This document was a transcription of the Latin text and not, as Roecklein has it p. These issues are important for political philosophy because Eleatic and neo-Eleatic positions represent the original philosophical challenge to the reliability of the evidence of the senses: the true substance of the world is unavailable to perception; consequently, perishable, perceptible objects are not objects of knowledge, and naming them provides only the illusion of grasping them pp.
There can be knowledge only of being, not of becoming, which is the province of opinion; being is eternal and ungenerated, not subject to corruption or decay; it is an object of intellection rather than perception, and hence pertains to things which are in fact invisible e. Plato does not rehabilitate speech or perception to the degree Roecklein seems to believe cf. Neither of what Roecklein identifies as the dominant readings of Machiavelli in Anglophone criticism, those of Quentin Skinner or J.
There are problems, however.
Nor is it so clear where exactly 6 Machiavelli, after all, lived and wrote in an era when the vernacular was being used in order to reach a broader audience. An Italian edition did not appear until —almost two centuries after the vernacular Il Principe would surely have prepared an audience for it; the first full English translation was in , while Lucretius appeared in French in ; a German text was first available in An evident, almost visceral dislike of Epicureanism is trumped by the judgements passed on Machiavelli.
Yet spite, and contempt, a felt sense of betrayal, a self- righteousness that knows no bounds—are certainly parts of the psychological profile of this unique author Grayson London, p. Mazzoni and M. Casella Florence, p. For a reader to laugh with an author is to feel complicity established between them.
Related Papers. Review Roecklein last draft. By Andree Hahmann. Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance. By Ada Palmer. Review of Lucretius and the Early Modern. By Charles Wolfe. Machiavelli, Philosophy and Social Conflict.
By Miguel Vatter. Among Friends: Cicero and the Epicureans thesis. Some scholars believe that differing causes cannot help but modify effects; in this case, admiration itself would be stained and colored by either love or fear and would be experienced differently as a result. And Machiavelli says that what makes a prince contemptible is to be held variable, light, effeminate, pusillanimous, or irresolute P What matters in politics is how we appear to others—how we are held tenuto by others.
But how we appear depends upon what we do and where we place ourselves in order to do it. A wise prince for Machiavelli is not someone who is content to investigate causes—including superior causes P 11 , first causes P 14 and D 1. Rather, it is someone who produces effects. And there are no effects considered abstractly. Some commentators believe that effects are only effects if they are seen or displayed.
They thus see the effectual truth as proto-phenomenological. Others take a stronger line of interpretation and believe that effects are only effects if they produce actual changes in the world of human affairs. Touching rather than seeing might then be the better metaphor for the effectual truth see P Machiavelli is most famous as a political philosopher. Although he studied classical texts deeply, Machiavelli appears to depart somewhat from the tradition of political philosophy, a departure that in many ways captures the essence of his political position.
At least at first glance, it appears that Machiavelli does not believe that the polity is caused by an imposition of form onto matter. Given that Machiavelli talks of both form and matter e. For Aristotle, politics is similar to metaphysics in that form makes the city what it is.
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The difference between a monarchy and a republic is a difference in form. This is not simply a question of institutional arrangement; it is also a question of self-interpretation. Aristotelian political form is something like a lens through which the people understand themselves. Firstly, it matters whether monarchs or republicans rule, as the citizens of such polities will almost certainly understand themselves differently in light of who rules them.
Justice is thus the underlying basis of all claims to rule, meaning that, at least in principle, differing views can be brought into proximity to each other. Concord, or at least the potential for it, is both the basis and the aim of the city. With respect to the first implication, Machiavelli occasionally refers to the six Aristotelian political forms e.
He even raises the possibility of a mixed regime P 3; D 2. But usually he speaks only of two forms, the principality and the republic P 1. The lines between these two forms are heavily blurred; the Roman republic is a model for wise princes P 3 , and the people can be considered a prince D 1. Machiavelli even at times refers to a prince of a republic D 2. Finally, he says that virtuous princes can introduce any form that they like, with the implication being that form does not constitute the fundamental reality of the polity P 6.
On this account, political form for Machiavelli is not fundamentally causal; it is at best epiphenomenal and perhaps even nominal. Some scholars focus on possible origins of this idea e. Still others focus on the fact that the humors arise only in cities and thus do not seem to exist simply by nature. Machiavelli says that the city or state is always minimally composed of the humors of the people and the great P 9 and 19; D 1. The polity is constituted, then, not by a top-down imposition of form but by a bottom-up clash of the humors.
And as the humors clash, they generate various political effects P 9 —these are sometimes good e. Furthermore, Machiavelli does attribute certain qualities to those who live in republics—greater hatred, greater desire for revenge, and restlessness born from the memory of their previous liberty—which might be absent in those who live in principalities P ; D 1. Such passages appear to bring him in closer proximity to the Aristotelian account than first glance might indicate.
The humors are also related to the second implication mentioned above. Machiavelli distinguishes the humors not by wealth or population size but rather by desire. These desires are inimical to each other in that they cannot be simultaneously satisfied: the great desire to oppress the people, and the people desire not to be oppressed compare P 9, D 1. Discord, rather than concord, is thus the basis for the state. Consequently, Machiavelli says that a prince must choose to found himself on one or the other of these humors.
Niccolò Machiavelli - Wikipedia
Firstly, it is unclear what desire characterizes the humor of the soldiers, a third humor that occurs, if not always, at least in certain circumstances. Finally, it should be noted that recent work has questioned whether the humors are as distinct as previously believed; whether an individual or group can move between them; and whether they exist on something like a spectrum or continuum.
For example, it may be the case that a materially secure people would cease to worry about being oppressed and might even begin to desire to oppress others in the manner of the great ; or that an armed people would effectively act as soldiers such that a prince would have to worry about their contempt rather than their hatred. Some scholars claim that Machiavelli is the last ancient political philosopher because he understands the merciless exposure of political life. Either position is compatible with a republican reading of Machiavelli. As in The Prince , Machiavelli attributes qualities to republican peoples that might be absent in peoples accustomed to living under a prince P ; D 1.
He also distinguishes between the humors of the great and the people D 1. However, in the Discourses he explores more carefully the possibility that the clash between them can be favorable e.
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He associates both war and expansion with republics and with republican unity; conversely, he associates peace and idleness with republican disunity D 2. He notes the flexibility of republics D 3. He ponders the political utility of public executions and—as recent work has emphasized—courts or public trials D 3. He even considers the possibility of a perpetual republic compare D 3. Like many other authors in the republican tradition, he frequently ponders the problem of corruption e.