January 16, 2013
Lecture 2- Machiavelli
Question about last session:
1. What is virtue and fortuna?
Fortuna the reality of what is happening
Virtue the knowledge what is and what is no fortune
Gender meaning in a way as well, fortune is a woman (feminine side unpredictable and
passionate) Needs to be controlled by a strong man, the leader will probably be a man.
2. What is the problem that Machiavelli sees if a leader is generous?
It’s the expectations, people may take advantage of it, and if you are generous all the time you
won’t have it when you need it, managing the expectations.
3. What does Machiavelli say about the lion and the fox (what’s the deal)?
The leader needs to be both beast and man
fox is more cunning able to get out of the traps
the power of the lion represents force and the fox represents the fraud
people should use reason
Using history in a very exclusive way, he’s trying to think about the notion of citizenship.
The use of history is one of the important things that Machiavelli did to innovate the social
Looking for the empirical data (evidence drawn from experience)
We need to go to the past and mine the past for information that is relevant to us. The past is a
vast store house of experiences from which you can choose from yourself and your own state to
What’s good and what is bad and what you need to choose to emulate.
Commentary on the book of Roman history – he was interested in the roman republic because
the longest lasting republican state in ancient history.
Citizenship- the kinds of citizens you need to have
Creating an environment that free citizens can work for the common good
Summary – citizens are men who combine individual initiative with collective discipline, that is
what a good citizen is according to Machiavelli
Citizens are people who can rule and be rules in turn