Niccolo` Machiavelli The Father of Modern Social Philosophy By: emmanuelchuntic
Imagine that… • If you were a King of a kingdom which is about to be invaded by another kingdom and your brother who happens to be the furious commander of your army just caught you sleeping with his wife, What would you do?
Machiavelli's Life • He was born 3 May 1469 in Florence and at a young age became a pupil of a renowned Latin teacher, Paolo daRonciglione. • It is speculated that he attended the University of Florence, and even a brief glance at his corpus reveals that he received an excellent humanist education. • He was appointed as the Second Chancellor of the Republic of Florence, however, that we begin to acquire a full and accurate picture of his life.
Machiavelli's enforced retirement led him to other literary activities. • The Prince. 1513, The Prince was composed in great haste by an author who was, among other things, seeking to regain his status in the Florentine government. • He wrote verse, plays, and short prose, penned a study of The Art of War , and produced biographical and historical sketches. • Discourses on the Ten Books of Titus Livy. an exposition of the principles of republican rule masquerading as a commentary on the work of the famous historian of the Roman Republic. Unlike The Prince, the Discourses was authored over a long period of time The book may have been shaped by informal discussions attended by Machiavelli among some of the leading Florentine intellectual and political figures under the sponsorship of CosimoRucellai.
Near the end of his life, and probably as a result of the aid of well-connected friends whom he never stopped badgering for intervention, Machiavelli began to return to the favor of the Medici family. • In 1520, he was commissioned by Cardinal Giuliode'Medici to compose a History of Florence, an assignment completed in 1525 and presented to the Cardinal, who had since ascended the papal throne as Clement VII, in Rome. • Other small tasks were forthcoming from the Medici government, but before he could achieve a full rehabilitation, he died on 21 June 1527.
The Prince • The insignificance of moral goodness in the legitimacy of power. • The control of wild Fortuna • The characteristics of a successful ruler. The Fox, Forefathers and Citizens Machiavelli's thought of ruling a state.
The insignificance of moral goodness VIRTUE? Conventional Perspective: • Virtu` or Virtues –is associated with moral goodness. Machiavelli’s Virtu`: • A virtuous person always succeed. • Virtu` or Virtues –range personal qualities in order to: • maintain one’s status • achieving great things • (Flexible Disposition)
The insignificance of moral goodness VIRTU Conventional Perspective: • Virtu` or Virtues –is associated with moral goodness. Machiavelli’s Virtu`: • Virtu` or Virtues –range personal qualities in order to: • maintain one’s status • achieving great things • (Flexible Disposition)
The insignificance of moral goodness • For Machiavelli, there is no moral basis on which to judge the difference between legitimate and illegitimate uses of power. • Authority and power are essentially coequal • Whoever has power has the right to command; but goodness does not ensure power and the good person has no more authority by virtue of being good. Machiavelli said that the only real concern of the political ruler is the acquisition and maintenance of power.
The insignificance of moral goodness • Machiavelli acknowledges that good laws and good arms constitute the dual foundations of a well-ordered political system. • He says, “Since there cannot be good laws without good arms, I will not consider laws but speak of arms”. Fear is always preferable to affection in subjects, just as violence and deception are superior to legality in effectively controlling them.
The insignificance of moral goodness • In general of men: they are ungrateful, disloyal, insincere and deceitful, timid of danger and avid of profit…. • Love is a bond of obligation which these miserable creatures break whenever it suits them to do so; but fear holds them fast by a dread of punishment that never passes. • People obey only because they fear the consequences of not doing so, whether the loss of life or privileges.
People are compelled to obey purely in deference to the superior power of the state. • The power to oppose can only be possible if there is the possession of the power to resist. • The ruler who lives by his rights alone will surely wither and die by those same rights, because in the rough-and-tumble of political conflict those who prefer power to authority are more likely to succeed. • Without exception the authority of states and their laws will never be acknowledged when they are not supported by a show of power which renders obedience inescapable.
The control of wild Fortuna • Fortuna or Fortune is a woman • the enemy of political order, the ultimate threat to the safety and security of the state. • wicked and uncompromising fount of human misery, affliction, and disaster. • no man can act effectively when directly opposed by the goddess.
The control of wild Fortuna • She shows her power where virtù and wisdom do not prepare to resist her, and directs her fury where she knows that no dykes or embankments are ready to hold her • Fortuna may be resisted by human beings, but only in those circumstances where “virtù and wisdom” have already prepared for her inevitable arrival.
The control of wild Fortuna • It is better to be impetuous than cautious, because Fortuna is a woman and it is necessary, in order to keep her under, to beat and maul her. • In other words, Fortuna demands a violent response of those who would control her.
The control of wild Fortuna • She more often lets herself be overcome by men using such methods than by those who proceed coldly.
The control of wild Fortuna • Therefore always, like a woman, she is the friend of young men, because they are less cautious, more spirited, and with more boldness master her” . • The wanton behavior of Fortuna demands an aggressive, even violent response, lest she take advantage of those men who are too retiring or “effeminate” to dominate her.
