Class 2. Prince.docx

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January 11th
Prince
- Chapter 25: lays out a dichotomy, and addresses the
question of how much we are able to control what
happens to us. How much is due to our ability to plan
and foresee and how much is due to change. He is
trying to account for the fact that no matter how good
a ruler is, it will not be enough because the
unforeseen will happen
- Cannot be as scientific with the natural sciences and
social relations
- He is trying to figure out a way to bring into social
sciences what cannot be in a natural way
- He is attempting to maximize our control.
- Virtu: comes from the Latin word Vir for man, It is
about the classical vision of manliness, it is not
about being morally good but being able to act
effectively (Movie: Taken)
- Fortune: something that happens to us that we don’t
and cannot understand no matter how much virtu you
have. There will always be fortune operating that you
cannot predict.
- Summary: The way to maximize your virtu is to
flexible; someone with virtu knows how to modify their
behaviour with changing circumstances. Someone with
the largest range on capacities, no real personality
because they are constantly conforming to the
situation and changing. This goes along with
Machiavelli’s previous belief that you must know how
to be bad. The key to success is leadership which
virtue or which leadership to deploy at each time.
Fortune is given a feminine quality just like virtu
was given masculine qualities unable to take action
and control and be aggressive
- Famous metaphors fortune as a woman and the river
- Machiavelli is telling us there is a way to get ahead
of the game look at every situation with fresh eyes.
Get rid of moral qualms and prejudices. Act on the
basis of factual scientifically distilled morally
neutral information. If you do not you will be
subjective to fortune and the people who will act in
these ways
- Characteristics of Machiavelli’s world view: approach
problems without preconceived notions
- His most 2 famous books Prince and Discourses seem
to contradict one another
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