Change. Band 6 , , S. In: American Behavioral Scientist. Band 57 , Nr.

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Band 77 , Nr. Boykoff, Jules M. Boykoff: Balance as bias: global warming and the US prestige press. Band 14 , , S. Conway : Die Machiavellis der Wissenschaft. Das Netzwerk des Leugnens. Band 51 , Nr. Band 42 , , S. The journalism of opinion at News Corporation. In the first decade of the sixteenth century, he carried out several diplomatic missions, most notably to the Papacy in Rome. Florence sent him to Pistoia to pacify the leaders of two opposing factions which had broken into riots in and ; when this failed, the leaders were banished from the city, a strategy which Machiavelli had favored from the outset. At the start of the 16th century, Machiavelli conceived of a militia for Florence, and he then began recruiting and creating it.

By February he was able to have marching on parade four hundred farmers, suited including iron breastplates , and armed with lances and small fire arms. Machiavelli's success did not last. The experience would, like Machiavelli's time in foreign courts and with the Borgia, heavily influence his political writings. The Florentine city-state and the republic were dissolved, and Machiavelli was deprived of office and banished from the city for a year. Machiavelli then retired to his farm estate at Sant'Andrea in Percussina , near San Casciano in Val di Pesa , where he devoted himself to studying and writing his political treatises. He visited places in France, Germany, and Italy where he had represented the Florentine republic.

Politics remained his main passion and, to satisfy this interest, he maintained a well-known correspondence with more politically connected friends, attempting to become involved once again in political life. When evening comes, I go back home, and go to my study. On the threshold, I take off my work clothes, covered in mud and filth, and I put on the clothes an ambassador would wear. Decently dressed, I enter the ancient courts of rulers who have long since died. There, I am warmly welcomed, and I feed on the only food I find nourishing and was born to savour. I am not ashamed to talk to them and ask them to explain their actions and they, out of kindness, answer me. Four hours go by without my feeling any anxiety. I forget every worry.

I am no longer afraid of poverty or frightened of death. I live entirely through them. Machiavelli died on 21 June at the age of 58 after receiving his last rites. An epitaph honouring him is inscribed on his monument. Machiavelli's best-known book Il Principe contains several maxims concerning politics. Instead of the more traditional target audience of a hereditary prince, it concentrates on the possibility of a "new prince". To retain power, the hereditary prince must carefully balance the interests of a variety of institutions to which the people are accustomed. Machiavelli suggests that the social benefits of stability and security can be achieved in the face of moral corruption.

Machiavelli believed that public and private morality had to be understood as two different things in order to rule well. Machiavelli believed that, for a ruler, it was better to be widely feared than to be greatly loved; a loved ruler retains authority by obligation, while a feared leader rules by fear of punishment. Scholars often note that Machiavelli glorifies instrumentality in state building, an approach embodied by the saying, often attributed to interpretations of The Prince , " The ends justify the means ".

Force may be used to eliminate political rivals, to destroy resistant populations, and to purge the community of other men strong enough of a character to rule, who will inevitably attempt to replace the ruler. Due to the treatise's controversial analysis on politics, the Catholic Church banned The Prince , putting it on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. Humanists also viewed the book negatively, including Erasmus of Rotterdam. As a treatise, its primary intellectual contribution to the history of political thought is the fundamental break between political realism and political idealism , due to it being a manual on acquiring and keeping political power.

In contrast with Plato and Aristotle , Machiavelli insisted that an imaginary ideal society is not a model by which a prince should orient himself. Concerning the differences and similarities in Machiavelli's advice to ruthless and tyrannical princes in The Prince and his more republican exhortations in Discourses on Livy , few assert that The Prince , although written as advice for a monarchical prince, contains arguments for the superiority of republican regimes, similar to those found in the Discourses. In the 18th century, the work was even called a satire , for example by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Scholars such as Leo Strauss and Harvey Mansfield have stated that sections of The Prince and his other works have deliberately esoteric statements throughout them.

Another interpretation is that of Antonio Gramsci , who argued that Machiavelli's audience for this work was not even the ruling class, but the common people, because rulers already knew these methods through their education. The Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius , written around , published in , often referred to simply as the Discourses or Discorsi , is nominally a discussion regarding the classical history of early Ancient Rome , although it strays very far from this subject matter and also uses contemporary political examples to illustrate points.