Fortuna is depicted as a primal source of violence (especially as directed against humanity) and as opposing to reason. Thus, Machiavelli realizes that only preparation to pose an extreme response to the vicissitudes of Fortuna will ensure victory against her. This is what virtù provides: the ability to respond to fortune at any time and in any way that is necessary.
The Characteristics of a Successful Ruler. • “State” remains a personal patrimony, a possession more in line with the medieval conception of dominium as the foundation of rule. • It is literally owned by whichever prince happens to have control of it. • the character of governance is determined by the personal qualities and traits of the ruler. • Machiavelli's emphasis on virtù is necessary for the prince's success.
The Characteristics of a Successful Ruler. • He is a ruler that comes to power not by dynastic inheritance or on the back of popular support, but purely as a result of his own initiative, skill, talent, and/or strength • Thus, the Machiavellian prince can count on no pre-existing structures of legitimation.
A successful prince would have to develop a psychology entirely different from that known hitherto to mankind, inasmuch as this "new" prince is "prepared to vary his conduct as the winds of fortune and changing circumstances constrain him and not deviate from right conduct if possible, but be capable of entering upon the path of wrongdoing when this becomes necessary”. • This flexibility yields the core of the "practical" advice that Machiavelli offers to the ruler seeking to maintain his state: exclude no course of action out of hand, but be ready always to perform whatever acts are required by political circumstance.
The following slides are chosen quotations from The Prince Machiavelli's evaluation of the chances for creating a new, psychologically flexible type of character is extremely guarded, and tends to be worded in conditional form and in the subjective mood. "If it were possible to change one's nature to suit the times and circumstances, one would always be successful"
Half man – Half Beast • There are two ways of contesting, the one by the law, the other by force; • the first method is proper to men, the second to beasts; but because the first is frequently not sufficient, it is necessary to have recourse to the second. • Therefore it is necessary for a prince to understand how to avail himself of the beast and the man. • to know how to make use of both natures, and that one without the other is not durable.
The Fox and the Lion • It is necessary to be a fox to discover the snares and a lion to terrify the wolves. Those who rely simply on the lion do not understand what they are about. • Therefore a wise lord cannot, nor ought he to, keep faith when such observance may be turned against him, and when the reasons that caused him to pledge it exist no longer.
The Fox • Of this endless modern examples could be given, showing how many treaties and engagements have been made void and of no effect through the faithlessness of princes; and he who has known best how to employ the fox has succeeded best.
The Fox • But it is necessary to know well how to disguise this characteristic, and to be a great pretender and dissembler; and men are so simple, and so subject to present necessities, that he who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived.
The Fox • Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them. • And I shall dare to say this also, that to have them and always to observe them is injurious, and that to appear to have them is useful; to appear merciful, faithful, humane, religious, upright, and to be so, but with a mind so framed that should you require not to be so, you may be able and know how to change to the opposite.
The Forefathers • A well-ordered states and wise princes have taken every care not to drive the nobles to desperation, and to keep the people satisfied and contented, for this is one of the most important objects a prince can have.
Princes ought to leave affairs of reproach to the management of others, and keep those of grace in their own hands.
The Citizens & Rivals • There never was a new prince who has disarmed his subjects; rather when he has found them disarmed he has always armed them, because, by arming them, those arms become yours, those men who were distrusted become faithful, and those who were faithful are kept so, and your subjects become your adherents.
The Citizens & Rivals • Without doubt princes become great when they overcome the difficulties and obstacles by which they are confronted, and therefore fortune, especially when she desires to make a new prince great, who has a greater necessity to earn renown than an hereditary one, causes enemies to arise and form designs against him, in order that he may have the opportunity of overcoming them, and by them to mount higher, as by ladder which his enemies have raised. • For this reason many consider that a wise prince, when he has the opportunity, ought with craft to foster some animosity against himself, so that, having crushed it, his renown may rise higher.
The Citizens & Rivals • A prince is also respected when he is either a true friend or a downright enemy, that to say, when, without any reservation, he declares himself in favor of one party against the other; • which course will always be more advantageous than standing neutral; because if two of your powerful neighbors come to blows, they are of such a character that, if one of them conquers, you have either to fear him or not. • In either case it will always be more advantageous for you to declare yourself and to make war strenuously.
In short… • Machiavelli’s thought describes a method by which a prince can acquire and maintain political power. • This study, which has often been regarded as a defense of the despotism and tyranny. • Machiavelli‘ believes that a ruler is not bound by traditional ethical norms. • A prince should be concerned only with power and be bound only by rules that would lead to success in political actions. • Machiavelli believed that these rules could be discovered by deduction from the political practices of the time, as well as from those of earlier periods.
emman.tk “Questions are fearsome even to the best prepared, for the greatest fool may ask more than the wisest man can answer.” -Charles Colton