FULL MACHIAVELLI NOTES

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Department
Political Science
Course
POLSCI 2O06
Professor
John W Seaman
Semester
Fall

Description
Political theory October 26 2011 lecture 13Machiavelli The Prince M was known for his infamous work the prince which was written in 1515 when he was unemployed civil servant near Florence italyRecommendation to Lorenzo purpose of recommendations was to advise to prince to acquire power and how to hold on to power and how to extend his power over city states and territoriesIt is said the purpose is to gain employment as a civil servant but one can detect a patriotic purpose chapter 26 one sees this chapter has a more distant purpose step forward and seize opportunity to unify Italy from domination of two particular states France and SpainFor the most part the label attached to the book and himself Is that of infamous as he had the questionable honour as a syn for evil power politics in most naked form This is not only because he emphasize the darkest form of human beings that people are cruel deceitful but it is also because he makes the prince to murder his opponents to lie etc when it is necessaryfor example we need only read a few pages to see M to advise the prince to eliminate surviving members of family and of their previous rulers repeated in pg 9 must ensure previous rulers have no heirsIn addition there is one other feature of his thinking political thought is radically revolutionary it makes fundamental break with classical Greek and medieval Christian thought in Plato and utopianew way to think of politics which is later our own political thinking from MRevolutionary character must dispute of how to assess the important contribution of M to political theory two different viewsoThe portrayal of M as a value free political scientist M writings are those of a dispassionate political scientist they contend that all he does is take the acquisition of political power and subsequent power in a ruler as a given and proceed to identify the meansactions to preserve such power without making any moral judgments whether it is for the good or for the bad value free this view portrays M any appeal from a moral standard from God nature or what Plato would understand as a reflective philosophical reason It is said by those he helped to shape the modern approach to political science analyze political things free from God or moral judgments and can be truly scientifically oThe portrayal of M as immoralistteacher of evil this view was made influential by important philosophic Strass people agree that his doctrine is not one which avoid making moral judgments rather they hold that it is immoral amoral is opposite and that M is a teacher of evil M according to Strassian understanding see what the Greeks condemn M does the oppositeoClassical Greek thoughtmoral judgment p4748 explains from M views on this issue our next task is to consider policiesLearn how not to be good learn when it isnot necessary to use this knowledgeThis passage has important themes to understand Ms outlook and break with classical Greek thoughtInaugurating a newrevolutionary approach to politicsWhat he is doing is promising to break new groundsPeople have constructed utopias to tell us how we ought to livewho are these people he promises to depart from Two roman political thinkersrefer to footnoteMost previous Greek and roman and in Christian thought would also fit into this categoryBreak with most mainstream political philosophy Promise a radical new break into politicsWhat is wrong with the past tradition of theoryLittle use to use concern with utopia life in comparison to the real truth of the matterfocus on what is to be done rather what ought to be doneIdeals with politics does not exist essential problem with past theories is preoccupation would leave to republics downfall rather than preservationoa mans striving in every way to be good will meet its number who arent goodoPrince needs to learn how not to be goodoPolitics for M is for the pursuit acquisition maintenance and extension of politicsnot about being a good person making people good it is not about obeying the Gods or the God in the bibleit is about power
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