Machiavelli presents it as a series of lessons on how a republic should be started and structured. It is a much larger work than The Prince , and while it more openly explains the advantages of republics, it also contains many similar themes from his other works. Commentators have taken very different approaches to Machiavelli and not always agreed. Major discussion has tended to be about two issues: first, how unified and philosophical his work is, and second, concerning how innovative or traditional it is.

There is some disagreement concerning how best to describe the unifying themes, if there are any, that can be found in Machiavelli's works, especially in the two major political works, The Prince and Discourses. Some commentators have described him as inconsistent, and perhaps as not even putting a high priority in consistency. Some have argued that his conclusions are best understood as a product of his times, experiences and education. Others, such as Leo Strauss and Harvey Mansfield , have argued strongly that there is a very strong and deliberate consistency and distinctness, even arguing that this extends to all of Machiavelli's works including his comedies and letters.

Commentators such as Leo Strauss have gone so far as to name Machiavelli as the deliberate originator of modernity itself. Others have argued that Machiavelli is only a particularly interesting example of trends which were happening around him. In any case Machiavelli presented himself at various times as someone reminding Italians of the old virtues of the Romans and Greeks, and other times as someone promoting a completely new approach to politics. That Machiavelli had a wide range of influences is in itself not controversial. Their relative importance is however a subject of on-going discussion. It is possible to summarize some of the main influences emphasized by different commentators. Gilbert summarized the similarities between The Prince and the genre it obviously imitates, the so-called " Mirror of Princes " style.

This was a classically influenced genre, with models at least as far back as Xenophon and Isocrates. While Gilbert emphasized the similarities, however, he agreed with all other commentators that Machiavelli was particularly novel in the way he used this genre, even when compared to his contemporaries such as Baldassare Castiglione and Erasmus. One of the major innovations Gilbert noted was that Machiavelli focused upon the "deliberate purpose of dealing with a new ruler who will need to establish himself in defiance of custom". Normally, these types of works were addressed only to hereditary princes.

Xenophon is also an exception in this regard. Commentators such as Quentin Skinner and J. Pocock , in the so-called "Cambridge School" of interpretation, have asserted that some of the republican themes in Machiavelli's political works, particularly the Discourses on Livy , can be found in medieval Italian literature which was influenced by classical authors such as Sallust. The Socratic school of classical political philosophy, especially Aristotle , had become a major influence upon European political thinking in the late Middle Ages. It existed both in the Catholicised form presented by Thomas Aquinas , and in the more controversial " Averroist " form of authors like Marsilius of Padua. Machiavelli was critical of Catholic political thinking and may have been influenced by Averroism.

But he rarely cites Plato and Aristotle, and most likely did not approve of them. Leo Strauss argued that the strong influence of Xenophon , a student of Socrates more known as an historian, rhetorician and soldier, was a major source of Socratic ideas for Machiavelli, sometimes not in line with Aristotle. While interest in Plato was increasing in Florence during Machiavelli's lifetime, Machiavelli does not show particular interest in him, but was indirectly influenced by his readings of authors such as Polybius , Plutarch and Cicero.

The major difference between Machiavelli and the Socratics, according to Strauss, is Machiavelli's materialism, and therefore his rejection of both a teleological view of nature and of the view that philosophy is higher than politics. With their teleological understanding of things, Socratics argued that by nature, everything that acts, acts towards some end, as if nature desired them, but Machiavelli claimed that such things happen by blind chance or human action.

Strauss argued that Machiavelli may have seen himself as influenced by some ideas from classical materialists such as Democritus , Epicurus and Lucretius. Strauss however sees this also as a sign of major innovation in Machiavelli, because classical materialists did not share the Socratic regard for political life, while Machiavelli clearly did. Some scholars note the similarity between Machiavelli and the Greek historian Thucydides , since both emphasized power politics.

Yet Thucydides never calls in question the intrinsic superiority of nobility to baseness, a superiority that shines forth particularly when the noble is destroyed by the base. Therefore Thucydides' History arouses in the reader a sadness which is never aroused by Machiavelli's books. In Machiavelli we find comedies, parodies, and satires but nothing reminding of tragedy. One half of humanity remains outside of his thought. There is no tragedy in Machiavelli because he has no sense of the sacredness of "the common. Amongst commentators, there are a few consistently made proposals concerning what was most new in Machiavelli's work.

Machiavelli is sometimes seen as the prototype of a modern empirical scientist, building generalizations from experience and historical facts, and emphasizing the uselessness of theorizing with the imagination. He emancipated politics from theology and moral philosophy. He undertook to describe simply what rulers actually did and thus anticipated what was later called the scientific spirit in which questions of good and bad are ignored, and the observer attempts to discover only what really happens. Machiavelli felt that his early schooling along the lines of a traditional classical education was essentially useless for the purpose of understanding politics.

