Monday, October 5, 2015
Midterm Group Report Summary: (#8) Niccolo Machiavelli
Baker, Holley, Monroe, Sabir
Niccolo Machiavelli Report Summary
Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, born in Florence during the Italian Renaissance, is a notable political philosopher and diplomat. He was an astute individual who was surrounded by powerful familial ties. During his later years in life, Machiavelli served as a diplomat under the command of Cesare de Borgia. This very instance influenced his political theories and philosophical writings (I.E: "The Prince") fairly heavily. Asides from this, Machiavelli experienced many different foreign/political courts in which he used to comprise several other works. Eventually, he was removed/banned from the capital of Florence in which he would continue to write and be fascinated by political works/writers.
Niccolo Machiavelli's most popularized book "The Prince" dealt with acquiring and maintaining power or political control. He brought about the question of immorality/morality within the duties that an authority must be confined to. "Machiavellianism" was coined as a result of this; it stated that deception/manipulation of others is used in pursuit of personal gain. This is consistent with Machiavelli's views of virtue in which he believed that if the end result of a particular situation may be considered noble than the means in acquiring it are expendable. Also mentioned in "The Prince," Idealism vs. Realism is explained by Machiavelli as two things that should seldom be accompanied into each other's affairs. Another one of Machiavelli's popularized writings, "The Discourses on Livy," discusses the methods of building a successful political empire (E.G: Republic vs. Principality).
Machiavelli spares no expense in discussing how religion should be separated from political affairs as it creates a more idealistic society and a less realistic society. Having said this, an amoral ruler would be preferred in Machiavelli's ideology (E.G: One that is willing to rule without allowing morals to interfere in his affairs). It is clear that is nearly the opposite of which Aristotle believed to have reported (I.E: Civic and Moral Virtue). Needless to say, Machiavelli disapproved of religion in political affairs as it did not consist of empirical evidence. These ideas allowed Machiavelli to influence various groups of people. For instance, he inspired the transition of many non-republican governments to adopt his idea of how a society should be run. Granted, this came with a lot of modification to his point of view in the form of disagreeing with "ruling with an iron fist" and having an immoral ruler. As a result of this, Machiavelli paved the way for many subsequent generations of philosophy to achieve a more materialistic/empirical form of government; and, even today, he is cited as "The Father of Modern Political Theory."