Interpreting "The Prince".doc

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Political Science
POL 1201
Elizabeth Beaumont

Interpreting "The Prince" Three of the most important interpretations: 1. Teacher of Evil 2. Founder of Political Realism 3. Champion of Liberty 1) Teacher of Evil • Machiavelli teaches a politics of evil and immorality • Counsels leaders to be willing got set aside religious piety and conventional moral values and virtues, such as honesty, and to recognize the prudence or utility of cruelty, violence, deception, and manipulation • In 1557, The Prince was placed on the Catholic Church's Index Librorum Prohibitorum, or list of forbidden books 2) Founder of Political Realism • An "Objective" political analysis ◦ distinguishes between "facts" of the human condition and politics and "values" or morality and sees these as largely separate. To wield power effectively, one can't focus on an ideal or imagined utopia but must focus on gritty realities • A Political Relativist or Political "Flexitarian" ◦ Rulers should be good if/when they can, but must be prepared to commit vice when circumstances require it • A Pragmatist who compartmentalizes ◦ Advocates suspending common social and religious morality and personal ethics in matters of politics because these values don't operate the same way in this sphere, and it is a "category error" to suggest otherwise • A Consequentialist ◦ Positive
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