Nevertheless, he advocated intensive study of the past, particularly regarding the founding of a city, which he felt was a key to understanding its later development. Machiavelli denies the classical opinion that living virtuously always leads to happiness. For example, Machiavelli viewed misery as "one of the vices that enables a prince to rule. But since the two rarely come together, anyone compelled to choose will find greater security in being feared than in being loved. A related and more controversial proposal often made is that he described how to do things in politics in a way which seemed neutral concerning who used the advice—tyrants or good rulers. The Prince made the word Machiavellian a byword for deceit, despotism, and political manipulation.

Leo Strauss declared himself inclined toward the traditional view that Machiavelli was self-consciously a "teacher of evil," since he counsels the princes to avoid the values of justice, mercy, temperance, wisdom, and love of their people in preference to the use of cruelty, violence, fear, and deception. Machiavelli is generally seen as being critical of Christianity as it existed in his time, specifically its effect upon politics, and also everyday life. While Christianity sees modesty as a virtue and pride as sinful, Machiavelli took a more classical position, seeing ambition, spiritedness, and the pursuit of glory as good and natural things, and part of the virtue and prudence that good princes should have.

Mansfield describes his usage of virtu as a "compromise with evil". Najemy has argued that this same approach can be found in Machiavelli's approach to love and desire, as seen in his comedies and correspondence. Najemy shows how Machiavelli's friend Vettori argued against Machiavelli and cited a more traditional understanding of fortune. On the other hand, humanism in Machiavelli's time meant that classical pre-Christian ideas about virtue and prudence, including the possibility of trying to control one's future, were not unique to him. But humanists did not go so far as to promote the extra glory of deliberately aiming to establish a new state, in defiance of traditions and laws. While Machiavelli's approach had classical precedents, it has been argued that it did more than just bring back old ideas and that Machiavelli was not a typical humanist.

Strauss argues that the way Machiavelli combines classical ideas is new. While Xenophon and Plato also described realistic politics and were closer to Machiavelli than Aristotle was, they, like Aristotle, also saw philosophy as something higher than politics. Machiavelli was apparently a materialist who objected to explanations involving formal and final causation , or teleology. Machiavelli's promotion of ambition among leaders while denying any higher standard meant that he encouraged risk-taking, and innovation, most famously the founding of new modes and orders. His advice to princes was therefore certainly not limited to discussing how to maintain a state.

It has been argued that Machiavelli's promotion of innovation led directly to the argument for progress as an aim of politics and civilization. But while a belief that humanity can control its own future, control nature, and "progress" has been long-lasting, Machiavelli's followers, starting with his own friend Guicciardini , have tended to prefer peaceful progress through economic development, and not warlike progress. As Harvey Mansfield , p. Machiavelli however, along with some of his classical predecessors, saw ambition and spiritedness, and therefore war, as inevitable and part of human nature. Strauss concludes his book Thoughts on Machiavelli by proposing that this promotion of progress leads directly to the modern arms race.

Strauss argued that the unavoidable nature of such arms races, which have existed before modern times and led to the collapse of peaceful civilizations, provides us with both an explanation of what is most truly dangerous in Machiavelli's innovations, but also the way in which the aims of his immoral innovation can be understood. Machiavelli shows repeatedly that he saw religion as man-made, and that the value of religion lies in its contribution to social order and the rules of morality must be dispensed with if security requires it.

While fear of God can be replaced by fear of the prince, if there is a strong enough prince, Machiavelli felt that having a religion is in any case especially essential to keeping a republic in order. For Machiavelli, a truly great prince can never be conventionally religious himself, but he should make his people religious if he can. According to Strauss , pp. Machiavelli's judgment that governments need religion for practical political reasons was widespread among modern proponents of republics until approximately the time of the French Revolution.

This therefore represents a point of disagreement between himself and late modernity. Despite the classical precedents, which Machiavelli was not the only one to promote in his time, Machiavelli's realism and willingness to argue that good ends justify bad things, is seen as a critical stimulus towards some of the most important theories of modern politics. Firstly, particularly in the Discourses on Livy, Machiavelli is unusual in the positive side he sometimes seems to describe in factionalism in republics. For example, quite early in the Discourses, in Book I, chapter 4 , a chapter title announces that the disunion of the plebs and senate in Rome "kept Rome free".

