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FULL MACHIAVELLI NOTES

12 Pages
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Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLSCI 2O06
Professor
John W Seaman

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Political theory; October 26, 2011; lecture 13
Machiavelli; The Prince
M was known for his infamous work, the prince which was written in 1515 when he was
unemployed civil servant near Florence, italy
Recommendation 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 territories
It 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 Spain
For 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 necessary..for 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 heirs’.
In 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 utopia...new way to think of politics which is later our own political
thinking from M
Revolutionary character; must dispute of how to assess the important contribution of M
to political theory; two different views;
oThe 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 means/actions 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 immoralist/teacher 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 opposite.
oClassical Greek thought/moral judgment; p.47-48; explains from M views on this
issue; ‘our next task is to consider policies…….’
Learn how not to be good, learn when it is/not necessary to use this
knowledge.
This passage has important themes to understand M’s outlook and break
with classical Greek thought
Inaugurating a new/revolutionary approach to politics
What he is doing is promising to break new grounds
People have constructed utopias to tell us how we ought to
live..who are these people he promises to depart from? Two
roman political thinkers….refer to footnote.
Most previous Greek and roman and in Christian thought would
also fit into this category
Break with most mainstream political philosophy
Promise a radical new break into politics
What is wrong with the past tradition of theory
Little use to use, concern with utopia life in comparison to the real
truth of the matter…focus on ‘what is to be done rather what ought
to be done’
Ideals with politics does not exist; essential problem with past
theories is preoccupation would leave to republic’s downfall rather
than preservation
o‘a man’s striving in every way to be good will meet its
number who aren’t good.
oPrince needs to learn how not to be good;
oPolitics for M is for the pursuit, acquisition, maintenance, and extension of
politics..not about being a good person, making people good, it is not about
obeying the Gods or the God in the bible..it is about power
oThrough the analysis, M follows his own idea…ignores what ought to be done, he
not only refuses to condemn dishonesty, etc. but rather he is explicitly going to
persist that the Prince is cruel and not good.
oDeal with people in greater number who aren’t good….first look closely at M
close conception of human beings and the mass people aren’t good.
oIn one sense, M view that massive people aren’t good is not dissimilar to
traditional Greek views; Plato has entirely negative view about mass population;
corrupt souls etc. Christian thought has a negative view as well; fallen into sin;
hearts are deceitful..Moore; pride is too deeply fixed in human nature to be easily
plucked out.
M’s view is not radical, however it was a decisive departure.
Christians thought some people could be saved; though some
believed it could not fully happen until judgment day.
M had no such hope for even the few; he argued politics should
be build that people are and will remain corrupt
Liberal democratic shares M’s view though they draw different
conclusions…..
oLocke; most of mankind are invasive of other peoples
rights and are self-seeking.
oPeople in liberal democracies reject this view; we think the
best of people; people are naturally good, not evil…people
are not by nature evil but circumstances allow them to be
evil…with education and social reform is undertaken,
people can and will be good.
Q; what M negative view regarding human beings true or not true?
M’s pessimistic view of human kind.
oP.13; perfectly nature to acquire territory; they will be
praised, not condemned. People love to dominate over
others…people will praise/admire those who dominate…
love the successful.
People are made this way by cultural environments.
oPg 20; people are by nature inconstant; hard to change
their minds. People’s views vary.

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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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