The Prince.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Political Science
Mark Lippincott

Lecture 14: Machiavelli, The Prince Outline of the Lecture 1. Review of Wednesday's lecture: the role of Fortune in human affairs a) The relationship between Fortune and free will b) When Fortune thwarts our plans and ambitions c) How to overcome or subdue Fortune; Fortune as a woman attracted by vir d) Roman and Christian attitudes towards Fortune 2. Chapter 25: M on Fortune: no Divine Providence; half (or "thereabouts") of our actions are under our control; wrongs can be put to right a) Make oneself an ally of Fortune b) The goods bestowed by Fortune: glory and honour 3. Chapter 26: Exhortation to seize Italy and free her from the barbarians a) How to achieve lasting glory and honour: good government b) M as theorist of ideology Review of Last Lecture • People care about their property; they are selfish and don’t want others bothering with their stuff • ForAristotle generosity means the middle ground • For Machiavelli; both extremes give you the bad reputation but for the prince should be cheap because that is the most affordable • Lewis tries his best to be a good Christian but he does not understand what virtue really is because it has changed by being Christian • Agathocles became too cruel to everyone all the time – there is no glory in cruelty • One has to form a new army, founding new laws • Upon founding a new army someone has to found new laws • How does a prince get glory? Through order, stability and peace • Both Epicurus and Glaucon see justice as an invention of the weak. The best thing we can do is instigating laws to protect ourselves from one another. The purpose of the Republic is to rebut the view that justice is used to run an orderly life. • Epicurus says that justice is just an invention of the weak. Something that we create in order to restrain other people. • Justice is an invention of the strong for Machiavelli. Those capable of climbing to the highest heights and capable of creating new orders, arms and laws in the service of peace, security, stability and accumulation. • Build upon the people because their needs are easy to satisfy. • Machiavelli thinks of politics being in the service of self-preservation. M on Fortune:God falls out of the picture “I am not unaware of the fact that many have held and still hold the view that the affairs of this world are so completely governed by fortune and by God that human prudence is incapable of correcting them.” “Since our free will must not be eliminated, I think it may be true that fortune determines one half our actions, but that, even so, she leaves us to control the other half, or thereabouts.” “Our rulers [who have lost their power] should not blame fortune but their own indolence. For when times were quiet they never once considered the possibility that they might change (it is a common human failing not to plan ahead for stormy weather while the sun shines). When difficult times did come, they thought of flight, not self- defense.” • Chapter 5 “I am not aware of the fact… human prudence is not able of correcting them” • The conventional view says that half of our actions are governed by fortune and god governs the other half. • There is no room for responsibility for the individual – no space for human agency • People don’t think wrongs can be turned to rights. • This reminds us ofAugustine who says; human beings are right for throwing their hands up in despair because we are just pilgrims passing through. God is in control and things ought to be a matter of indifference. The earth is not a home for human beings, only heaven is. • Machiavelli later on drops god out of the picture and makes it free will and fortune. The irony is that free will is a Christian doctrine. • This is something to be celebrated because fortune unlike god doesn’t have complete control over us. It can be made our ally, which implies human agency is stronger than human fortune. • Fortune can be overcome through foresight, planning and virtue. He also sees it as something that can be overcome. • One sure way to be undone by fortune is to show a lack of flexibility. Princes have a bad habit of never changing how they act. Ex. Borgia was over weaning in self-confidence. • Success depends on adapting ones self to the circumstances. Our natural inclination is to always be the same person. The point is that we have to learn when not to be ourselves. Ex. cautious people not to be cautious. • Fortune is seen the same way. We have to achieve a flexibility we don’t possess by nature. We have to conquer ourselves in order to not conquer fortune. • Pg.75 – I think a ruler will flourish if he adjusts his policies as the characters of times changes. He will fail if he doesn’t follow policies of that time. • When Machiavelli tried to think of the influence of human affairs on humans – he looked back at the romans. The romans always ask themselves how they can get fortune to bestow their powers on them and not others.Although fortune is a goddess she is still a woman, meaning she is attracted by the veer (the man of true manliness). Fortune likes to reward manly courage. • Livy for example says several times that fo
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