That a community has different components whose interests must be balanced in any good regime is an idea with classical precedents, but Machiavelli's particularly extreme presentation is seen as a critical step towards the later political ideas of both a division of powers or checks and balances , ideas which lay behind the US constitution , as well as many other modern state constitutions.

Similarly, the modern economic argument for capitalism , and most modern forms of economics, was often stated in the form of " public virtue from private vices. Mansfield however argues that Machiavelli's own aims have not been shared by those he influenced. Machiavelli argued against seeing mere peace and economic growth as worthy aims on their own, if they would lead to what Mansfield calls the "taming of the prince. Machiavelli is most famous for a short political treatise, The Prince , written in but not published until , five years after his death. Although he privately circulated The Prince among friends, the only theoretical work to be printed in his lifetime was The Art of War , which was about military science.

Since the 16th century, generations of politicians remain attracted and repelled by its neutral acceptance, and also positive encouragement, of the immorality of powerful men, described especially in The Prince but also in his other works. His works are sometimes even said to have contributed to the modern negative connotations of the words politics and politician , [79] and it is sometimes thought that it is because of him that Old Nick became an English term for the Devil. While Machiavellianism is notable in the works of Machiavelli, scholars generally agree that his works are complex and have equally influential themes within them.

For example, J. Pocock saw him as a major source of the republicanism that spread throughout England and North America in the 17th and 18th centuries and Leo Strauss , whose view of Machiavelli is quite different in many ways, had similar remarks about Machiavelli's influence on republicanism and argued that even though Machiavelli was a teacher of evil he had a "grandeur of vision" that led him to advocate immoral actions. Whatever his intentions, which are still debated today, he has become associated with any proposal where " the end justifies the means ".

For example, Leo Strauss , p. Machiavelli is the only political thinker whose name has come into common use for designating a kind of politics, which exists and will continue to exist independently of his influence, a politics guided exclusively by considerations of expediency, which uses all means, fair or foul, iron or poison, for achieving its ends—its end being the aggrandizement of one's country or fatherland—but also using the fatherland in the service of the self-aggrandizement of the politician or statesman or one's party. To quote Robert Bireley: [84]. Three principal writers took the field against Machiavelli between the publication of his works and their condemnation in and again by the Tridentine Index in These were the English cardinal Reginald Pole and the Portuguese bishop Jeronymo Osorio , both of whom lived for many years in Italy, and the Italian humanist and later bishop, Ambrogio Caterino Politi.

Machiavelli's ideas had a profound impact on political leaders throughout the modern west, helped by the new technology of the printing press. During the first generations after Machiavelli, his main influence was in non-republican governments. Bartholomew's Day massacre. As Bireley reports, in the 16th century, Catholic writers "associated Machiavelli with the Protestants, whereas Protestant authors saw him as Italian and Catholic".

In fact, he was apparently influencing both Catholic and Protestant kings. One of the most important early works dedicated to criticism of Machiavelli, especially The Prince , was that of the Huguenot , Innocent Gentillet , whose work commonly referred to as Discourse against Machiavelli or Anti Machiavel was published in Geneva in This became the theme of much future political discourse in Europe during the 17th century. They accepted the need for a prince to be concerned with reputation, and even a need for cunning and deceit, but compared to Machiavelli, and like later modernist writers, they emphasized economic progress much more than the riskier ventures of war.

These authors tended to cite Tacitus as their source for realist political advice, rather than Machiavelli, and this pretense came to be known as " Tacitism ". Modern materialist philosophy developed in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, starting in the generations after Machiavelli. This philosophy tended to be republican, but as with the Catholic authors, Machiavelli's realism and encouragement of using innovation to try to control one's own fortune were more accepted than his emphasis upon war and factional violence. Not only was innovative economics and politics a result, but also modern science , leading some commentators to say that the 18th century Enlightenment involved a "humanitarian" moderating of Machiavellianism.

Although he was not always mentioned by name as an inspiration, due to his controversy, he is also thought to have been an influence for other major philosophers, such as Montaigne , [99] Descartes , [] Hobbes , Locke [] and Montesquieu. Although Jean-Jacques Rousseau is associated with very different political ideas he was also influenced by him, although he viewed Machiavelli's work as a satirical piece in which Machiavelli exposes the faults of a one-man rule rather than exalting amorality. In the seventeenth century it was in England that Machiavelli's ideas were most substantially developed and adapted, and that republicanism came once more to life; and out of seventeenth-century English republicanism there were to emerge in the next century not only a theme of English political and historical reflection—of the writings of the Bolingbroke circle and of Gibbon and of early parliamentary radicals—but a stimulus to the Enlightenment in Scotland, on the Continent, and in America.

