XXI Seaweed Symposium

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Machiavelli

Machiavelli (1469-1527) is known as the most erudite political philosopher of his time. Machiavelli’s art does not deal with ethical aspects. Even if he were a reputed republican, Machiavelli wanted to dedicate his work to his prince. As for his work, The Prince seems to be an ideal ruler compared to those from Rome. The main aspect approached by Machiavelli was at that time how to run a state and not the morals that should be respected. Moreover, The Prince appears as a beast in the given context. The Prince is therefore a blending of both power and skill in this work.

The quality which a prince should by all means possess is virtue. This virtue is said as J. H. Whitfield thoroughly explains, to be meant ‘virtue’. However, as this critic states, virtue means the practice of all freedom by people endowed with free will. The notion of virtue is closely related to the concept of ‘power’. Virtue might mean ‘virtue’ but it is close to the notion of ‘power’ or it has even a deeper meaning. There is also temperance which implies a mid-position between on the one hand all goodness and on the other hand, only badness. Machiavelli expresses himself in a different way. It is all about people being very good or their being totally bad.

Machiavelli’s work, The Prince, is a thorough analysis of the strategy to acquire the political power. His intention is to discuss thoroughly the conduct of a great man and the principalities. According to Machiavelli, there are four types of principalities:

  • Principalities that are named hereditary and thus inherited by the ruler;
  • Principalities that are mixed referring to territories that are annexed to other territories belonging to the ruler;
  • New principalities referring to the concept of power acquired by criminal acts as well as by an extreme cruelty in addition to civic principalities acquired by the people’s free will;
  • Ecclesiastic principalities with reference to faith and the Catholic Church.

As for Machiavelli, a prince should behave in the following way:

  • Being mean rather than generous;
  • Being rather cruel than merciful;
  • Breaking promises if necessary;
  • Avoid being both hated and despised by his own people;
  • Taking care of his reputation in front of his people;
  • Choosing wise advisors while avoiding people who flatter;
  • Following the family principles and keeping Italy safe from foreign domination.
 
 

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