GE Cluster 21A: History of Modern Thought - Lecture 3 Notes (Machiavelli)

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General Education Clusters
Peter Stacey

Writing Center** Freedom and the State in Machiavelli's Discourses Freedom aka. Liberty (interchangeable) What it means to be free (for us): Freedom of speech, religion, press (not so free?) Do laws facilitate, guarantee, or limit or freedom? Freedom of group vs. freedom of individual Conditions of Freedom - is that all? • I am unfree only when I am obstructed in performing actions which it is in my power to perform • Free action involves deliberating between alternatives "Tacit consent" You need some modicum of physical power to choose whether you want to attend class or not. Addiction can be a form of slavery? (Have you chosen to be an addict?) Florence - not a democratic regime - a small portion of population participating in government decisions (ultimate sovereign power does remain with the people) Roman Law of Persons Basic division in the law of persons: all men are either free or else are slaves Slavery instituted by people, subjected to the dominion of someone else 'Some persons are in their own power, some are subject to the law of another… slaves are in the power of their master' State of slavery - servitude - casted as property No way they could claim to be free as long there was a monarchy, which could impose laws without consent Still dependent on their will, choice, judgment even if you have a "good" monarch A life of fear and anxiety due to the possibility that they will impose their will We must live independently of the will of the King (anti-monarchial) Discourses (on the First Decade of Livy) Bk I - constitution of a free state, internal affairs Bk II - external affairs, military matters and empire Bk III - outstanding examples of statesmen in both fields Machiavelli on virtu and liberty (Disc. III.41) virtu - that which maintains the state Especially when the safety of one's country is dependent on the decision, be just, unjust, kind, or cruel, by necessity Machiavelli on 'lo stato' Conception of the state: a kind of civil body, occupying a defined territory, organized into a particular form, over which sovereign rule (imperio) is wielded Two principal uses of the term: a) a political community occupying a given area b) and the government of that political community We need to be like physicians when thinking of the state as a body Impregnating an auspicious moment to create a state -> there are parents to the body of the state Bk III: State's tendency to corruption is a degenerative disease to Machiavelli On Romulus: what were his intentions in killing his brother (the end is crucial as well) Free states do not simply occur, they take time, need someone to get the ball rolling "You need to know how to kill your sons if the life of the state depends on it" - Disc. If you're looking at whats produced, you're looking at state that will provide you fre
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