Scholars have argued that Machiavelli was a major indirect and direct influence upon the political thinking of the Founding Fathers of the United States due to his overwhelming favoritism of republicanism and the republican type of government. According to John McCormick, it is still very much debatable whether or not Machiavelli was "an advisor of tyranny or partisan of liberty. The Founding Father who perhaps most studied and valued Machiavelli as a political philosopher was John Adams , who profusely commented on the Italian's thought in his work, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America.

For Adams, Machiavelli restored empirical reason to politics, while his analysis of factions was commendable. Adams likewise agreed with the Florentine that human nature was immutable and driven by passions. He also accepted Machiavelli's belief that all societies were subject to cyclical periods of growth and decay. For Adams, Machiavelli lacked only a clear understanding of the institutions necessary for good government. The 20th-century Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci drew great inspiration from Machiavelli's writings on ethics, morals, and how they relate to the State and revolution in his writings on Passive Revolution , and how a society can be manipulated by controlling popular notions of morality.

Joseph Stalin read The Prince and annotated his own copy. In the 20th century there was also renewed interest in Machiavelli's play La Mandragola , which received numerous stagings, including several in New York, at the New York Shakespeare Festival in and the Riverside Shakespeare Company in , as a musical comedy by Peer Raben in Munich's antiteater in , and at London's National Theatre in Christopher Marlowe 's play The Jew of Malta ca. It is a brilliant introduction to the people and events that gave us the word 'Machiavellian. Television dramas centring on the early Renaissance have also made use of Machiavelli to underscore his influence in early modern political philosophy.

Machiavelli has been featured as a supporting character in The Tudors — , [] [] Borgia — and The Borgias — , [] and the BBC mini series The Borgias. Machiavelli appears in the popular historical video games Assassin's Creed II and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood , in which he is portrayed as a member of the secret society of Assassins. A highly fictionalised version of Machiavelli appears in the BBC children's TV series Leonardo — , [] in which he is "Mac", a black streetwise hustler who is best friends with fellow teenagers Leonardo da Vinci , Mona Lisa , and Lorenzo di Medici.

In the episode "Ewings Unite! Ewing wills his copy of The Prince to his adopted nephew Christopher Ewing , telling him to "use it, because being smart and sneaky is an unbeatable combination. The character's personality and behaviour seem to portray Cesare Borgia rather than Machiavelli himself, suggesting that the writers may have confused the two. Together with his defence attorney Lucrezia Borgia Helen McCrory , he presents examples from history to the devil to support his political theories and appeal his sentence in Hell.

The portrayal of Machiavelli draws from his later writings and observations of the chaotic events of his youth before rising from obscurity to be appointed as Second Chancellor of the Florentine Republic at the age of twenty-nine, only one month after Savonarola's execution. The American rapper Tupac Shakur read Machiavelli while in prison and became greatly influenced by his work. Upon his release from prison, Tupac honoured Machiavelli in by changing his own rap name from 2Pac to Makaveli. He then tells him how Machiavelli's philosophy, including his famous advice about how it is preferable for a leader to be feared rather than loved if he cannot be both, have made him a successful mob boss.

Machiavelli also appears as a young Florentine spy in the third season of Medici , where he is portrayed by Vincenzo Crea. He is addressed as "Nico" in all appearances except the season finale, where he reveals his full name. Besides being a statesman and political scientist, Machiavelli also translated classical works, and was a playwright Clizia , Mandragola , a poet Sonetti , Canzoni , Ottave , Canti carnascialeschi , and a novelist Belfagor arcidiavolo. Della Lingua Italian for "On the Language" , a dialogue about Italy's language is normally attributed to Machiavelli.

Machiavelli's literary executor, Giuliano de' Ricci, also reported having seen that Machiavelli, his grandfather, made a comedy in the style of Aristophanes which included living Florentines as characters, and to be titled Le Maschere. It has been suggested that due to such things as this and his style of writing to his superiors generally, there was very likely some animosity to Machiavelli even before the return of the Medici. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Redirected from Machiavelli. Early modern political and military theorist from Florence — For other uses, see Machiavelli disambiguation. Portrait of Machiavelli by Santi di Tito. Florence , Republic of Florence. Marietta Corsini. Main article: The Prince. Main article: Discourses on Livy.

Central concepts. Types of republics. Important thinkers.

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